Thermal performance enhancement of eutectic PCM laden with functionalised graphene nanoplatelets for an efficient solar absorption cooling storage system

The present work investigates the thermal enhancement of a binary eutectic phase change material (PCM) (150–200 °C), laden with different concentrations of COOH-functionalized Graphene nanoplatelets (f-GNP) for a multi-effect solar cooling thermal storage system. The novel nano-composite is prepared by varying the weight concentration of f-GNP from 1% to 5% in a pristine eutectic salt of LiNO3-KCl (50:50) using the standard nano synthesis protocol. The microstructure, dispersion uniformity are evaluated using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and thermophysical properties of the nano-composite are characterized using dynamic Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The thermal conductivity enhancement due to the doping of f-GNP is studied through a series of experimental trials conducted with Laser flash analysis (LFA). The obtained data is plotted and compared with a more robust theoretical thermal conductivity model. It is found that thermal conductivity rises by 104% with f-GNP dispersions, which reflects the improved thermal performance of the storage system. The specific heats of the solid and liquid phase show an increase of 80% & 38% respectively at f-GNP concentration of 5%. Finally, the effect of doping f-GNP on the conjugate heat transfer inside the PCM and fluid flow of HTF is investigated in a vertical shell and tube type storage system, suitable for the double effect solar cooling system. The f-GNP dispersions accelerate the heat storage process with a maximum decrease of 17.3% in the total melt duration. In addition, the role of increased viscosity on the natural convection is simultaneously studied with the increased thermal conduction due to nanoplatelets dispersions.

Faculty Associated

Prof. Dibakar Rakshit

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