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Tailoring Carbon Nanotube Density for Modulating Electro-to-Heat Conversion in Phase Change Composites

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journal contribution
posted on 18.02.2016, 22:17 authored by Zhenpu Liu, Ruqiang Zou, Zhiqiang Lin, Xuchun Gui, Renjie Chen, Jianhua Lin, Yuanyuan Shang, Anyuan Cao
We report a carbon nanotube array-encapsulated phase change composite in which the nanotube distribution (or areal density) could be tailored by uniaxial compression. The n-eicosane (C20) was infiltrated into the porous array to make a highly conductive nanocomposite while maintaining the nanotube dispersion and connection among the matrix with controlled nanotube areal density determined by the compressive strains along the lateral direction. The resulting electrically conductive composites can store heat at driven voltages as low as 1 V at fast speed with high electro-to-heat conversion efficiencies. Increasing the nanotube density is shown to significantly improve the polymer crystallinity and reduce the voltage for inducing the phase change process. Our results indicate that well-organized nanostructures such as the nanotube array are promising candidates to build high-performance phase change composites with simplified manufacturing process and modulated structure and properties.