Hierarchical Hexagonal Boron Nitride Nanomaterial Composites for Phase Change Thermal Energy Storage
Phase change material (PCMs) leverage the latent heat of fusion associated with a physical change of phase to act as a means of storing or releasing large amounts of thermal energy while remaining at a constant temperature. The ability of PCMs to store thermal energy during peak energy input times and later release it during off-peak intervals have made them attractive for space thermal systems, especially those whose operation is dependent on transient solar or orbital cycles. However, PCMs face performance limitations due to their inherently low thermal conductivity which slows heat transfer rated and prevents congruent melting/solidification.
The objective of this work is to investigate the use of hierarchical hexagonal boron nitride nanomaterials as a thermal conductivity enhancing scaffold in PCM composites. This includes a combination of both fundamental thermal transport characterization and proof-of-concept performance evaluations versus neat paraffin wax and other existing PCMs. Modeling and analysis of the experimental results will be used to facilitate a high level of physical understanding and guide subsequent works. In addition, hierarchical hexagonal boron nitride h-BN nanomaterials of varying internal structure and surface functionalization will be studied in order to understand and optimize the conditions directly affecting multiscale PCM composite performance.
Principal Investigator: Moore, Arden -- Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Micromanufacturing, Molecular Science and Nanotechnology
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