(362a) Incorporation of a Phase Change Material into Fibers for Thermal Modulation and Energy Storage

Authors: 
Lively, R., Georgia Institute of Technology
Effective thermal modulation and storage is one of the most important issues for achieving energy-efficiency across all sectors. Phase change materials (PCM) can act as heat reservoirs by effectively storing or releasing massive amounts of heat during the phase change process (typically a solid-liquid transition). PCMs have been developed with a wide range of operating temperatures and integrated into various platforms such as building materials, gas sorbents/separators, and consumer products, among others. In this work, we fabricate polymer fibers that possess high loadings of PCMs to provide effective thermal modulation for several applications. Polymer fibers offer distinct benefits over other contenders since they can be solution processed and produced at enormous scales. We incorporate PCMs into various polymer dopes (e.g. cellulose acetate, polyethersulfone, etc), and PCM-polymer fibers are then spun via conventional solution-spinning processes. The thermal response behaviors of PCM-polymer fibers were analyzed by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and it was confirmed that there was no damage to PCMs during the fiber spinning and no degradation of PCM after several freeze/melt cycles. The actual loading amount of PCMs in fibers can be obtained up to 80 wt%, depending somewhat on the dimension of fibers. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) reveals that there is a trade-off between mechanical stability of PCM-polymer fiber and loading amount of PCMs, thus requiring optimization of the PCM loading to meet application-specific mechanical stability targets. We expect our engineered PCM-polymer fibers can be applied to a smart thermal energy storage material that enables effective heat management.