The Use of Eutectic Fe-Si-B Alloy as a Phase Change Material in Thermal Energy Storage Systems
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Fe-26.38Si-9.35B eutectic alloy is proposed as a phase change material (PCM) as it exhibits high latent heat, high thermal conductivity, moderate melting point, and low cost. For successful implementation of it in the latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) systems, we investigate the use of graphite as a refractory material that withstands long-term melting/solidification in contact with the Fe-26.38Si-9.35B alloy. The PCM has been thermally cycled up to 1–4 times below and above its melting point at the temperature interval of 20 °C or 100 °C. It is observed that this eutectic alloy shows good thermal stability over a small temperature range of 1057–1257 °C. Some SiC and B4C solid precipitation will be formed at the top of the alloy. However, it does not seem to increase with time. The graphite crucible as a refractory material will produce a protective layer of SiC and B4C that will hinder the interaction between the PCM and the crucible. The small volume change during solidification will not break the graphite crucible during cycling. The chemical wear or dissolution of the crucible is negligible. It demonstrates the viability of Fe-26.38Si-9.35B alloy as a heat storage material in this type of container.