Lien Chin Wei, PhD Student, Carnegie Mellon University
Additive manufacturing (AM) is ideal to fabricate complex metal architectures. These metal frameworks can hold phase change materials (PCMs) in their interstitial spaces, increasing the effective thermal conductivity of the PCMs to enhance charge/discharge rates of thermal energy. Most current metal frameworks have a spatially-uniform distribution (e.g. metal foams), however with AM we can realize spatially-graded meshes where the performance of latent heat storage/thermal management of PCMs is further improved over that with homogeneous metal structures. We investigate how the average charge/discharge rates are amplified using spatially-linear and parabolic distribution of effective thermal conductivity while conserving the average volume fraction of the metal. Our quasi-steady state solution indicates additively-manufactured graded meshes are able to raise the average charge/discharge rates by 12% in a one-dimensional slab and over 140% in selected cylindrical PCM/mesh composites. The distinct enhancement between the one-dimensional slab and cylinder also indicates how the interplay between spatial-variation of thermal conductivity and geometry of PCM/mesh composites can further enhance the charge/discharge rates of PCM/mesh composites, which result in more efficient latent heat storage and prompt thermal management applications.