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Fabrication of Form-Stable Phase Change Materials Based on Mechanically Flexible SiO2 Nanofibrous Mats for Thermal Energy Storage/Retrieval

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For overcoming the fragility of inorganic supporting materials as form-stable phase change materials (FSPCMs), flexible and soft SiO2 nanofibrous mats were applied as supporting materials of FSPCMs for storage/retrieval of thermal energy. Quaternary fatty acid eutectics were incorporated into SiO2 nanofibrous mats as representative phase change materials. Flexible SiO2 nanofibrous mats were prepared by electrospinning combined with annealing. The thermal energy storage capability, surface morphology and thermal energy storage/retrieval rate of FSPCMs were characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and laboratorymade thermal performance measurement device. The results indicated that the resultant SiO2 nanofibrous mats were soft and free-standing. Quaternary fatty acid eutectics were distributed uniformly in the three-dimensional (3D) network structure of the SiO2 nanofibrous mats, thereby effectively preventing fatty acid leakage. The absorption capacities of five types of quaternary fatty acid eutectics varied from 85.1% to 88.9%. Moreover, after 20 cycles, the phase change temperature and enthalpy of FSPCMs did not change significantly, suggesting that ideal thermal stability was achieved. The time for thermal energy storage/retrieval taken by FSPCMs was shortened by 23.1% at minimum from that for pure quaternary fatty acid eutectics. Therefore, the fabricated FSPCMs offer promising application prospects in a wide variety of fields, including solar energy utilization, temperature-regulating textiles and air-conditioning systems.
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Keywords: Flexible; Form-Stable Phase Change Materials (FSPCM); Quaternary Fatty Acid Eutectics; Silica (SiO2) Nanofibrous Mats; Thermal Energy Storage/Retrieval

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Key Laboratory of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122, People's Republic of China

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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