Cooling power and characteristic times of composite heatsinks and insulants Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Thermal energy storage materials for transient thermal management applications must exhibit large energy storage densities as well as large cooling/heating power densities. The latter property has proven difficult to quantify on a materials basis because it depends on extrinsic effects. Here, we apply a previously defined cooling power figure of merit, a measure of a material's intrinsic capacity to absorb a transient heat pulse, to analyze composite phase change material heatsinks and insulants. The results demonstrate important limits on the effects of high- and low-conductivity component volume fractions, orientations, and the critical lengthscales of individual components. Champion composites are predicted to have up to 5 times greater figure of merit than pure high-conductivity materials and up to 30 times greater figure of merit than pure phase change materials. Furthermore, composites consisting of insulating materials containing dispersed phase change materials are predicted to exhibit an order of magnitude increase in their characteristic response time. These results demonstrate the utility of the cooling power figure of merit to design compact high power and energy density heatsink and insulant materials.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer

author list (cited authors)

  • Shamberger, P. J., & Fisher, T. S.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM