Storage capacity in dependency of supercooling and cycle stability of different PCM emulsions
Phase-change materials (PCM) play off their advantages over conventional heat storage media when used within narrow temperature ranges. Many cooling and temperature buffering applications, such as cold storage and battery cooling, are operated within small temperature differences, and therefore, they are well-suited for the application of these promising materials. In this study, the storage capacities of different phase-change material emulsions are analysed under consideration of the phase transition behaviour and supercooling effect, which are caused by the submicron size scale of the PCM particles in the emulsion. For comparison reasons, the same formulation for the emulsions was used to emulsify 35 wt.% of different paraffins with different purities and melting temperatures between 16 and 40 °C. Enthalpy curves based on differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) measurements are used to calculate the storage capacities within the characteristic and defined temperatures. The enthalpy differences for the emulsions, including the first phase transition, are in a range between 69 and 96 kJ/kg within temperature differences between 6.5 and 10 K. This led to an increase of the storage capacity by a factor of 2-2.7 in comparison to water operated within the same temperature intervals. The study also shows that purer paraffins, which have a much higher enthalpy than blends, reveal, in some cases, a lower increase of the storage capacity in the comparison due to unfavourable crystallisation behaviour when emulsified. In a second analysis, the stability of emulsions was investigated by applying 100 thermal cycles with defined mechanical stress at the same time. An analysis of the viscosity, particle size and melting crystallisation behaviour was done by showing the changes in each property due to the cycling.