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Phase Change

Application ID: 474

This example demonstrates how to model a phase change and predict its impact on a heat transfer analysis. When a material changes phase, for instance from solid to liquid, energy is added to the solid. Instead of creating a temperature rise, the energy alters the material’s molecular structure. Equations for the latent heat of phase changes appear in many texts but their implementation is nonstandard. Heat consumed or released by a phase change affects fluid flow, magma movement and production, chemical reactions, mineral stability, and many other earth-science applications.

This 1D example uses the Heat Transfer in Porous Media interface from the Heat Transfer Module to examine transient temperature transfer in a rod of ice that heats up and changes to water. In particular, the model demonstrates how to handle material properties that vary as a function of temperature.

This model proceeds as follows. First, estimate the ice-to-water phase change using the transient conduction equation with the latent heat of fusion. Next, compare the first solution to estimates that neglect latent heat. Finally, run additional simulations to evaluate impacts of the temperature interval over which the phase change occurs.

This application was built using the following:

Heat Transfer Module Subsurface Flow Module

The combination of COMSOL® products required to model your application depends on the physics interfaces that define it. Particular physics interfaces may be common to several products (see the Specification Chart for more details). To determine the right combination of products for your project, you should evaluate all of your needs in light of each product's capabilities, consultation with the COMSOL Sales and Support teams, and the use of an evaluation license.