Development of new inorganic shape stabilized phase change materials with LiNO3 and LiCl salts by sol-gel method


Latent heat storage with inorganic salts as phase change materials (PCM) is very attractive as these compounds can store a large amount of heat within a small temperature range in a small volume. However, subcooling, phase segregation, and low cycling stability are present in these materials, affecting its applications. One of the ways to reduce or eliminate these disadvantages is to encapsulate or stabilize the inorganic salts. In this work, one-step sol–gel technique was used to create new shape stabilized PCM (SS-PCM) with SiO2 as support material. Four pure salts, LiCl, LiNO3, LiCO3, and CH3COOLi·2H2O, were investigated to evaluate the potential of this sol–gel method, usually used with organic PCM, to obtain inorganic SS-PCM. IR spectroscopy confirmed the polymerization process during the sol–gel process, and show that no chemical reaction occurs between PCM and SiO2 support material, except for Li2CO3. XRD patterns for high salt content (60%) samples show occurrence of salt agglomerations. In addition, the water molecules loss for CH3COOLi·H2O during sol–gel process was observed in SS-PCM. The thermophysical characterization by DSC show that LiCl and LiNO3 properties were improved due to sol gel process, exhibiting higher cycling stability and lower subcooling value than the pure salts. The LiNO3 and LiCl SS-PCM present potential thermal energy storage applications. However, CH3COOLi·H2O and Li2CO3 did not demonstrate potential to be used as PCM under the studied condition.


  • Latent heat storage with inorganic salts as phase change materials is attractive.

  • Phase change materials present subcooling and phase segregation.

  • Encapsulating or stabilizing of inorganic salts avoid these disadvantages.

  • One-step sol-gel technique was successfully used to create new shape stabilized PCM.

  • SiO2 was a support material with LiCl, LiNO3, Li2CO3, CH3COOLi·2H2O as PCM.

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Scheme 1
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Fig. 12



Phase c hange materials


Shape stabilized phase change materials


Thermogravimetry and differential scanning calorimetry


Scanning electron microscopy and energy‐dispersive X‐ray


Fourier transform infrared




X-ray diffraction


Thermal energy storage


Latent heat storage


Concentrating solar power plants


Support material


Lithium based shape stabilized phase change materials


Tetraethyl ortosilicate

No. cycles:

Number of cycles

Tonset and Tendset :

Initial and final temperature of phase change, respectively

R L :

Latent storage range

ΔH :

Latent heat enthalpy

% ΔH :

Reduction of latent heat enthalpy


PCM latent heats


SS-PCM latent heats

Tm [°C]:

Melting point in Celsius degree

Ts [°C]:

Solidification point in Celsius degree

ΔHm :

Melting latent heat

ΔHs :

Solidification latent heat

Q total :

Total involved heat (sensible and latent)

Cps and Cpl:

Heat capacities of solid and liquid materials, respectively

ΔT :

A range of 100 °C with the melting point of each material in the middle

E density :

Energy density

ρ :



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The authors acknowledge CONICYT/FONDAP No. 15110019 and CONICYT/FONDECYT/REGULAR/ No. 1170675. Y.E. Milián also wants to thank for his CONICYT 2015 No. 21150240 doctorate scholarship and ANT1885 and INGENIERIA2030 CORFO 16ENI2-71940 projects.

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Correspondence to Svetlana Ushak.

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Milián, Y.E., Reinaga, N., Grágeda, M. et al. Development of new inorganic shape stabilized phase change materials with LiNO3 and LiCl salts by sol-gel method. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol 94, 22–33 (2020).

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  • Sol–gel process
  • Shape stabilized phase change materials
  • lLithium chloride
  • Llithium nitrate
  • Thermal energy storage