Thermostatic properties of nitrate molten salts and their solar and eutectic mixtures

B D'Aguanno and M Karthik and AN Grace and A Floris, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 8, 10485 (2018).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-28641-1

Nitrate molten salts are extensively used for sensible heat storage in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants and thermal energy storage (TES) systems. They are the most promising materials for latent heat storage applications. By combining classical molecular dynamics and differential scanning calorimetry experiments, we present a systematic study of all thermostatic, high temperature properties of pure KNO3 and NaNO3 salts and their eutectic and "solar salt" mixtures, technologically relevant. We first study, in solid and liquid regimes, their mass densities, enthalpies, thermal expansion coefficients and isothermal compressibilities. We then analyze the c(P) and c(V) specific heats of the pure salts and of the liquid phase of the mixtures. Our theoretical results allow to resolve a long-standing experimental uncertainty about the c(P)(T) thermal behaviour of these systems. In particular, they revisit empirical laws on the c(P)(T) behaviour, extensively used at industrial level in the design of TES components employing the "solar salt" as main storage material. Our findings, numerically precise and internally consistent, can be used as a reference for the development of innovative nanomaterials based on nitrate molten salts, crucial in technologies as CSP, waste heat recovery, and advanced adiabatic compressed air energy storage.

Return to Publications page