This report describes an experimental investigation into the effect of electric current in reducing the supercooling of erythritol. Previous studies have identified erythritol as a prime material candidate for moderate temperature thermal energy storage (TES) systems due to its high latent heat of fusion and melting temperature (118°C), but it has also shown excessive supercooling, sometimes exceeding 65°C . Various methods for controlling or reducing supercooling are reviewed, including work by Shichiri and Hozumi showing that a small electric current passed through supercooled water is highly effective in initiating nucleation [2,3]. In the present study, the authors demonstrate a similar effect with erythritol by subjecting a sample to repeated thermal cycles with and without the application of a direct electric current. The control cases without electric current showed a highly variable recrystallization temperature ranging from 67°C to 109°C (or supercooling magnitudes from 9 to 51°C). Passing a direct current through the sample using silver wire electrodes significantly shifted the material’s nucleation behavior. The local nucleation temperature only varied from 108°C to 112°C (or 6–10°C of supercooling), and nucleation always occurred on the positive electrode surface. Control cases both before and after the electrical trials indicated no noticeable change in sample crystallization behavior.
- Heat Transfer Division
Electrical Supercooling Mitigation in Erythritol
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Jankowski, NR, & McCluskey, FP. "Electrical Supercooling Mitigation in Erythritol." Proceedings of the 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference. 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference, Volume 7. Washington, DC, USA. August 8–13, 2010. pp. 409-416. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IHTC14-22306
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