Innovations in Thermal Conductivity Characterization of Phase Change Materials

Phase change materials (PCMs) have the capacity to store and release large amounts of energy by changing their physical state. They can be used for instance to minimize the need of air conditioning and heating: incorporated into walls of buildings, they absorb heat when outside temperature is high and release it when temperature decreases. PCMs can see application in the bedding industry where they are being used to keep people comfortable as they sleep by stabilizing their body temperature. PCMs are also used in capturing the residual heat from exothermic reaction in industry as a source of energy. The most widespread application of PCMs is in the field of electronics, where they are used to stabilize battery temperature and enhance heat sink performance.

In all cases, thermal conductivity is an often-overlooked key performance indicator of the material: Thermal conductivity affects the thermal inertia of the PCM and therefore its cycling efficiency. A PCM with a high heat of phase change but very low thermal conductivity – such as many classical PCMs including paraffin – will be limited in its application due to its poor kinetic performance, as the heat transfer to the interior of the PCM will be very slow. This limits the PCM’s ability to quickly respond to changes in the environment and react to stabilize the temperature. Join Sarah Ackermann and Adam Harris to discuss PCMs and how to measure their thermal conductivity.

This webinar will be of particular interest to any researchers working with phase change materials.

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