Self-Healing Phase Change Salogels with Tunable Gelation Temperature. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chemically cross-linked polymer matrices have demonstrated strong potential for shape stabilization of molten phase change materials (PCM). However, they are not designed to be fillable and removable from a heat exchange module for an easy replacement with new PCM matrices and lack self-healing capability. Here, a new category of shapeable, self-healing gels, "salogels", is introduced. The salogels reversibly disassemble in a high-salinity environment of a fluid inorganic PCM [lithium nitrate trihydrate (LNH)], at a preprogrammed temperature. LNH was employed as a high latent heat PCM and simultaneously as a solvent, which supported the formation of a network of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) chains via physical cross-linking through poly(amidoamine) dendrimers of various generations. The existence of hydrogen bonding and the importance of low-hydration state of PVA for the efficient gelation were experimentally confirmed. The thermal behavior of PCM salogels was highly reversible and repeatable during multiple heating/cooling cycles. Importantly, the gel-sol transition temperature could be precisely controlled within a range of temperature above LNH's melting point by the choice of dendrimer generation and their concentration. Shape stabilization and self-healing properties of the salogels, taken together with tunability of their temperature-induced fluidization make these materials attractive for thermal energy storage applications that require on-demand removal and replacement of used inorganic PCM salt hydrates.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

author list (cited authors)

  • Karimineghlani, P., Palanisamy, A., & Sukhishvili, S. A

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Karimineghlani, Parvin||Palanisamy, Anbazhagan||Sukhishvili, Svetlana A

publication date

  • May 2018