In the presented work, five bio-based and bio-degradable cyclic esters, i.e. lactones, have been investigated as possible phase change materials for applications in latent heat storage systems. Commercial natural lactones such as ε-caprolactone and γ-valerolactone were easily purchased through chemical suppliers, while 1,2-campholide, oxa-adamantanone and dibenzochromen-6-one were synthesized through Baeyer-Villiger oxidation. The compounds were characterized with respect to attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectroscopy, in order to confirm their chemical structures and identity. Subsequently, thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry were used to measure the phase change temperatures, enthalpies of fusion, degradation temperatures, as well to estimate the degree of supercooling. The lactones showed a wide range of phase change temperatures from −40 °C to 290 °C, making them a high interest for both low and high temperature latent heat storage applications, given the lack of organic phase change materials covering phase change temperature ranges below 0 °C and above 80 °C. However, low enthalpies of fusion, high degrees of supercooling and thermal degradations at low temperatures were registered for all samples, rendering them unsuitable as phase change materials.
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