A unified approach is developed for the analysis of one, two, or three-phase melting or solidification of a semi-infinite medium with or without subcooling or superheating and imposed with constant, monotonic, or cyclic temperature or flux conditions. A source and sink method is presented in which a sink front is used to characterize a melt front while a source front is used to characterize a freeze front. An integrodifferential equation is then derived for the interface position which is linearized locally for numerical solution. This position is, in turn, used as input for the determination of the temperature distribution and energy storage and release in different phases of the medium. The numerical solution presented in this paper has shown to be unique, convergent, stable, and accurate. The analysis has been applied to the study of phase change in a subcooled paraffin wax imposed with a cyclic temperature condition. Test results yield some interesting phenomena related to the merging of phase-change fronts and hysteresis of energy storage and release, among others, which have not previously been reported in the literature. Their relations to the energy storage and release are particularly stressed in the paper.

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