Technical Brief

Experimental Analysis of the Impact of Nanoinclusions and Surfactants on the Viscosity of Paraffin-Based Energy Storage Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
Rebecca Weigand, Kieran Hess

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Villanova University,
Villanova, PA 19085

Amy S. Fleischer

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
California Polytechnic State University,
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
e-mail: afleisch@calpoly.edu

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received August 2, 2017; final manuscript received June 28, 2018; published online August 3, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Debjyoti Banerjee.

J. Heat Transfer 140(11), 114502 (Aug 03, 2018) (6 pages) Paper No: HT-17-1444; doi: 10.1115/1.4040781 History: Received August 02, 2017; Revised June 28, 2018

Phase change materials (PCMs) are commonly used in many applications, including the transient thermal management of electronics. For many systems, paraffin-based PCMs are used with suspended nanoinclusions to increase their effective thermal conductivity. The addition of these materials can have a positive impact on thermal conductivity, but can also increase the viscosity in the liquid phase. In this paper, the impact of different nanoinclusions and surfactants on the dynamic viscosity of a common paraffin wax PCM is quantified in order to determine their suitability for thermal energy storage applications. The effect of the nanoparticles on the viscosity is found to be a function of the nanoparticle type with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) yielding the greatest increase in viscosity. The addition of both nanoparticle and surfactant to the base PCM is found to affect the viscosity even when the loading levels of the nanoparticles or surfactant alone are not enough to affect the viscosity, thus the combination must be carefully considered in any heat transfer application.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Rheogram of base paraffin PCM

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Temperature dependence of base paraffin viscosity

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Results of consecutive trial viscosities show that none of the materials are thixotropic. (a) Pure paraffin at 60 °C, (b) paraffin with 0.7 wt % HGNF at 60 °C, (c) paraffin with 0.1 wt % MWCNT at 60 °C, (d) paraffin with 0.1 wt % xGNP at 60 °C, and (e) 85% paraffin, 15% oleic acid with 0.2 wt % HGNF at 60 °C.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Impact of HGNF nanoparticle addition on the viscosity of the base paraffin as a function of temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Impact of xGNP nanoparticle addition on the viscosity of the base paraffin at 60 °C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Impact of MWCNT nanoparticle addition on the viscosity of the base paraffin

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Impact of type of particle—0.1 wt %

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Impact of surfactant addition on the viscosity of the base paraffin

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Impact of surfactant and nanoparticle addition on the viscosity of the base paraffin



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