Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Adviser

Oztekin, Alparslan

Other advisers/committee members

Kazakia, Jacob Y.; Tuzla, Kemal


Thermal analysis of high temperature phase change materials (PCMs) is conducted. Transient two dimensional heat transfer analysis is performed to investigate high temperature energy storage and retrieval for concentrated solar power applications. The phase change materials are considered are NaNO3 and the eutectic of MgCl2 and NaCl. Phase change material is encapsulated by a stainless steel in a cylindrical shaped capsule. Energy storage/retrieval into/from various sizes of encapsulated phase change material (EPCM) capsules is simulated for both laminar and turbulent flow conditions of the heat transfer fluid (HTF) by an accurate modeling of the propagating liquid/solid interface in a PCM. Heat transfer inside EPCM capsule and the phase change of PCM are modeled by an enthalpy - porosity method. A two-dimensional cylindrical shaped EPCM capsule or tube is considered in simulations using gas (air) and liquid (Therminol/VP-1) as heat transfer fluids in a cross flow and an axial flow arrangement. The energy storage/retrieval times into/out of the EPCM capsule is dictated by the surface heat transfer of the EPCM for the capsule sizes considered in this study. A single horizontally placed rod in a channel with different blockage ratios for laminar and turbulence flows of HTF is studied in the present study. It is illustrated by the present work that enthalpy-porosity method can be applied to simulate heat transfer at the capsule level and the system level. System level storage module is a thermocline that includes an arrangement of several EPCMs for several megawatts of thermal energy storage (TES) for several hours used in concentrated solar power applications and other industrial thermal systems.Transport phenomena inside the EPCM are modeled accurately by considering a 20% air void and the buoyancy-driven convection in a stainless steel capsule. The effects of the thermal expansion and the volume expansion due to phase change on the energy storage and retrieval process are investigated. The charging and discharging into and from the capsule wall is simulated for different boundary conditions and is applied with both laminar and turbulent flow conditions. Computational models are conducted by applying an enthalpy - porosity method and volume of fluid method (VOF) to calculate the transport phenomena within the PCM capsule, including an internal air void. Energy storage and retrieval in different sized capsules is simulated. A cylindrical shaped EPCM capsule or tube is considered in simulations using both gas (air) and liquid (Therminol/VP-1) as the heat transfer fluid in a cross flow arrangement. The presence of the void has profound effects on the thermal response of the EPCM during both energy storage and retrieval process. Melting and solidification per unit mass of the PCM takes longer when the void is present. Additionally, due to material properties and the lack of convective effects, the solidification process is much slower than the melting process. One of the most significant outcomes of the present work is that the thermal energy module in the power generation systems has to be designed properly by careful consideration of the heat transfer from HTF to the EPCM as well as the heat transport inside the EPCM.