Melting in a low gravity environment with applied electromagnetic fields

Douglas L. Veilleux, University of Rhode Island


The transport phenomenon associated with the melting of an electrically conducting phase change material (PCM), subjected to either an applied static or oscillating electromagnetic field inside a rectangular enclosure, has been numerically studied. The electromagnetic fields have been configured in such a way that the resulting Lorentz force can either damp or increase the convective mechanisms due to the influence of gravity. Computational experiments have been conducted for both fixed (sidewall heating) and unfixed (topwall heating) PCMs. The governing equations were discretized using a control-volume based finite difference scheme. Numerical solutions have been obtained for a true low-gravity environment, simulated low-gravity environment and enhanced gravity conditions. The results show, for the cases where the Lorentz force was utilized to damp gravity, that phase change in a low-gravity environment could be simulated on Earth. The results further show distinct advantages and disadvantages exist in the type of Lorentz force applied to the system. For instance, the cases where a Lorentz force is caused by a magnetic field alone, lower levels of low-gravity can be achieved over the Lorentz force caused by an electromagnetic field, but for the cases where the Lorentz force is caused by the electromagnetic field, the results indicate that the transient regions of the developing melt flow can be better simulated by the electromagnetic field. Finally, it is shown that when either a static or oscillating Lorentz force is configured to act in the direction of gravity, the rate of melting can be significantly improved in low-gravity environments. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Mechanical

Recommended Citation

Douglas L. Veilleux, "Melting in a low gravity environment with applied electromagnetic fields" (2005). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3186925.