Microencapsulation of Bio-Based Phase Change Materials with Silica Coated Inorganic Shell for Thermal Energy Storage

Abdulmalik Ismail, Jingyi Zhou, Anastasia Aday, Isabel Davidoff, Adewale Odukomaiya, Jialai Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus Citations


This study investigates the use of cenospheres to encapsulate a low-cost, bio-based phase change material (PCM) derived from refined edible vegetable oil. Chemical etching was applied on the cenospheres to create holes through which melted PCM was loaded to produce a PCM microcapsule. Subsequently, a silica-based coating was applied to seal the perforations and prevent leakage of PCM from the microcapsule. Microstructural, chemical compatibility, thermal, and leakage properties of the produced silica coated PCM microcapsule (SCPCM) were assessed. No leakage was found for this new microcapsule, and higher thermal stability and conductivity were noted. Thermal decomposition of the PCM in SCPCM was delayed by about 16 °C attributable to the silica coating. An enhanced compressive strength performance was achieved at 10 vol% of sand replacement with SCPCM. 20–30 vol% replacement of sand with cenosphere microcapsules seems to be the optimal range for reasonable compressive strength. The workability of the mortar incorporated with SCPCM decreased when the replacement level increased to more than 30 vol% due to the hydrophilic nature of the silica deposit. This study has demonstrated the potential of cenospheres as inorganic shell for PCMs and the potential for incorporation of SCPCM into construction materials for thermal energy storage (TES).

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 105981
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
StatePublished - 15 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-85122


  • building envelope
  • cement
  • concrete
  • microencapsulated phase change materials
  • phase change materials
  • thermal energy storage


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