In this work, polyurethane (PU) insulating panels containing different amounts of a microencapsulated paraffin with a nominal melting temperature of 24 °C, used as phase change material (PCM), were produced. The resulting panels behaved as multifunctional materials able to thermally insulate and simultaneously storing/releasing thermal energy near room temperature. The panels were characterized from a microstructural, thermal and mechanical point of view. Viscosity measurements highlighted an increase in the viscosity values of the PU liquid precursors due to the addition of the capsules, and this could lead to some difficulties during the production stages, especially in the mixing and foaming phases. From optical microscopy micrographs and density measurements, it was observed that the introduction of paraffin tended to destroy the cellular structure of PU foams, and for PCM contents above 30 mass/% the foams were characterized by an open-cell morphology. SEM observations showed that PCM was preferentially distributed in the cell walls intersection, and a rather limited interfacial adhesion between capsules and PU could be detected. Thermogravimetric analysis evidenced that the introduction of the PCM tended to increase the degradation resistance of the foams, while from differential scanning calorimetry tests it was possible to conclude that PCM addition was able to impart good thermal energy storage properties to the foams, with specific melting enthalpy values of 70 J g−1 for a microcapsules concentration of 50 mass/%. As expected, thermal conductivity (λ) of the foams increased with PCM amount, but this enhancement was not directly related to the higher λ of the PCM itself, but rather than to the cell opening effect promoted by the PCM introduction. The microcapsules addition progressively increased the stiffness of the foams, reducing the failure properties both under quasi-static and impact conditions. Moreover, the mechanical properties were strongly affected by the testing temperature (i.e. the physical state of the wax contained in the microcapsules).
|Numero di pagine||17|
|Rivista||Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2022|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes