13.05.2024 by Aileen Sammler

How to Determine the Thermophysical Properties of Energy Storage Materials

The AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (https://www.ait.ac.at/) is Austria’s largest non-university research institution. With its seven Centers, AIT regards itself as a highly specialized research and development partner for industry, and concerns itself with the key infrastructure topics of the future. This article is a field report by Dr. Daniel Lager, Research Engineer for Sustainable Thermal Energy Systems at the Center for Energy, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.

The thermophysics laboratory as an accredited testing laboratory (EN ISO/IEC 17025) in the Center for Energy at AIT offers measurements of thermal characteristics of materials, processes and products as well as determinations of thermophysical properties and transition parameters with its high-quality and specific laboratory infrastructure and many years of experience. 

The thermophysical properties analyzed include Thermal ConductivityThermal conductivity (λ with the unit W/(m•K)) describes the transport of energy – in the form of heat – through a body of mass as the result of a temperature gradient (see fig. 1). According to the second law of thermodynamics, heat always flows in the direction of the lower temperature.thermal conductivity λ(T), Thermal DiffusivityThermal diffusivity (a with the unit mm2/s) is a material-specific property for characterizing unsteady heat conduction. This value describes how quickly a material reacts to a change in temperature.thermal diffusivity a(T), Specific Heat Capacity (cp)Heat capacity is a material-specific physical quantity, determined by the amount of heat supplied to specimen, divided by the resulting temperature increase. The specific heat capacity is related to a unit mass of the specimen.specific heat capacity cp(T), thermal expansion ΔL(T)/L0, coefficient of thermal expansion Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion (CLTE/CTE) The coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) describes the length change of a material as a function of the temperature.CTE α(T), and DensityThe mass density is defined as the ratio between mass and volume. density ρ(T) in a temperature range from -180°C to 1600°C. In addition to the thermophysical properties, simultaneous thermal analysis with infrared and mass spectrometry is used to determine characteristic temperatures, enthalpy differences and mass changes as well as to identify evolved gases.

Read the latest field report by Dr. Daniel Lager, Research Engineer for Sustainable Thermal Energy Systems at the Center for Energy, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, about different measurement methodologies for thermophysical properties of energy storage materials.

Dr. Daniel Lager

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Dr. Daniel Lager
Research Engineer for Sustainable Thermal Energy Systems at the Center for Energy at AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

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