A New Phase Change Material Based on Potassium Nitrate with Silica and Alumina Nanoparticles for Thermal Energy Storage

Manila Chieruzzi, Adio Miliozzi, Tommaso Crescenzi, Luigi Torre, José M Kenny

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In this study different nanofluids with phase change behavior were developed by mixing a molten salt base fluid (KNO3 selected as phase change material) with nanoparticles using the direct synthesis method. The thermal properties of the nanofluids obtained were investigated. Following the improvement in the specific heat achieved, these nanofluids can be used in concentrating solar plants with a reduction of storage material. The nanoparticles used (1.0 wt.%) were silica (SiO2), alumina (Al2O3), and a mix of silica-alumina (SiO2-Al2O3) with an average diameter of 7, 13, and 2–200 nm respectively. Each nanofluid was prepared in water solution, sonicated, and evaporated. Measurements of the thermophysical properties were performed by DSC analysis, and the dispersion of the nanoparticles was analyzed by SEM microscopy. The results obtained show that the addition of 1.0 wt.% of nanoparticles to the base salt increases the specific heat of about 5–10 % in solid phase and of 6 % in liquid phase. In particular, this research shows that the addition of silica nanoparticles has significant potential for enhancing the thermal storage characteristics of KNO3. The phase-change temperature of potassium nitrate was lowered up to 3 °C, and the latent heat was increased to 12 % with the addition of silica nanoparticles. These results deviated from the predictions of theoretical simple mixing model used. The stored heat as a function of temperature was evaluated for the base salt, and the nanofluids and the maximum values obtained were 229, 234, 242, and 266 J/g respectively. The maximum total gain (16 %) due to the introduction of the nanoparticles (calculated as the ratio between the total stored heat of the nanofluids and the base salt in the range of temperatures 260–390 °C) was also recorded with the introduction of silica. SEM and EDX analysis showed the presence of aggregates in all nanofluids: with silica nanoparticles they were homogenously present while with alumina and silica-alumina also zones with pure salt could be detected.
Original languageEnglish
Article number273
Pages (from-to)-
JournalNanoscale Research Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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