This paper is aimed at analysing the behaviour of encapsulated salt hydrates, used as latent energy storage in a heat transfer system of a domestic hot water tank. The salt is a eutectic mixture of hydrate nitrates of ammonium and magnesium, with low melting temperature, already tested for latent heat storage in domestic applications. In the discharge mode, cold water enters the tank and flows on the encapsulated melted PCM, which is cooled and solidified. In the initial condition the PCM is at its melting temperature. Suddenly its external surface is cooled to a constant temperature T0; the duration of the solidification represents the time in which the latent heat is released to water. The discharge process of the phase change material (PCM) is analyzed analytically and its effectiveness is assessed, for constant surface temperature conditions, in three different geometrical configurations, i.e. considering the PCM encapsulated in slab, cylindrical or spherical polyethylene containers. The focus is on a model of the moving boundary within the phase-change material during the discharging mode, and the duration of the phenomenon. Results shown include transient position of the moving surface, temperature distribution, amount of solid PCM, energy released, and duration of complete solidification. The influence of the geometry and the Jacob number on the ending time of solidification is investigated. Among different geometrical configurations of the PCM, it is found that the shortest time for complete solidification is matched for small spherical capsules, with high Jacob numbers and thermal conductivity.
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