First Advisor

Sung Yi

Date of Publication

Winter 4-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering




Heat storage, Phase transformations (Statistical physics), Materials -- Thermal properties



Physical Description

1 online resource (xvii, 177 pages)


A Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system is meant for holding thermal energy in the form of hot or cold materials for later utilization. A TES system is an important technological system in providing energy savings as well as efficient and optimum energy use. The main types of a TES system are sensible heat and latent heat. A latent heat storage is a very efficient method for storing or releasing thermal energy due to its high energy storage density at constant temperatures, and a latent heat storage material can store 5-14 times more heat per unit volume than a sensible heat storage material can. Phase Change Materials (PCMs) are called latent heat storage materials. PCMs can save thermal energy, and use energy efficiently because PCMs can absorb thermal energy in the solid state, and the thermal energy can be released in the liquid state. Therefore, PCMs as new materials for saving energy can be applied into building applications. PCMs have been widely researched, but the current issues are lack of accurate and detailed information about thermophysical properties of PCMs to apply to buildings and inaccurate materials properties measured by existing methodology. The objective of this study is to develop a methodology and procedure to accurately determine the thermophysical properties of PCMs based on salt hydrates. TES systems of PCMs are measured and analyzed by various methods, such as DSC method and heat flow method. In addition, this study demonstrates to design a building roof with PCMs to save energy using Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

The developed methodology is designed based on ASTM C1784-14, Standard Test Method for Using a Heat Flow Meter Apparatus for Measuring Thermal Storage Properties of Phase Change Materials and Products, for measuring the thermal energy storage properties of PCMs. The thermophysical properties and thermal stabilities are evaluated by using a Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), which is made with DSC Q 200 equipment from TA Instruments and DSC STA 8000 equipment from Perkin Elmer Company. The thermal conductivities are assessed by heat flow meter, which is FOX 314 equipment from TA Instruments, and the enthalpy changes of the PCMs are determined by DSC method and heat flow method. Numerical FEA to evaluate potential energy savings is conducted using ABAQUS software.

Four types of Phase Change Materials (PCMs), which have phase changes at 21ºC, 23ºC, 26ºC, and 30ºC, respectively, are used for measuring the thermophysical properties. The onset/peak temperature, the enthalpy, the heat flow, and the heat capacity of the PCMs are measured to assess the thermal energy storage system under the dynamic DSC mode. The results obtained using DSC equipment have a higher melting temperature than their own temperatures, which are known theoretically. The freezing temperatures of the PCMs are decreased by about 30ºC ~ 40ºC compare to their theoretical freezing temperatures. It is speculated that supercooling happens during the solidification. The enthalpy change curves as a function of temperature, which are determined by DSC method and heat flow method, are indicated to assess thermal energy storage system of the PCMs. During the phase change, the energy is increased. This is the reason why the energy is utilized to loosen or break apart the molecular or atomic bond structures of the PCMs by the latent heat. Moreover, the enthalpy change curves determined by heat flow method show more precise results than the curves by DSC method, because various factors lead to a temperature gradient in the PCM and the heat flux signal peak being shifted toward high temperatures. Regarding the thermal conductivities results of the PCMs, the thermal conductivities of the PCMs in the solid state are higher than those of the PCMs in the liquid state. This phenomenon happens due to the effect of the microstructure changing from the orderly solid structure in the solid state to the disorderly liquid structure in the liquid state. The numerical Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is conducted to evaluate potential energy savings of a roof. The results, such as the temperature variations from the outdoor to indoor measured under step 1 (the daytime) condition, show that the outdoor temperatures are higher than the indoor temperatures. This is due to the low thermal conductivity of the PCM in the liquid state. The low thermal conductivity of the PCM reduces the heat transmission to the indoor that in turn increases the outdoor temperature.

This study shows the developed methodology and procedure, the accurate material information for the newly developed PCM, and the numerical FEA to analyze the TES systems with much more precision in the area of the PCMs.


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