Improved melting and solidification in thermal energy storage through topology optimization of highly conductive fins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Politecnico di Torino


Thermal energy storage units based on phase change materials (PCMs) need a fine design of highly conductive fins to improve the average heat transfer rate. In this paper, we seek the optimal distribution of a highly conductive material embedded in a PCM through a density-based topology optimization method. The phase change problem is solved through an enthalpy-porosity model, which accounts for natural convection in the fluid. Results show fundamental differences in the optimized layout between the solidification and the melting case. Fins optimized for solidification show a quasi-periodic pattern along the angular direction. On the other hand, fins optimized for melting elongate mostly in the bottom part of the unit leaving only two short baffles at the top. In both cases, the optimized structures show non-intuitive details which could not be obtained neglecting fluid flow. These additional features reduce the solidification and melting time by 11 % and 27 % respectively compared to a structure optimized for diffusion.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAerospace Heat Transfer; Computational Heat Transfer; Education; Environmental Heat Transfer; Fire and Combustion Systems; Gas Turbine Heat Transfer; Heat Transfer in Electronic Equipment; Heat Transfer in Energy Systems
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2017
EventASME 2017 Heat Transfer Summer Conference, HT 2017 - Bellevue, United States
Duration: 9 Jul 201712 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameASME 2017 Heat Transfer Summer Conference


ConferenceASME 2017 Heat Transfer Summer Conference, HT 2017
CountryUnited States