nitrate salt, thermal storage, thermal and mechanical property, solid-phase


Implementation of molten salt compounds as the heat transfer fluid and energy storage medium provides specific benefits to energy collection and conversion. Nitrate salts have been identified as a strong candidate for energy transfer and storage and have been demonstrated for use in these applications over time. As nitrate salts have solidification temperatures above ambient, concern for recovery from salt freezing events has instigated efforts to understand and predict this behavior. Accurate information of salt property behavior in the solid-phase is necessary for understanding recovery from a freeze event as well as for phase change thermal energy storage applications. Thermal and mechanical properties for three representative salts (solar salt, HITEC salt, and a Na-K-Li-Ca nitrate salt; spanning the range of liquidus temperatures from approximately 90 – 240 ºC), have been obtained. These properties include: specific heat, coefficient of thermal expansion, thermal conductivity, latent heat of fusion, compressive strength, tensile strength, Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio. Specific heat, thermal conductivity and latent heat of fusion were measured using differential scanning calorimetry. Temperature was not observed to have a significant effect on tensile strength using an indirect tensile test (Brazilian test). Peak stress and Young's modulus (both from unconfined compressive strength testing) were shown to decrease while Poisson's ratio increased with increasing temperature.

Original Publication Citation

Iverson, B. D., Broome, S. T., Kruizenga, A. M., and Cordaro, J. G., 2012, "Thermal and mechanical properties of nitrate thermal storage salts in the solid-phase," Solar Energy, Vol. 86, pp. 2897-2911. DOI: 10.1016/j.solener.2012.03.011

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor