Enhancing the Thermal Performance of a Stearate Phase Change Material with Graphene Nanoplatelets and MgO Nanoparticles

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ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
The effectiveness of dispersed nanomaterials to improve the thermal performance of phase change materials (PCMs) is well-proven in the literature. The proposal of new engineered nanoenhanced phase change materials (NePCMs) with customized characteristics may lead to more efficient thermal energy storage (TES) systems. This work is focused on the development of new NePCMs based on dispersions of graphene nanoplatelets (GnPs) or MgO nanoparticles in a stearate PCM. The new proposed materials were developed using the two-step method and acetic acid was selected as surfactant to improve the stability of the dispersions. An extensive characterization of the constitutive materials and the developed dispersions through different spectroscopy techniques is reported. Also, the GnPs nanopowder was explored by using the XPS technique with the aim to characterized the used carbon nanomaterial. The obtained spectra were discussed in terms of the chemical bonds related to the found peaks. The thermophysical profile (density, thermal conductivity, isobaric heat capacity and thermal diffusivity) was experimentally determined once the main components of the NePCMs were characterized and dispersions were designed and developed. The differentiated and distinguished effect of the dispersed GnPs and MgO in the properties of the NePCMs have focused the discussion. A comprehensive analysis of the measurements to elucidate the mechanism that promoted higher improvements using GnPs instead of MgO was performed.