Synthesis of three-dimensional graphene aerogel encapsulated n-octadecane for enhancing phase-change behavior and thermal conductivity
We prepared a series of three-dimensional graphene aerogel (3D-GA) encapsulated n-octadecane (OD) composite phase change materials (PCMs) through both solution and vacuum impregnation to ensure that a homogeneous dispersion of OD in the porous structure of 3D-GA was present. At the same time, we also investigated the micro-structure, thermal storage properties, and thermal conductivity of the composite PCMs. We used scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to demonstrate that OD was encapsulated effectively in the porous structure of 3D-GA and that the composite PCMs were prepared successfully. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results confirmed that the composite PCMs possess good phase change behavior, fast thermal-response rates and excellent thermal cycling stability. The melting enthalpy and crystallization enthalpy can reach 195.70 J g−1 and 196.67 J g−1, respectively, and have almost no change for 60 DSC thermal cycles. Temperature–time curves suggested that the composite PCMs have excellent thermal regulation properties, and their temperature can be maintained in the range of 21–27 °C for about 640 s in a heating procedure. Thermal conductivity analysis indicated that the thermal conductivities of the composite PCMs are improved significantly by the highly thermally conductive 3D-GA. All these results demonstrated that the composite PCMs possess good comprehensive properties that can be used widely in energy storage systems.