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Title: Innovative latent heat thermal storage elements design based on nanotechnologies
Authors: Sciuto, Giacomo
Keywords: LHTSCarbon Nano TubesCFD
Issue Date: 29-Mar-2012
Publisher: Università degli studi di Trieste
Abstract: Since from the first Industrial Revolution, energy supply, which feeds human activities, has been characterized by consumption of fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil and gas. This supply model is heavely affected by a dramatic limitation, taht is the idea of feeding an infinite system (such as the human activities energy demand) with a finite (in terms of time) source - fossil fuels. Although this issue was already forecast in the early decades of the last century (e.g. G. Ciamician in The photochemistry of the Future, during The Ninth International Congress of Applied Chemistry - New York), it has been largely neglected until the first oil crisis in the 70s, when public eye become aware of the (social) issue coming from the oil dependence. The exponential growth of Earth population and the consequent increase of energy demand and the environmental and pollution issues that characterized last decades leaded large part of scientific and (marginally) politic community to focusing its endeavours to research of more efficient way of exploiting renewable sources and to the fillip of their usage. The main drawback, which affects the usage of renewable energies, is that the supply, whether it comes from the earth or the sun, is never constant. Day turns to night, winds die down and the geothermal heat from the crust of the earth, although seemingly constant, will eventually diminish. The capability of storing energy and release it on demand, therefore, plays a crucial role in the possibility of exploiting renewable energies. The main target of this PhD study is investigation and design of devices capable of collecting thermal energy. According to the idea of gathering the largest quantity of energy in the most efficient way, as storage strategies it has been decided to adopt the latent heat thermal storage method. Suitable materials for accomplishing this task are Phase Change Materials (PCMs); they are a class of materials capable of collecting and releasing a large amount of energy during melting and freezing process at a temperature that may be useful for anthropic activities, such as air heating&cooling, domestic hot water production, industrial processes and energy production. In this thesis in particular, the existence of a convergence point between the possibility to adopt nano-enhanced material into largely used devices (heat exchangers, boilers etc.) is explored. This research has been, therefore, performed focusing mainly onto two different aspects: the possibility of improving thermal properties (melting enthalpy) of PCMs by addiction of nano-enhancer materials and on the other hand design and development of systems which imply the usage of PCMs, eventually nano-doped. The structure of this thesis reflects the division of topics and every part represents one of these task: * in the first part, Phase Change Materials a general overview on the state of art of PCMs is presented. A brief description of strategies for thermal storage is discussed and a dissertation on different typologies of PCMs, main advantages and disadvantages coming from their usage is given. The discussion than continues analysing possible ways of modelling the thermal behaviour during melting or freezing process. Both the analytical and numerical approaches are treated; * in the second part, Nanotechnology and Phase Change Materials, dissertation on thermal variations induced by inclusion of carbon nano tubes is carried out. After a snapshot on the state of the art in the field of nano-doping of PCMs, procedures and results of four commercially available paraffin waxes doped with CNTs have been discussed; * in the third part, Design and Phase Change Materials, devices which exploit PCMs have been designed and (numerically) optimized. A panel heat exchanger, capable to accomplish requirements of modularity and short time heat release has been numerically studied and optimized by genetic algorithm; the possibility of using a nano-enhanced material has been explored. Then, a system for avoiding ice formation on pavement surface during winter time has been developed. PCM elements (pipes) embedded into asphalt concrete of road pavement have been modelled using a commercial FE code. 1D and 2D models have been used and coupled with weather data collected in Trieste during the first week of January 2009; * in the last part, Conclusions, final remarks and further developments are discussed.
Description: 2010/2011
NBN: urn:nbn:it:units-9163
Appears in Collections:Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione

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