Highly-conductive nano-sized particles are dispersed into phase change materials (PCM) to improve their effective thermal conductivity, thus leading to suspensions that are referred to as nanoparticle-enhanced PCM (NEPCM). In order to assess the extent of expedited phase change due to the enhanced thermal conductivity, the one-dimensional unidirectional freezing process of NEPCM in a finite slab was investigated experimentally. Thermocouple readings were recorded at several equally-spaced locations along the freezing direction in order to monitor the progress of the freezing front. As an example, cyclohexane (C6H12) and copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles were chosen to develop the NEPCM with three different volume fractions (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 vol%). It was shown that the freezing rate for the 0.5 vol% NEPCM is considerably raised as compared to pure cyclohexane. However, further increase of the fraction of nanoparticles to 1.0 and 2.0 vol% did not linearly expedite freezing. Significant sedimentation of nanoparticles was observed for the 2.0 vol% NEPCM. Additionally, in this case the undesirable supercooling phenomenon was enhanced, which suppresses the growth rate of the solidified NEPCM.

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