Determination of the enthalpy of PCM as a function of temperature using a heat-flux DSC - A study of different measurement procedures and their accuracy
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Thermal energy storage by latent heat allows storing high amounts of energy working in narrow margins of temperature. The use of phase change material (PCM) for the latent heat storage has been studied in different applications and it has been commercialized in containers to transport blood, products sensible to temperature, to decrease their energy demand. The use of PCM in cooling and refrigeration has been attracting a lot of interest lately, but for all applications, the properties of these materials need to be known with sufficient accuracy. Regarding heat storage, it is necessary to know the enthalpy as a function of temperature. The most widely used calorimeter is the heatflux differential scanning calorimetry (hf-DSC). The objective of this study is to investigate different methods for hf- DSC analysis, namely the dynamic method and the step method, and to test their accuracy in the determination of enthalpy–temperature relationship of PCM. For the dynamic method, a strong influence of heating/cooling rate was observed. For the step method, the resulting enthalpy–temperature relationship is independent of heating/cooling rate. Commercial PCM RT27 was chosen as sample material to avoid subcooling and kinetic effects in the test measurements. The approach introduced in this study can be used to carry out similar investigations for other classes of PCM and/or other DSC instruments.