International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.37, No.14, 1737-1742, 2013
Liquid crystals: a new approach for latent heat storage
The development of thermal storage systems adapted to processes in which steam is involved is currently increasing because no cost-effective solution is available to date. Entailing water condensation and evaporation, isothermal storage under latent heat is the most appropriate approach. The low thermal conductivity of the materials currently in use significantly affects both power density and power generation of the storage system in discharge. In order to solve these drawbacks, the use of liquid crystals as alternative storage materials is proposed because they can absorb/release energy at constant temperature and at the same time keep the ability to flow. In this way, liquid crystals with clearing points close to the saturated steam working temperature and high enthalpy of mesophase-isotropic liquid transition would be required. The main advantage of using liquid crystals as storage materials is that convection would be the heat transfer mechanism and power would be constant with time during discharge processes. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.