Thermal Properties of Polymer Blends
Phase change materials (PCM) are able to store an excessive amount of energy during a phase transition (e.g. melting). This isothermal effect is called latent heat storage and can be used as a novel way of storing energy for a large number of applications.
Today’s progressive population growth results in an increased demand for residential space, which requires large amounts of energy for thermal conditioning. An alternative choice to conventional thermal insulation is to use so-called phase change materials (PCM) for latent heat storage. Hereby, the material undergoes a phase transition, during which a large amount of energy is absorbed and stored by the material. At the same time, the temperature of the material itself remains more or less constant. This effect is already used in various products, such as in containers for transporting medical products, in functional clothing or to store industrial waste heat.
Although in theory each phase transition could be used to store energy, in practice, only the solid-liquid transition is used. This requires shape stabilization of the material beyond the melting temperature. The resulting PCM-stabilizer-system is called latent heat storage. One possible method to achieve this is to blend the PCM with a matrix material, which has a melting point well above the application temperature. Thereby the PCM, which is distributed in the matrix material, will not flow away even after it has already melted. Depending on the PCM, different polymers like PE, PP or PMMA are possible to be used as the matrix material.
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