Solidification behavior and thermal conductivity of bulk sodium acetate trihydrate composites with thickening agents and graphite

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

469 Downloads (Pure)


Sodium acetate trihydrate is a promising phase change material for long term storage of solar thermal energy if supercooling is actively utilized. Well performing thermal energy storages need to be able to charge and discharge energy at a high rate. The relatively low thermal conductivity of the phase change material limits the heat exchange capacity rate to and from the storage. Another factor that limits the heat transfer is the contraction and expansion of the salt hydrate during the phase change. This density change causes formation of cavities inside the solid storage material. Investigations of the solidification behavior, the formation of cavities and thermal conductivity of composites based on sodium acetate trihydrate crystalizing with or without supercooling are presented in this paper. The thermal conductivity was measured with an ISOMET hot disc surface measurement probe. Samples that crystalized without supercooling tended to form solid crystals near the heat transfer surface and cavities away from the heat transfer surface. The measured thermal conductivity was up to 0.7 W/m K in solid sodium acetate trihydrate. Samples that crystalized from supercooled state formed fewer large cavities but had a lower thermal conductivity. A composite with sodium acetate trihydrate, thickening agent and 5% graphite flakes had a thermal conductivity of up to 1.1 W/m K.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Phase change material
  • Sodium acetate trihydrate
  • Solidification
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Supercooling
  • Thickening agent

Cite this