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In this module, the following topics will be covered: 1) the general concept of Phase Change Materials (PCM), 2) understand the applications of PCMs in sustainable energy, 3) recognize the uses of PCM for heating and cooling systems, 4) recognize the uses of PCM in buildings, 5) recognize the uses of PCM in transportation.

Learning objectives

After reading this module, students should be able to

  • learn the general concept of Phase Change Materials (PCM)
  • understand the applications of PCMs in sustainable energy
  • recognize the uses of PCM for heating and cooling systems
  • recognize the uses of PCM in buildings
  • recognize the uses of PCM in transportation


The growing demand for sustainable energy from consumers and industry is constantly changing. The highest demand of energy consumption during a single day brings a continuous and unsolved problem: how to maintain a consistent desired temperature in a sustainable way. Periods of extreme cold or warm weather are the triggering factors for increasing the demand on heating or cooling. Working hours, industry processes, building construction, operating policies, and type and volume of energy production facilities are some of the main reasons for peak demand crises. Better power generation management and significant economic benefit can be achieved if some of the peak load could be shifted to the off peak load period. This can be achieved by thermal storage for space heating and cooling purposes.

Thermal energy can be stored as a change in the internal energy of certain materials as sensible heat    , latent heat    or both. The most commonly used method of thermal energy storage is the sensible heat method, although phase change materials (PCM), which effectively store and release latent heat energy, have been studied for more than 30 years. Latent heat storage can be more efficient than sensible heat storage because it requires a smaller temperature difference between the storage and releasing functions. Phase change materials are an important and underused option for developing new energy storage devices, which are as important as developing new sources of renewable energy. The use of phase change material in developing and constructing sustainable energy systems is crucial to the efficiency of these systems because of PCM’s ability to harness heat and cooling energies in an effective and sustainable way.

Phase change materials for energy storage devices

Thermal storage based on sensible heat works on the temperature rise on absorbing energy or heat, as shown in the solid and liquid phases in Figure Temperature Profile of a PCM . When the stored heat is released, the temperature falls, providing two points of different temperature that define the storage and release functions. Phase change materials are conceptually different, however. They operate by storing energy at a constant temperature while phase change occurs, for example from solid to a liquid, as illustrated in the center of Figure Temperature Profile of a PCM . As heat is added to the material, the temperature does not rise; instead heat drives the change to a higher energy phase. The liquid, for example, has kinetic energy of the motion of atoms that is not present in the solid, so its energy is higher. The higher energy of the liquid compared to the solid is the latent heat . When the solid is fully transformed to liquid, added energy reverts to going into sensible heat and raising the temperature of the liquid.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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