Stabilized multifunctional phase change materials based on carbonized Cu-coated melamine foam/reduced graphene oxide framework for multiple energy conversion and storage

Research Background
Phase change materials (PCMs) are widely used in building temperature control, waste heat reuse and heat dissipation in electronic products due to their environmental friendliness and sustainability. Among the various types of PCMs, organic PCMs (OPCMs) such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) and paraffin wax have higher enthalpy of phase change, more suitable phase change temperature range, lower corrosiveness, non-toxicity and better thermal stability, and are therefore more commonly used than other types of PCMs. However, the low thermal conductivity and the tendency to leak above the melting point of OPCMs are serious impediments to their large-scale application. As a result, teams have conducted extensive research around these issues.


Article Introduction
Recently, a novel carbonized melamine foam/reduced graphene oxide coated copper network (MF/rGO/Cu-C) was prepared by Prof. Zou Yongjin and Prof. Sun Lixian’s group at Guilin University of Electronic Science and Technology for the construction of stable multifunctional OPCMs. PEG was chosen as the thermal storage material and the composite OPCMs (PEG@MF/rGO/Cu-C) were prepared in the article by vacuum impregnation. pEG@MF/rGO/Cu-C has a high melting enthalpy (148.3 J g-1) and crystallization enthalpy (143.9 J g-1). In addition, its thermal conductivity reached 0.4621 W m-1K-1, an improvement of 463% compared to PEG@MF. The composite OPCMs also exhibit excellent photo-thermal and electro-thermal conversion properties and therefore have potential for multi-disciplinary applications.


Graphic Analysis

  • the GO is loaded in the MF(melamine foam) 3D framework by solution impregnation to obtain the MF/GO network; then, the MF/GO is chemically copper plated and the GO is reduced simultaneously during the copper plating process to obtain MF/rGO/Cu; then, the MF/rGO/Cu network is carbonised at high temperature to obtain MF/rGO/Cu-C; finally, the PEG is vacuum impregnated by was loaded in MF/rGO/Cu-C to obtain PEG@MF/MF/rGO/Cu-C composite OPCMs.
  • The morphology of the material was observed using SEM. the templating action of MF resulted in MF/GO, MF/rGO/Cu and MF/rGO/Cu-C all having a similar 3D porous mesh structure. In addition, a successful loading of Cu particles can be observed from the SEM images.
  • The results of XRD, FT-IR and XPS analyses demonstrate the successful loading of copper particles and the successful reduction of GO.
  • The phase change behaviour of the OPCMs was investigated using DSC. The DSC curves of all composite OPCMs were similar to those of pure PEG, containing a melting peak and a crystallisation peak, indicating that the introduction of the carrier did not change the crystallisation behaviour of PEG. In addition, the introduction of rGO and Cu and the carbonisation treatment improved the thermal conductivity of the network.
  • PEG@MF/rGO/Cu-C has excellent photo- and electro-thermal conversion capabilities.


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