Mumbai – While polyurethane foam is routinely used as insulation for cold storage, it lacks thermal energy storage capabilities. Now, a team at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai has found a way to confer this property on the foam in addition to its ability to insulate.
First, they carried carrying out an oil-in-water polymerisation of the phase-changing material n-pentadecane with (methyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid). They then incorporated the resulting microcapsules into the formulation for the PU foam to create a composite.
The phase change enthalpy increased with the loading of microcapsules, with 45J/g at 10% and 60J/g at 30%. And the thermal properties remained after 100 thermal cycling tests.
The enhanced thermal energy storage capacity of the PU composite foam was confirmed by fabricating and testing a prototype. They suggested that the system has potential in cold energy storage applications.
The work has been published in the journal Polymer Bulletin.