Natural convection heat transfer in enclosures with microemulsion phase change material slurry

H. Inaba, C. Dai, A. Horibe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper has dealt with the natural convection heat transfer characteristics of microemulsion slurry composed of water, fine particles of phase change material (PCM) in rectangular enclosures. The microemulsion slurry exhibited non-Newtonian pseudoplastic fluid behavior, and the phase changing process can show dramatically variations in both thermophysical and rheological properties with temperature. The experiments have been carried out separately in three subdivided regions in which the state of PCM in microemulsion is in only solid phase, two phases (coexistence of solid and liquid phases) or only liquid phase. The complicated heat transfer characteristics of natural convection have appeared in the phase changing region. The phase change phenomenon of the PCM enhanced the heat transfer in natural convection, and the Nusselt number was generalized by introducing a modified Stefan number. However, the Nusselt number did not show a linear output with the height of the enclosure, since a top conduction lid or stagnant layer was induced over a certain height of the enclosure. The Nusselt number increased with a decrease in aspect ratio (width/height of the rectangular enclosure) even including the side-wall effect. However, the microemulsion was more viscous while the PCM was in the solid phase, the side-wall effect on heat transfer was greater for the PCM in the solid region than that for the PCM in the liquid region. The correlation generalized for the PCM in a single phase is Nu = 1/3(1 - C1)Ra 1/3.5n+1, where C1 = e -0.09AR for the PCM in solid phase and C 1 = e -0.33AR for the PCM in liquid phase. For the PCM in the phase changing region, the correlation can be expressed as Nu = CRa1/7n + 2Ste-(1.9-1.65n), where C = 1.22 - 0.035AR for AR > 10 and C = 0.55 - 16.4e -1.1AR for AR < 10. The enclosure height used in the present experiments was varied from H = 5.5 [mm] to 30.4 [mm] at the fixed width W = 120 [mm] and depth D = 120 [mm]. The experiments were done in the range of modified Rayleigh number 7.0 × 102 ≤ Ra ≤ 3.0 × 106, while the enclosure aspect ratio AR varied from 3.9 to 21.8.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
JournalHeat and Mass Transfer/Waerme- und Stoffuebertragung
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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