Thermodynamic Model of a Thermal Storage Air Conditioning System with Dynamic Behavior


E. Fleming, Wen, S., Shi, L., and da Silva, A. K., “Thermodynamic Model of a Thermal Storage Air Conditioning System with Dynamic Behavior,” Applied Energy, vol. 112, pp. 160–169, 2013.


Highlights •We developed an automotive thermal storage air conditioning system model. •The thermal storage unit utilizes phase change materials. •We use semi-analytic solution to the coupled phase change and forced convection. •We model the airside heat exchange using the NTU method. •The system model can incorporate dynamic inputs, e.g. variable inlet airflow. A thermodynamic model was developed to predict transient behavior of a thermal storage system, using phase change materials (PCMs), for a novel electric vehicle climate conditioning application. The main objectives of the paper are to consider the system’s dynamic behavior, such as a dynamic air flow rate into the vehicle’s cabin, and to characterize the transient heat transfer process between the thermal storage unit and the vehicle’s cabin, while still maintaining accurate solution to the complex phase change heat transfer. The system studied consists of a heat transfer fluid circulating between either of the on-board hot and cold thermal storage units, which we refer to as thermal batteries, and a liquid–air heat exchanger that provides heat exchange with the incoming air to the vehicle cabin. Each thermal battery is a shell-and-tube configuration where a heat transfer fluid flows through parallel tubes, which are surrounded by PCM within a larger shell. The system model incorporates computationally inexpensive semi-analytic solution to the conjugated laminar forced convection and phase change problem within the battery and accounts for airside heat exchange using the Number of Transfer Units (NTUs) method for the liquid–air heat exchanger. Using this approach, we are able to obtain an accurate solution to the complex heat transfer problem within the battery while also incorporating the impact of the airside heat transfer on the overall system performance. The implemented model was benchmarked against a numerical study for a melting process and against full system experimental data for solidification using paraffin wax as the PCM. Through modeling, we demonstrate the importance of capturing the airside heat exchange impact on system performance, and we investigate system response to dynamic operating conditions, e.g., air recirculation.