Experimental and numerical study of mixing in a hot-water storage tank Academic Article uri icon


  • Thermal mixing and stratification are explored numerically and experimentally in a cylindrical tank, which simulates a storage of water heated by a solar collector. The tank is 70 cm in height and 24 cm in diameter. The inlet and outlet are vertical and located off the centerline of the tank. The study is conducted in a transient mode, namely, the tank is filled with hot water, and as the hot water is being withdrawn, the tap water replaces it in a stratified way or by mixing. The flowrates of 2 l/min, 3 l/min, 5 l/min and 7 l/min, which correspond to superficial velocities of 4.35 cm/min, 6.52 cm/min, 10.87 cm/min, and 15.2 cm/min, are explored. Temperature of hot water ranges within 40-50 °C, while the tap water is about 25-27°C. Installation of one and two horizontal baffles above the inlet is examined. Simultaneous experimental and numerical investigations are performed. In the experiment, both flow visualization and temperature measurements are used. Three-dimensional transient numerical simulations are done using the FLUENT 6 software. Validation of the numerical model is achieved by comparison with the experimental results. Then, the numerical model is applied to a study of various possible changes in the system. The results show that at low flowrates, up to a superficial velocity of about 11 cm/min through the tank, the baffles have no effect on tap water mixing with the stored hot water. At higher flowrates, a single horizontal baffle prevents the mixing and preserves the desired stratified temperature distribution in the storage tank.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009