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Review on thermal conductivity enhancement, thermal properties and applications of phase change materials in thermal energy storage

Yaxue Lin, Yuting Jia, Guruprasad Alva and Guiyin Fang

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2018, vol. 82, issue P3, 2730-2742

Abstract: In recent years, energy conservation and environmental protection have become most important issues for humanity. Phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage can solve the issues of energy and environment to a certain extent, as PCMs can increase the efficiency and sustainability of energy. PCMs possess large latent heat, and they store and release energy at a constant temperature during the phase change process. Thereby PCMs have gained a wide range of applications in various fields, such as buildings, solar energy systems, power systems and military industry. However, low thermal conductivity of PCMs leads to low heat transfer rate, thus, numerous studies have been carried out to improve thermal conductivity of PCMs. The main purpose of this paper is to review the methods for enhancing thermal conductivity of PCMs, which include adding additives with high thermal conductivity and encapsulating phase change materials. It is found that addition of thermal conductivity enhancement fillers is a more effective method to improve thermal conductivity of PCMs, where carbon-based material additives possess a more promising application prospect. Finally, the applications of PCMs in solar energy system, buildings, cooling system, textiles and heat recovery system are also analyzed.

Keywords: Thermal energy storage; Phase change materials (PCMs); Thermal conductivity enhancement; Thermal properties; PCMs applications (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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