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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparison of Model Predictions and Performance Test Data for a Prototype Thermal Energy Storage Module

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Although model predictions of thermal energy storage (TES) performance have been explored in previous investigations, relevant test data that enable experimental validation of performance models have been limited. This is particularly true for high-performance TES designs that facilitate fast input and extraction of energy. In this paper, we present a summary of experimental tests of a high-performance TES unit using lithium nitrate trihydrate phase change material as a storage medium. Performance data are presented for complete dual-mode cycles consisting of extraction (melting) followed by charging (freezing). These tests simulate the cyclic operation of a TES unit for asynchronous cooling in a variety of applications. The model analysis is found to agree reasonably well, within 10%, with the experimental data except for conditions very near the initiation of freezing, a consequence of subcooling that is required to initiate solidification.

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