Kelly Chou Rose Hills
Nanoconfined Phase Change Materials for Aqueous Thermal Management
Over 40% of U.S. freshwater withdrawals are used for the generation of thermoelectric power: more than the amount withdrawn for agricultural irrigation and domestic use combined. Such high water demand can largely be attributed to waters critical role as an industrial coolant. Phase change materials can greatly decrease the volume of water required to cool thermoelectric power generators. PCMs work by absorbing heat through a phase transition, and can greatly increase the heat capacity of water. Sugar alcohols, like erythritol, are ideal phase change materials because they are cheap, widely available, non-toxic, and have very high latent heats. The Urban Group has developed a novel composite phase change material that is composed of sugar alcohols contained within the pores of metal organic framework. Their confinement within the MOF has been observed to depress their phase transition temperature by ~90C, making their use in cooling waters possible. The focus of my project this summer will be to understand the factors that influence the depression of phase transition temperature in nanoconfined sugar alcohols.