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Research Papers

Development of Methods to Fully Saturate Carbon Foam With Paraffin Wax Phase Change Material for Energy Storage

[+] Author and Article Information
Ron Warzoha, Omar Sanusi

Graduate Student

Brian McManus

Undergraduate Student

Amy S. Fleischer

Professor
e-mail: amy.fleischer@villanova.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Villanova University,
Villanova, PA 19085

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received February 17, 2011; final manuscript received May 29, 2012; published online November 28, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Rainer Tamme.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(2), 021006 (Nov 28, 2012) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-11-1067; doi: 10.1115/1.4007934 History: Received February 17, 2011; Revised May 29, 2012

In this work, the effect of infiltration method on the saturation rate of paraffin phase change material within graphite foams is experimentally investigated. Graphite foams infiltrated with paraffin have been found to be effective for solar energy storage, but it has been found that it is difficult to completely saturate the foam with paraffin. The effectiveness of the fill will have a significant effect on the performance of the system, but the data on fill ratio are difficult to separate from confounding effects such as type of graphite or phase change material (PCM) used. This will be the first detailed quantitative study that directly isolates the effect of infiltration method on fill ratio of PCM in graphite foams. In this work, the two most commonly reported methods of infiltration are studied under controlled conditions. In fact, the effect of the infiltration method on the paraffin saturation rate is found to be highly significant. It was found that the more commonly used simple submersion technique is ineffective at filling the voids within the graphite foam. Repeated tests showed that at least 25% of the reported open space within the foam was left unfilled. In contrast, it was found that the use of a vacuum oven lead to a complete fill of the foam. These high saturation rates were achieved with significantly shorter dwell times than in previously reported studies and can be of significant use to others working in this area.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

SEM image of machined edge of carbon foam

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

SEM image of a single pore on machined edge

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

SEM image of brittle fracture surface of carbon foam without paraffin penetration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

SEM image of paraffin penetration on machined edge of carbon foam

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

SEM image of paraffin filled carbon foam on brittle fracture surface

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