Phase Change Materials

Phase-change materials or PCM, including inorganic salts, organic materials or paraffin embedded in different melting temperatures, are materials that allow to accumulate considerable amounts of heat while maintaining a constant temperature.
To give an idea, this behavior can be useful (and used) for example in the building sector: in the summer season, it is possible to increase thermal inertia within an environment by accumulating during the heat day (to be returned to the outside environment during the night), while in the winter phase accumulated heat can be returned in indoor environments.



Laboratory activity is a key element during the designing phase of thermal storage systems with PCM. Considering that, there are several phase-change materials and each one has specific properties, knowledge of these features can only be developed through a specific laboratory analysis by apply the working conditions provided by the project. Only in this way it will be possible to formulate a reliable proposal to guarantee the best result required. The incubator 2i3t (link) laboratories at our hosts, located within the Faculty of Chemistry, allow us to adopt the best standards required by the processes being studied.



Applications in which PCMs can be used, and are used, are many and are also different, such as technical clothing requiring adequate thermal regulation, the cold logistics sector where the accumulation and thermal regulation ensures a more effective temperature control at temperatures other than ice; also in the building industry are increasing solutions that include PCMs to improve the thermal properties of building materials. Although many of the substances used as PCM have long been known, only in recent years have begun to be used for their peculiar physical and chemical characteristics. While maintaining interest in all possible PCM applications, our focus is mainly on the benefits that PCMs can bring to improve energy efficiency on plants and processes by exploiting the qualities of these recovery materials, accumulation and thermal regulation.