Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: Carlos Romero and Alparslan Oztekin

This project is for a study that will help provide an understanding of the full process of melting of phase change materials. These materials are used in a very wide range of applications, including solar thermal energy harvesting, heat storage, heating and cooling of buildings, power generation, directed energy weapons and portable electronic devices. Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT), of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has a number of phase change material-heat sink related projects distributed throughout the company's technology portfolio for military and commercial cooling applications. Getting a good handle on the thermal performance of the phase change material thermal process is critical to optimize ACT's product design and reduce development/production costs of related products.

This project will explore analytically/numerically and experimentally the process of melting of a phase change material, with particular emphasis on capturing the phenomenon of the solid phase motion in the liquid.  The project will produce a proven approach to be incorporated efficiently in computational fluid mechanics models, suitable for optimization of product design by ACT.  Additionally, the project results will be evaluated in terms of the improvement in design/production costs by ACT for material-heat sink related products by the use of the method developed in this project.