International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.44, No.11, 8555-8566, 2020
Photo-to-thermal conversion and energy storage of lauric acid/expanded graphite composite phase change materials
To make better use of solar energy, lauric acid/expanded graphite (LA/EG) composite phase change materials (PCMs) were synthesized to collect and store solar energy as latent heat thermal energy. The results of thermal characteristics show that when the mass fraction of EG is 5%, 10%, and 15%, the latent heat of LA/EG is 164.5, 156.9, and 148.0 J/g, and the thermal conductivity is 2.73, 7.98, and 10.54 W/(m center dot K). Leakage test shows that LA/EG PCMs with EG mass fraction of 10% and 15% are form stable after phase change. One thousand thermal cycles prove good thermal reliability of LA/EG. TG analysis indicates LA/EG PCMs have good thermal stability within operating temperature range. The Ultraviolet-visible spectra reveal that the absorbance of LA/EG composite PCMs would increase as the mass fraction of EG increases. Photothermal conversion experiment results indicate that the photothermal conversion efficiency of LA/EG composite PCMs increases as the mass fraction of EG increases, and the efficiency can reach 95% when the mass fraction of EG is 15%. Moreover, it was also found that the process of photothermal conversion can be accelerated with stronger illumination intensity or smaller heat transfer size. All the results show that the prepared LA/EG PCMs can convert solar energy into thermal energy and store it in the form of latent heat at the same time, which indicates it has promising prospect in the application of solar energy conversion and storage.