Latent heat thermal energy storage is used to solve the problem for the intermittency of time and space for solar energy. To improve the energy storage efficiency, metal fins are typically further added to the shell side to increase thermal conductivity of phase change materials. In this paper, a novel shell-and-tube latent heat thermal energy storage unit with angled fins was designed. A two-dimensional simulation model for an angled-fin tube was established and its melting characteristics were studied, including melting fraction, melting front evolution and complete melting time. Results demonstrated that a 55.41% reduction in full melting time was obtained for the unit with angled-fins. Except too big angles, the melting speed increased. Angled-fin tube can give a perspective to optimization of traditional finned tubes for practical applications with thermal energy storage.
Keywords Thermal energy storage; Phase change materials; Heat transfer enhancement; Angled fins; Shell-and-tube heat exchanger