Analysis of a Phase Change Energy Storage System for Pulsed Power Dissipation

Shankar Krishnan
S V. Garimella, Purdue University

Document Type Article

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The melting of a phase change material in a container of rectangular cross-section with multiple discrete heat sources mounted on one side is investigated for electronics cooling by latent heat energy storage. This numerical study focuses on the thermal management issues that arise when electronic components experience sudden surges in power dissipation. The transient response of the energy storage system to short pulses in power dissipation is studied. Convective cooling using air-cooled heat sinks on the sides of the containment remote from the heat sources provides for heat rejection to ambient air. The analysis is performed under different pulse frequencies. Different aspect ratios for the containment volume as well as different locations for the heat sources are studied in order to identify an optimal arrangement. Conduction and convection in the phase change material as well as conduction through the containment walls are considered in the computations. The constitutive equations are implicitly solved using a fully transient method on fixed orthogonal co-located finite volumes. The system is characterized based on the rate of heat absorption as well as the maximum temperatures experienced at the heat sources. Improvements that can be made in the application of latent heat energy storage to electronics cooling applications are discussed based on the results from the present study.