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Designing a heat sink based on a phase change material (PCM) under cyclic loading is a critical issue. For cyclic operation, it is required that the fraction of the PCM melting during the heating cycle should completely resolidify during the cooling period, so that that thermal storage unit can be operated for an unlimited number of cycles. Accordingly, studies are carried out to find the parameters influencing the behavior of a PCM under cyclic loading. A number of parameters are identified in the process, the most important ones being the duty cycle and heat transfer coefficient (h) for cooling. The required h or the required cooling period for complete resolidification for infinite cyclic operation of a conventional PCM-based heat sink is found to be very high and unrealistic with air cooling from the surface. To overcome this problem, the conventional design is modified where h and the area exposed to heat transfer can be independently controlled. With this arrangement, the enhanced area provided for cooling keeps h within realistic limits. Analytical investigation is carried out to evaluate the thermal performance of this modified PCM-based heat sink in comparison to those with conventional designs. Experiments are also performed on both the conventional and the modified PCM-based heat sinks to validate the new findings.
Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:2 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: March 2012