Polysaccharide assisted microencapsulation for volatile phase change materials with a fluorescent retention indicator

Yan Zhang, Zhu Jiang, Zhibing Zhang*, Yulong Ding, Qinghua Yu, Yongliang Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
193 Downloads (Pure)


Low freeze point paraffin-based phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage often have very high vapor pressure, rendering it extremely challenging to encapsulate. This work reports our success in fabricating amino resin microcapsules with low freeze point PCMs cargos. Our findings challenge the emulsifier selection criteria proposed a decade ago, and enable better understanding of the role of emulsifiers in the one-step encapsulation process without precondensate synthesis. A facile, low cost, efficient and efficacious screening method utilizing a fluorophore is reported here for fast examination of core retention without resorting to more complex but unnecessary quantification techniques. This method is transferable to other encapsulation methods or materials as a qualitative analysis tool. We report two new emulsifiers, i.e. xanthan gum and methylcellulose, which contribute to successful encapsulation of volatile cargos via the one-step in situ polymerization route. The concentration of xanthan gum affects not only the capsule size, but also shell thickness and surface roughness. Most importantly, we have demonstrated with methylcellulose that carboxyl or anhydride moieties in emulsifiers are not essential for the one-step process, contrary to the literature. Capsules produced with methylcellulose also demonstrate superior thermal cycling fatigue resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1243
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date8 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Microcapsules
  • in situ polymerization
  • Emulsifiers
  • fluorescent
  • Phase change materials
  • PCM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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