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Experimental Characterization of the Thermal Diffusivity of Paraffin Phase Change Material Embedded With Herringbone Style Graphite Nanofibers

[+] Author Affiliations
Ronald J. Warzoha, Anthony Rao, Rebecca Weigand, Amy S. Fleischer

Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Paper No. HT2012-58043, pp. 307-315; 9 pages
  • ASME 2012 Heat Transfer Summer Conference collocated with the ASME 2012 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting and the ASME 2012 10th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Volume 2: Heat Transfer Enhancement for Practical Applications; Fire and Combustion; Multi-Phase Systems; Heat Transfer in Electronic Equipment; Low Temperature Heat Transfer; Computational Heat Transfer
  • Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, USA, July 8–12, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4478-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Phase change materials (PCMs) are promising candidates for thermal energy storage due to their intrinsically high values of latent heat. However, PCMs are unable to effectively utilize all of their energy storage capacities due to their poor thermophysical properties. In this study, the effect of graphite nanofibers (diameter = 2 to 1000 nm, length = 100μm) on the bulk thermal properties of paraffin PCM (Tmelt = 56 °C) is investigated. Material properties including effective thermal conductivity, specific heat, latent heat, melt temperature and thermal diffusivity are measured using a Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) and comparative reference bar apparatus. Results suggest that the addition of nanostructures not only increases thermal conductivity by up to 180%, but also reduces the specific heat capacity and density of nano-enhanced paraffin, leading to improved thermal diffusivity and thus greater utilization of its latent heat for transient thermal energy storage.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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