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Research Papers

Testing of High-Performance Concrete as a Thermal Energy Storage Medium at High Temperatures

[+] Author and Article Information
Joel E. Skinner

Research Assistant
Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Arkansas,
Fayetteville, AR 72701
e-mail: jeskinn@uark.edu

Matthew N. Strasser

Research Assistant
Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Arkansas,
Fayetteville, AR 72701
e-mail: mstrasse@uark.edu

Brad M. Brown

Research Assistant
Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Arkansas,
Fayetteville, AR 72701
e-mail: Bradmbrown001@gmail.com

R. Panneer Selvam

Womble and University Professor
e-mail: rps@uark.edu

Department of Civil Engineering,
University of Arkansas,
Fayetteville, AR 72701

1Correspondence author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received July 9, 2012; final manuscript received February 28, 2013; published online August 21, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Rainer Tamme.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(2), 021004 (Aug 21, 2013) (6 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1174; doi: 10.1115/1.4024925 History: Received July 09, 2012; Revised February 28, 2013

Concrete is tested as a sensible heat thermal energy storage (TES) material in the temperature range of 400–500 °C (752–932 °F). A molten nitrate salt is used as the heat transfer fluid (HTF); the HTF is circulated though stainless steel heat exchangers, imbedded in concrete test prisms, to charge the TES system. During charging, significant cracking occurs in both the radial and longitudinal directions in the concrete prisms. The cracking is due to hoop stress induced by the dissimilar thermal strain rates of concrete and stainless steel. A 2D finite element model (FEM) is developed and used to study the stress at the prism/exchanger interface. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and a heat-curing, fibered paste (HCFP) are tested as interface materials to mitigate the stress in the concrete. Significant reduction in the size and number of cracks is observed after incorporating interface materials. A heat exchanger with a helical fin configuration is incorporated to improve the heat transfer rate in the concrete. Testing confirms that the fins increase the rate of heat transfer in the concrete; however, large cracks form at each of the fin locations. Only the HCFP is tested as an interface material for the finned heat exchanger. The HCFP decreases the number and size of the cracks, however, not to the desired hairline levels.

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References

DOE, 2011, “Thermal Storage Research and Development,” Solar Energy Technologies Program, U.S. Department of Energy, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/thermal_storage_rnd.html
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John, E. E., Hale, W. M., and Selvam, R. P., 2010, “Effect of High Temperatures and Heating Rates on High Strength Concrete for Use as Thermal Energy Storage,” ASME 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Phoenix, AZ, May 17–22, ASME Paper No. ES2010-90096, pp. 709–713. [CrossRef]
Selvam, R. P., and Castro, M., 2010, “3D FEM Model to Improve the Heat Transfer in Concrete for Thermal Energy Storage in Solar Power Generation,” ASME 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Phoenix, AZ, May 17–22, ASME Paper No. ES2010-90078, pp. 699–707. [CrossRef]
Coastal Chemical Company L.L.C., 2010, “Hitec Solar Salt,” http://www.coastalchem.com/PDFs/HITECSALT/Hitec%20Solar%20Salt.pdf
Nilson, A. H., Darwin, D., and Dolan, C. W., 2004, Design of Concrete Structures, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Boston.
Selvam, R. P., 2011, private communication.
Deacon Industries, 2010, “Deacon 885 High Temperature Gasket Paste,” http://www.deaconindustries.com/8875_tech.html
Mehta, P. K., and Monteiro, P. J. M., 2006, Concrete: Microstructure, Properties, and Materials, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Figures

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Fig. 1

Test prism with heat exchanger blocked to prevent concrete from entering during curing

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup during testing: system components and locations of temperature measurement

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Fig. 3

Data plot for charging of prism with plain pipe heat exchanger and HCFP interface

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Fig. 4

(a) Plane pipe heat exchanger with PTFE interface material; and (b) finned pipe heat exchanger with HCFP interface material

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Fig. 5

Concrete prism cracking during charging; (a) side view, (b) cross section

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Fig. 6

Microcracking of prism during charging

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Fig. 7

Water vapor expelling from prism and condensing during charging cycle

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Fig. 8

Significant cracking of concrete prism with finned heat exchanger

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