Date of Award

Spring 2023

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Sandra Boetcher

First Committee Member

Rafael Rodriguez

Second Committee Member

Mark Ricklick

College Dean

James Gregory


The study of various phase change materials (PCM), experimentally and numerically, have been completed over the past several years to address their feasibility and potential when used in latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) systems for a variety of potential applications. Previous studies have investigated changes into the type of PCM used in the system as well as the system configuration, ranging from boundary conditions to internal and external geometries and orientations of the system. The present study focused on conducting experiments at different inclination angles and isothermal wall temperatures with the organic PCM PureTemp37, and continued with a numerical investigation into the mushy-zone constant with respect to the aforementioned changes to system parameters. For the experiments, an acrylic enclosure was used in conjunction with a constant temperature bath that transferred heat via an aluminum heat spreader. Data collection was completed via imaging at a set interval, and these were used to determine the solid/liquid percentage of PCM in the enclosure at a specific point in time during the melt. The experiments along with a series of material properties tests were used to complete and validate numerical simulations of an identical system. To ensure numerical accuracy a variety of meshes were studied to confirm mesh independence, and methods for the simulations were selected based on standards that have been established for the field. Using the experiments as a benchmark, the numerical data returned differing trends in inclination angle and isothermal wall temperature with respect to the mushy-zone constant depending on the fineness of the constructed mesh. This led to the conclusion that more care is needed when completing mesh independence studies as false correlations of the mushy-zone constant at differing system parameters appear with more coarse models.