Enhancement of heat transfer for thermal energy storage application using stearic acid nanocomposite with multi-walled carbon nanotubes

Ting Xian Li, Ju Hyuk Lee, Ru Zhu Wang, Yong Tae Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


A latent heat storage nanocomposite made of stearic acid (SA) and multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) is prepared for thermal energy storage application. The thermal properties of the SA/MWCNT nanocomposite are characterized by SEM (scanning electron microscopy) and DSC (differential scanning calorimeter) analysis techniques, and the effects of different volume fractions of MWCNT on the heat transfer enhancement and thermal performance of stearic acid are investigated during the charging and discharging phases. The SEM analysis shows that the additive of MWCNT is uniformly distributed in the phase change material of stearic acid, and the DSC analysis reveals that the melting point of SA/MWCNT nanocomposite shifts to a lower temperature during the charging phase and the freezing point shifts to a higher temperature during the discharging phase when compared with the pure stearic acid. The experimental results show that the addition of MWCNT can improve the thermal conductivity of stearic acid effectively, but it also weakens the natural convection of stearic acid in liquid state. In comparison with the pure stearic acid, the charging rate can be decreased by about 50% while the discharging rate can be improved by about 91% respectively by using the SA/5.0% MWCNT nanocomposite. It appears that the MWCNT is a promising candidate for enhancing the heat transfer performance of latent heat thermal energy storage system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-761
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun 15
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the financial support from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea under the grant No. 20100029120 and the Natural Science Foundation of China under the contract No. 51276211 .


  • Heat transfer
  • Multi-walled carbon nanotube
  • Nanocomposite
  • Stearic acid
  • Thermal energy storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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