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Research Papers

Magnetically Assembling Nanoscale Metal Network Into Phase Change Material—Percolation Threshold Reduction in Paraffin Using Magnetically Assembly of Nanowires

[+] Author and Article Information
Junwei Su

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: junwei_su@student.uml.edu

Iman Mirzaee

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: iman_mirzaeekakhki@student.uml.edu

Fan Gao

Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: fan_gao@uml.edu

Xiao Liu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: xiao_liu1@student.uml.edu

Majid Charmchi

Mem. ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: majid_charmchi@uml.edu

Zhiyong Gu

Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: zhiyong_gu@uml.edu

Hongwei Sun

Mem. ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Massachusetts Lowell,
One University Avenue,
Lowell, MA 01854
e-mail: hongwei_sun@uml.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 26, 2014; final manuscript received September 15, 2014; published online December 10, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Hadi Ghasemi.

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med 5(3), 031005 (Aug 01, 2014) (5 pages) Paper No: NANO-14-1057; doi: 10.1115/1.4029161 History: Received August 26, 2014; Revised September 15, 2014; Online December 10, 2014

A high throughput manufacturing process to magnetically assembling nanowire (NW) network into paraffin was developed for enhancing conductivity in phase change materials (PCMs) used in energy storage applications. The prefabricated nickel NWs were dispersed in melted paraffin followed by magnetic alignment under a strong magnetic field. Measuring electrical conductivity of the nanocomposite, as well as observing cross section of the sample slice under an optical microscope characterized the alignment of NWs. As a comparison, nickel particles (NPs) based paraffin nanocomposites were also fabricated, and its electrical conductivity with and without applied magnetic field were measured. The effects of aspect ratio of fillers (particles and NWs) and volume concentration on percolation threshold were studied both experimentally and theoretically. It was found that the NW based paraffin nanocomposite has much lower percolation threshold compared to that of particle based paraffin composite. Furthermore, the alignment of particles and NWs under magnetic field significantly reduces the threshold of percolation. This work provides solid foundation for the development of a manufacturing technology for high thermal conductivity PCMs for thermal energy storage applications.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(a) Dependence of the DC conductivity (σdc) on the nickel nanofiller volume fraction in paraffin matrix at 25 °C. (b) pc versus L/R from experiments and the excluded volume analytical model.

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Fig. 4

Optical microscopic images of magnetic aligned NWs PCM sample with 0.1 vol. % volume ratio (magnetic direction is shown by arrows)

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Fig. 3

Schematic of nanoPCMs preparation process: (a) adding the NWs suspension into melted paraffin. (b) Ultrasonication of the mixture at 80 °C to obtain a uniform distribution of fillers. (c) Rapid solidification in water for randomly distributed NWs in PCMs. (d) Applying magnetic field to obtain align NWs in PCMs.

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Fig. 2

SEM images of (a) NPs and (b) nickel NWs

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Fig. 1

Schematic of NW synthesis process

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Fig. 6

Dependence of the DC conductivity (σdc) on the NPs volume fraction in paraffin matrix at 25 °C for random Ni NPs/paraffin system (•), and for magnetic aligned Ni NPs/paraffin system in parallel direction (⊲), and in perpendicular direction (□). The lines correspond to the best linear fitting.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Dependence of the DC conductivity (σdc) on the nickel NWs volume fraction in paraffin matrix at 25 °C for random Ni NWs/paraffin system (), and for magnetic aligned Ni NWs/paraffin system (⊲). The inset shows the log–log plot of σdc versus (p − pc). For the random Ni NWs/paraffin, pc = 2%. For the magnetic aligned Ni NWs/paraffin, pc = 1%. The lines correspond to the best linear fitting.

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