Processing of Phase Change Materials by Fused Deposition Modeling: Toward Efficient Thermal Energy Storage Designs

Paramjot Singh, Adewale Odukomaiya, Matthew Smith, Anastasia Aday, Shuang Cui, Allison Mahvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


Recently, several efforts have emerged that employ additive manufacturing techniques to integrate phase change material (PCM) thermal energy storage into geometrically complex designs for advanced thermal management. In this work, we contribute to this emerging research by reporting on the production of a composite nylon-based filament for fused deposition modeling incorporating encapsulated PCMs for 3D printing heat sink geometries. Microencapsulated PCM (MEPCM) with a 6 °C transition temperature was selected as the material for thermal energy storage. This transition temperature was selected due to its suitability to provide thermal energy storage to target air-conditioning applications in buildings. In an attempt to improve the thermal conductivity of the composite, fine boron nitride fillers were added, although the effect on improvement was found to be negligible in the overall composite mixture. The nylon-MEPCM ratio in the filaments was optimized, and filaments containing up to 40 wt% MEPCM were successfully synthesized, which were found optimal for 3D printing complex heat sink and other geometries. Thermal and mechanical properties of the filaments were characterized, including latent heat of fusion, thermal conductivity, phase change temperature, tensile strength, and more. Thermal infrared imaging of heat sink geometries printed using the MEPCM filaments undergoing thermal discharging was also conducted. This work presents the most promising result to date in the open literature for a 3D-printed PCM composite in the combination of size, energy density, and geometric complexity of printed parts.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105581
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
Issue numberPart B
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-82022


  • Composite filament
  • Fused deposition modeling
  • Phase change material
  • Polymer heat exchanger
  • Thermal energy storage


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