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Hybrid thermal management of lithium-ion batteries using nanofluid, metal foam, and phase change material: an integrated numerical–experimental approach


Safety issues of Li-ion batteries imposed by unfavorable thermal behavior accentuate the need for efficient thermal management systems to prevent the runaway conditions. To that end, a hybrid thermal management system is designed and further investigated numerically and experimentally in the present study. The passive cooling system is fabricated by saturating copper foam with paraffin as the phase change material (PCM) and integrated with an active cooling system with alumina nanofluid as the coolant fluid. Results for various Reynolds numbers and different heating powers indicate that the hybrid nanofluid cooling system can successfully fulfill safe operation of the battery during stressful operating conditions. The maximum time in which all PCM field is changed to the liquid phase is defined as the onset of the stressful conditions. Therefore, the start time of stressful conditions at 41 W and Re 420 is increased from 3700 s with nanofluid composed of 1% volume fraction nanoparticles (VF-1%) to 4600 s with nanofluid VF-2% during high current discharge rates. Nanofluid cooling extends the operating time of the battery in comparison with the water-based cooling system with 200-s (nanofluid with volume fraction of 1%) and 900-s (nanofluid with volume fraction of 2%) increases in operating time at Reynolds of 420. Using nanofluid, instead of water, postpones the onset of paraffin phase transition effectively and prolongs its melting time which consequently leads to a decrease in the rate of temperature rise.

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Alternating current


Computational fluid dynamics


Hybrid electric vehicle


Lithium-ion battery


Phase change material


Pores per inch


Thermal management system

c p :

Specific heat (kJ kg−1 K−1)

d :

Diameter (m)

h :

Enthalpy (kJ)

\(k_{\text{B}}\) :

Boltzmann’s constant \(= 1.38066 \times 10^{ - 23} \,{\text{J}}\,{\text{K}}^{ - 1}\)

K :

Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)

p :

Pressure (kPa)

\(P\) :

Power (W)


Prandtl number

\(R\) :

Electrical resistance (Ω)


Reynolds number

T :

Temperature (K)

u :

Velocity (m s−1)

\(V\) :

Supplied voltage (V)


Volume fraction

\(\Delta H\) :

Sensible heat (kJ)

\(\beta\) :

Melting amount

\(\gamma\) :

Latent heat (kJ)

\(\rho\) :

Mass density (kg m−3)

\(\mu\) :

Dynamic viscosity (kg m−1 s−1)

\(\varepsilon\) :

Porosity (–)

\(\omega\) :

Pore density (pores per inch, PPI)




Base fluid


Freezing point

i, j, k:

Indices for xyz direction






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Correspondence to Ehsan Houshfar.

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Kiani, M., Ansari, M., Arshadi, A.A. et al. Hybrid thermal management of lithium-ion batteries using nanofluid, metal foam, and phase change material: an integrated numerical–experimental approach. J Therm Anal Calorim (2020).

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  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Thermal management
  • Battery
  • Nanofluid
  • Metal foam