Date of Award

Spring 2022

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Sandra K.S. Boetcher

First Committee Member

Rafael Rodriguez

Second Committee Member

Eduardo Divo


Validation experiments are the baseline for completing numerical studies for engineering design. Applications of the enthalpy-porosity model have expanded in research with the growth of new technologies such as metal additive manufacturing or the renewed interest in thermal energy storage for supplementing renewable energy. A simplified experiment examining the melting behavior of lauric acid from an isothermal surface has become a common case for validating the performance of numerical models. Several studies of this rectangular experiment have been repeatedly used as model validation in a variety of problem conditions.

The first part of this study presents experimental data for the same lauric acid experimental setup building on previous cases by adding 180◦ and 135◦ orientations. This extends the available cases used for validation to all the logical orientations based on previous studies.

The second part of the study presents a numerical model and attempts to validate the results based on current practices in literature. The model does not fully match the results of the experiment and potential reasons for this are discussed.

The final portion of the study examines different methods for modeling the density of the phase change based on several different approaches presented in literature. These results are examined with reference to each other and the implications on the common validation process are presented. General weaknesses of the enthalpy-porosity model are identified during the literature review and reinforced in the results of the study.