This research aimed to evaluate the thermal properties of new formulations of phase change materials (PCMs)-epoxy composites, containing a thickening agent and a thermally conductive phase. The composite specimens produced consisted of composites fabricated using (a) inorganic PCMs (hydrated salts), epoxy resins and aluminum particulates or (b) organic PCM (paraffin), epoxy resins, and copper particles. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) was used to analyze the thermal behavior of the samples, while hardness measurements were used to determine changes in mechanical properties at diverse PCM and conductive phase loading values. The results indicate that the epoxy matrix can act as a container for the PCM phase without hindering the heat-absorbing behavior of the PCMs employed. Organic PCMs presented reversible phase transformations over multiple cycles, an advantage that was lacking in their inorganic counterparts. The enthalpy of the organic PCM-epoxy specimens increased linearly with the PCM content in the matrix. The use of thickening agents prevented phase segregation issues and allowed the fabrication of specimens containing up to 40% PCM, a loading significantly higher than others reported. The conductive phase seemed to improve the heat transfer and the mechanical properties of the composites when present in low percentages (<10 wt %); however, given its mass, the enthalpy detected in the composites was reduced as their loading further increased. The conductive phase combination (PCM + epoxy resin + hardener + thickening agent) presents great potential as a heat-absorbing material at the temperatures employed.
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