Properties of Cementitious Mortar and Concrete Containing Micro-Encapsulated Phase Change Materials

More efficient energy usage in buildings with increased thermal mass and better thermal insulation has attracted considerable attention in recent years. As one the most widely used construction materials in the building industry, concrete has a great potential to be converted to a high performance thermal storage material by using phase change materials (PCMs). To demonstrate this, mortar and concrete mixes were blended with microencapsulated PCM as part replacement of fine aggregates and assessed for improved thermal performance. Specimens with varying amount of microencapsulated PCM were tested using calorimetry, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetry (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), compressive strength and thermal conductivity. Results show that high specific surface of microencapsulated PCM particles has induced an acceleration of the cement hydration. However, the compressive strength at 28 days is still decreased when fine aggregates were substituted by PCM. Contrary to past observations, microencapsulated PCM is observed to remain intact in the cementitious matrices and contributed significantly to improve the heat capacity as well as to reduce the thermal conductivity of the mixes tested. A blend with 20%·v/v replacement was identified as the optimum PCM replacement.  
Keywords: Cement-based materials, Phase change materials, Heat capacity, Calorimetry, Thermogravimetry, Compressive strength

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