Optimization of the thermal performance of PCM nanocomposites

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Islamic Azad, Ahar, Iran

2 Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, P.O. Box 179, Ardabil, Iran

3 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas at Arlington, TX, USA

4 Department of Chemistry, University of Islamic Azad, Ahar, Iran


Thermal energy storage is among the highly efficient approaches to overcome the energy crisis. Using phase change material (PCM) is one of the most effective techniques in thermal energy storage application. Several types of PCM with distinct characteristics and different ranges of melting and solidification temperature have found their way in various industries. However, commercialized PCMs generally suffer from low thermal conductivity which limits their application. In this study, the effect of adding different weight percentages of various nanoparticles, such as CuO, TiO2, Al2O3 and graphene to paraffin, as a standard PCM, on improvement of the thermal properties of PCM was investigated. Thermophysical properties and morphology of the nanocomposites, such as phase change temperature and latent heat of melting were characterized by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). SEM images display the proper distribution of nanoparticles in phase change material. FTIR results verified the formation of nanocomposites. Comparison between the investigated PCM nanocomposites showed that the nanocomposites containing 2 wt.% TiO2 with the enthalpy of 179.88 J/g, and 1 wt.% graphene nanocomposite with the enthalpy of 120.38 J/g had the highest and lowest energy storage capacity compared to paraffin, respectively. The results indicated that Nano-enhanced phase change materials (NEPCMs) could be particularly useful in applications in which temperature control is crucial. The new types of nanocomposites used in this study showed remarkable thermal performance, and they are capable of being used in thermal management applications