Applied Sciences (Jan 2019)

Analysis of Bio-Based Fatty Esters PCM’s Thermal Properties and Investigation of Trends in Relation to Chemical Structures

  • Rebecca Ravotti,
  • Oliver Fellmann,
  • Nicolas Lardon,
  • Ludger J. Fischer,
  • Anastasia Stamatiou,
  • Jörg Worlitschek

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2
p. 225


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As global energy demand increases while primary sources and fossil fuels’ availability decrease, research has shifted its focus to thermal energy storage systems as alternative technologies able to cover for the mismatch between demand and supply. Among the different phase change materials available, esters possess particularly favorable properties with reported high enthalpies of fusion, low corrosivity, low toxicity, low supercooling, thermal and chemical stability as well as biodegradability and being derived from renewable feedstock. Despite such advantages, little to no data on the thermal behavior of esters is available due to low commercial availability. This study constitutes a continuation of previous works from the authors on the investigation of fatty esters as novel phase change materials. Here, methyl, pentyl and decyl esters of arachidic acid, and pentyl esters of myristic, palmitic, stearic and behenic acid are synthesized through Fischer esterification with high purities and their properties are studied. The chemical structures and purities are confirmed through Attenuated Total Reflectance Infrared Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectroscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, while the determination of the thermal properties is performed through Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Thermogravimetric Analysis. In conclusion, some correlations between the melting temperatures and the chemical structures are discovered, and the fatty esters are assessed based on their suitability as phase change materials for latent heat storage applications.