Polyalcohols such as neopentyl glycol (NPG) undergo solid-state crystal transformations that absorb/release significant latent heat. These solid–solid phase change materials (PCM) can be used in practical thermal management applications without concerns about liquid leakage and thermal expansion during phase transitions. In this paper, microcapsules of NPG encapsulated in silica shells were successfully synthesized with the use of emulsion techniques. The size of the microcapsules range from 0.2 to 4 μm, and the thickness of the silica shell is about 30 nm. It was found that the endothermic phase transition of these NPG-silica microcapsules was initiated at around 39 °C and the latent heat was about 96.0 J/g. A large supercooling of about 43.3 °C was observed in the pure NPG particles without shells, while the supercooling of the NPG microcapsules was reduced to about 14 °C due to the heterogeneous nucleation sites provided by the silica shell. These NPG microcapsules were added to the heat transfer fluid PAO to enhance its heat capacity and the effective heat capacity of the fluid was increased by 56% with the addition of 20 wt. % NPG-silica microcapsules.

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