Latent heat storage (LHS) technology employing phase change materials (PCMs) has received great attention as an alternative to conventional solid sensible heat storage (SHS) for future high-temperature energy utilisation systems. In this study, we report the synthesis of a core-shell type microencapsulated PCM (MEPCM) consisting of Al-25 wt% Si microspheres (mean diameter of 36.3 μm and melting temperature of 577 °C) as the core (PCM) and Al2O3 as the shell. The MEPCM was prepared in two steps involving (1) the formation of an AlOOH precursor shell on the PCM microspheres by a hydroxide precipitation process in hot water and (2) heat-oxidation treatment in an O2 atmosphere to form a stable Al2O3 shell. In particular, the effects of heat-oxidation temperature on the shell morphology, shell crystal structure, mechanical strength, heat capacity, and cyclic durability of the prepared MEPCMs were examined. The resultant MEPCM is composed of a stable α-Al2O3 shell and Al-25 wt% Si core with an effective void inside the core to allow for volume expansion of the PCMs during solid-liquid phase transitions. The heat capacity measured for this material is five times higher than that of conventional solid SHS materials. Additionally, the MEPCM exhibits excellent durability up to 300 heating and cooling cycles under oxygen atmosphere. Consequently, it can potentially be used in the next-generation LHS-based high-temperature thermal energy storage and transportation systems.
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