Testing large samples of PCM in water calorimeter and PCM used in room applications by night-air cooling

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: The latent-heat-storage capacity in Phase-Change Materials can be used for storing or releasing energy within a small temperature interval. Upon the phase transition taking place in a narrow temperature span, the material takes up or releases more energy compared to sensible heat storage. For an ideal phase-change material, the transition temperature is a single value, but for the most common phase-change materials on the market, used in building applications, the transition temperature is distributed within a temperature range of several degrees.Integration of phase-change materials in building applications can be effected in several ways, for example by impregnating phase-change materials into porous building materials like concrete, wallboards, bricks or complements of the building structure. Integrating storages filled with phase-change materials makes other implementations, for instance accumulating tanks or envelopes as presented in this thesis, in an air heat exchanger. An appropriate phasetransition temperature of the supposed application is critical to the functionality of the material. For example, in cooling applications, the transition temperature of the material should be a few degrees lower than the requested comfort temperature in the building, and the opposite for heating applications.In order to assess the thermal properties and the durability of the material, a watercalorimetric equipment was developed and employed in an accelerated testing programme. The heat capacity of the material and in particular possible change in the heat capacity over time, after thermal cycling of the material, were measured. In the thermal cycling of the material from solid to liquid phase, the temperature rise and required energy supply were recorded. The testing programme was undertaken according to control procedures and documents. In order to be able to utilize the heat-storage capacity in the best way, it is necessary to gain knowledge about thermal properties of the material, especially the long-term behaviour of the material and the deterioration rates of the thermal properties.A semi-full-scale air heat exchanger based on phase-change material was developed and tested under real temperature conditions during the summer of 2004. The test results were used to compare and verify computer simulations made on a similar plant. The air heat exchanger utilises the ambient diurnal temperature swing to charge and discharge the phasechange material. The material tested in the calorimeter and in the air heat exchanger has an estimated phase-change temperature of about 24 °C.

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