An Experimental Investigation of Thermal Characteristics of Phase Change Material Applied to Improve the Isothermal Operation of a Refrigerator

Seok-Joon Lee, Seul-Hyun Park
2018 Energies  
We investigated the thermal performance of a refrigerator with a functional duct unit (FDU) which was charged with a phase change material (PCM) and designed to replace the existing expandable polystyrene (EPS) duct unit. Since the performance of the FDU is dependent upon the thermal characteristics of the PCM, the eutectic water–salt solution as the PCM was prepared and tested to optimize the thermal characteristics. The thermal properties of the PCM were examined by the T-history method. When
more » ... the PCM contained 1 wt.% eutectic molten salt compounds, the phase change temperature was approximately −0.5 °C, the supercooling temperature was approximately −2.9 °C, and the latent heat was 304.9 kJ/kg. Compared with other PCMs of different eutectic molten salt concentrations, this PCM was found to have the most appropriate thermal properties for the FDU. Therefore, the PCM with 1 wt.% eutectic molten salt compounds was used in the FDU, which was installed in a 200 L top-mounted freezer (TMF). For a quantitative comparison of the operational performance, an FDU and an EPS duct were installed alternately in a refrigerator operated under the same conditions and analyzed in terms of internal temperature variation and operational characteristics. When the EPS duct was replaced by the FDU, the temperature deviation measured during a defrosting operation was observed to become smaller. Moreover, during a power outage, the refrigerator with the FDU released heat owing to the phase change of the PCM, thereby preventing temperature rise inside the refrigerator.
doi:10.3390/en11082017 fatcat:z445tvizsrdapouxgxew4yb2xq