Polyurethane/graphite nano-platelet composites for thermal energy storage

Highlights

Polyurethane-based PCMs with solid-solid phase transition were obtained.

The highest heat of phase transition was found for PU modified with 0.3% GNP.

GNP in small amounts act as nucleating agents for polymer chains.

Modification by GNP cause an increase in thermal stability and conductivity.

Abstract

In this work new polyurethane-based phase change materials containing segments of poly(ethylene glycol) with average molar mass of 8000 g/mol with and without chain extender and modified with graphite nano-platelets have been fabricated and characterized. Structure, morphology and phase behaviour of these solid-solid phase change materials were investigated, as well as the thermal stability and conductivity. The heat of phase transition was in the range of 118.0–164.5 J/g for polyurethane without chain extender and 128.0–148.5 J/g for polyurethane with chain extender. The highest heat of phase transition and crystallinity were found for system modified with 0.3% of graphite nano-platelets in polyurethane without chain extender. Modulated differential scanning calorimetry results showed some changes in the phase transition behaviour and the crystallinity of the polyurethane matrix due to graphite nano-platelets confinement effect. Enhancements in the thermal stability in polyurethane modified with graphite nano-platelets, attributed to the barrier effect, were found based on thermogravimetric analysis data. The thermal conductivity increased with an increase of graphite nano-platelets content for both polyurethane systems, with and without chain extender, which is important for modern thermal energy storage applications.

Keywords

  • Phase change materials;
  • Polyurethanes;
  • Graphite nano-platelets;
  • Thermal energy storage

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