Constrained melting of graphene-based phase change nanocomposites inside a sphere

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In the present work, the melting behavior of a fatty acid-based phase change material (PCM) with the addition of functionalized graphene nanoplatelets in a spherical capsule was experimentally studied. The fatty acid-based PCM (OM 08) has been selected for the air-conditioning application with a phase change temperature of 8 °C. The PCM-based nanocomposite samples were prepared by covalent functionalization method. The volume percentage of the functionalized graphene nanoplatelets varied from 0.1 to 0.5% with an increment of 0.1%. The thermal conductivity and rheological properties of the PCM nanocomposites were measured experimentally by transient hot wire method and rheometer, respectively. The maximum enhancement in thermal conductivity for 0.5 vol% of graphene nanoplatelets was found to be ~ 102%. The rheological test found that the addition of graphene nanoplatelets in the PCM resulted in the transition of Newtonian behavior to non-Newtonian behavior at lower shear rates. The viscosity of the PCM nanocomposites increases with volume fraction. Initially the pure PCM and PCM nanocomposites were solidified individually in a spherical capsule at different bath temperatures of 2 °C and − 10 °C. Then the solidified samples were kept in a constant temperature bath at 31 °C, and the melting characteristics were studied. The melting time of the PCM nanocomposite was reduced significantly with the addition of 0.5 vol% of graphene nanoplatelets by ~ 26% and ~21% for the PCM initial temperature of − 10 °C and 2 °C, respectively.

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Carbon nanohorns


Carbon nanotubes


Graphene nanoplatelet


Graphene nanosheet


Heat transfer fluid


Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning


Mobile air-conditioning


Phase change material


Resistance temperature detector


Thermal energy storage

C :

Consistency index

c p :

Specific heat (kJ kg−1 K−1)

E :


h :

Latent heat of fusion (kJ kg−1)

k :

Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)

m :

Mass of the PCM in a sphere (mL)

m :

Flow behavior index

t :

Time (min)

T :

Temperature (°C)

ρ :

Density (kg m−3)

μ :

Dynamic viscosity (Pa s)

γ :

Shear rate (s−1)

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5:

Temperature measuring locations

b :


l :


p :


s :



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The authors acknowledge the Centre for Research, Anna University, for providing Anna Centenary Research Fellowship (ACRF) (Ref. No. CFR/ACRF/2015/4, Dated 21.01.2015) toward this doctoral-level research.

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Correspondence to Dhasan Mohan Lal.

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Prabakaran, R., Prasanna Naveen Kumar, J., Mohan Lal, D. et al. Constrained melting of graphene-based phase change nanocomposites inside a sphere. J Therm Anal Calorim 139, 941–952 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10973-019-08458-4

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  • Melting heat transfer
  • Nanoenhanced phase change material
  • Fatty acids
  • Graphene nanoplatelets
  • Cold thermal energy storage
  • Spherical capsule