A finite element modeling of thermal conductivity of fabrics embedded with phase change material

Yan Ding, John Anthony Gear, Kim Ngoc Tran


The thermal capacitance of a fabric is increased when the fabric is embedded with a phase change material (PCM). This is due to utilizing the latent heat release or absorption of the PCM during its phase change process. This article presents a modified finite element method algorithm based on the Galerkin weak formulation with quadratic shape functions. The modification correctly models the phase change process. A diver's dry suit made from four types of garments, 1-layer Thinsulate, 1-layer PCM, and 2-layer and 4-layer Thinsulate-PCM composites, are investigated using the modified finite element method. Temperature profiles and heat fluxes are compared with and are shown to be superior to results obtained using a finite difference procedure.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21914/anziamj.v49i0.379

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