Skip to main content

Ceramic encapsulated metal phase change material for high temperature thermal energy storage...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Applied Thermal Engineering
Publication Date
Page Numbers
115003 to 4311

Thermal energy storage (TES) is a broad-based technology for reducing CO2 emissions and advancing concentrating solar, fossil, and nuclear power through improvements in efficiency and economics. Phase change materials (PCMs) are of interest as TES media because of their ability to store large amounts of heat in relatively small volumes. The volume expansion during a phase change, typically between a solid and liquid, can cause breakage of protective coatings. This effort reports on the fabrication of a ceramic encapsulated metal (CEM) high temperature TES technology using a rotary calcining furnace and a fluidized bed chemical vapor deposition coating technique. Aluminum beads were chosen as the PCM because Al has a high melting point (660 °C), low cost, high heat of fusion, and an ability to form a thin, strong alumina layer capable of supporting the Al melt for subsequent processing. Quite remarkably, this study shows that 1 mm diameter Al can be fluidized up to at least 1500 °C in an appropriate atmosphere while maintaining a spheroid geometry. This allowed for producing a first of a kind CEM whereby Al particles were encapsulated in pyro-carbon (PyC) and high purity, dense chemical vapor deposited SiC. The CEM with a PyC only coating was exposed to thermal cycling to test the performance with a differential scanning calorimeter; the melting point and latent heat were measured to be 648.4 ± 2.8 °C and 293.3 ± 6.2 J/g respectively. It was demonstrated that the CEM design is possible to produce, laying the foundation for manufacturing of high temperature, tunable, TES media.