University unveils nanoparticle secrets

An ongoing project at Texas A&M University, under a programme led from the University of Texas at El Paso, is aiming to uncover how nanoparticles can make an outsized contribution to enhancing the heat capacity of molten salts.

Researchers have carried out modelling that shows how molten salt forms an ice cap around nanoparticles, inducing phase transitions that increase the net specific heat capacities by up to a 100 per cent or more than would be expected.

Previous models that just considered the specific heat capacities of the molten salt and nanoparticle compounds could not account for the increase observed in experiments, Dr Debjyoti Banerjee, associate professor at Texas A&M, told Energy Storage Report.

The research will be presented in a University of Texas at El Paso next month at the ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress in Houston and has big implications for thermal energy storage systems.

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