Selection of phase change material for solar thermal storage application: a comparative study

  • Onkar A. Babar
  • Vinkel K. AroraEmail author
  • Prabhat K. Nema
Technical Paper


The study of five paraffin waxes and wood resin was carried out to investigate their thermo-physical properties. The investigation aimed at selection of a phase change material (PCM), for its potential use as a thermal energy reservoir (TER) in a fabricated solar dryer. Differential scanning calorimeter was used to determine the melting point, solidification point, latent heat of fusion and solidification of these PCM. The T-history analysis was carried out to determine the effective thermal conductivity and specific heat in liquid and solid states. Bulk density of these PCMs was determined using standard pycnometer method. A comparative analysis was done for the selection, and PW1 was selected among the paraffin waxes, while wood resin was rejected. The selected PCM was used in the flat plate collector of solar dryer to identify the thermal zones and to validate its capability as a TER. Maximum temperature achieved at outlet of flat plate collector was 50 °C. The temperature profile built in different zones was determined with and without using PCM. It was found that after 18:00 IST evening, the average flat plate collector chamber temperature with PCM PW1 was found to be 23.5% higher than that without using PCM.


Paraffin Differential scanning calorimetry T-history Thermal energy reservoir Energy storage 

List of symbols


Area across which heat is being transferred (m2)

A1, A2, A3

Areas under cooling curve of PCM (m2)

A1′, A2′, A3′

Areas under standard cooling curve of distilled water (m2)


Specific heat (J/kg K)


Specific heat of PCM in liquid state (J/kg K)


Specific heat of PCM in solid state (J/kg K)


Specific heat of glass tube (J/kg K)


Specific heat of distilled water (J/kg K)


Coefficient of convective heat transfer from glass tube to water during cooling of PCM


Effective thermal conductivity (W/m2 K)


Effective thermal conductivity of glass


Length of glass tube


Mass of sinker (kg)


Mass of PCM sample (kg)


Mass of apparent mass of water (kg)


Mass of glass tube (kg)


Mass of distilled water (kg)


Liquid nitrogen


Internal radius of glass tube

T1 to T8

Places of sensors installation


Time required for cooling of PCM


Thermal history


Melting point/temperature of sample (°C)


Onset of melting temperature (°C)


Onset of solidification temperature (°C)


Peak of melting temperature (°C)


Peak of solidification temperature (°C)


Solidification point/temperature of sample (°C)


Reference temperature of cooling water


Volume of sinker (m3)

Greek letters


Latent heat of fusion (kJ/kg)


Latent heat of solidification (kJ/kg)


Bulk density of PCM in liquid state (kg/m3)


Bulk density of PCM in solid state (kg/m3)


Bulk density of glass (kg/m3)



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Copyright information

© The Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Onkar A. Babar
    • 1
  • Vinkel K. Arora
    • 1
    Email author
  • Prabhat K. Nema
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food EngineeringNational Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and ManagementKundli, SonepatIndia

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