Latent heat storage systems are gaining the attention of researchers as possible substitutes to conventional sensible heat storage systems due to their compactness and their ability to absorb and release heat almost isothermally. Among the Phase Change Materials (PCM) for energy storage studied so far, esters are believed to show promising properties. In particular, a broad range of melting temperatures, little to no supercooling, low corrosivity, chemical and thermal stability, and high enthalpies of fusion are reported. Many esters have the advantage of being bio-based and biodegradable, making them more sustainable in comparison to other popular PCM. Still, a clear lack of experimental data exists in regards to this class. In the present study, esters derived from saturated fatty carboxylic acids (myristic, palmitic, stearic, behenic), coupled with primary linear alcohols of different length (methanol, 1-decanol) were synthesized through Fischer esterification and their properties were investigated. Purities higher than 89% were obtained for all cases as proven by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. Additionally, the esters’ formation and reaction kinetics were characterized by attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy. The esters produced showed to possess relatively high enthalpies of fusion above 190 J/g and thermal stability over three repeated cycles with differential scanning calorimetry. The melting points measured ranged between 20 °C and 50 °C, therefore proving to be interesting candidates for low-medium temperature applications such as heating and cooling in buildings. A correlation could be observed between the chemical structure and melting point of the produced esters. Additionally, thermogravimetric analysis revealed a higher thermal resistance for esters with longer aliphatic chains in comparison to shorter-chained ones.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited