Electrospun PEO/PEG fibers as potential flexible phase change materials for thermal energy regulation

Thermal regulating fabrics are highly applicable in various industries such as bandages, wearable devices, clothing, or facemasks. In this work, PEO is electrospun with PEG as the PCM and plasticizer component, which show great compatibility and produce uniform fibers. Presence of PEG significantly improve the fiber’s mechanical properties, and supercooling for PEG component effectively reduce by 75–85%, improving the fiber’s overall functionality.


Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is widely used as phase change materials (PCM) due to their versatile working temperature and high latent heat. However, the low molecular weight of PEG prevents from the formation of flexible microfibers, and the common leakage problem associated with solid–liquid PCM further hinders their applications in various fields. To address these challenges, polyethylene oxide (PEO) is incorporated as the supporting matrix for PEG, leading to a successful electrospinning of fibrous mats. Due to the similar chemical nature of both PEG and PEO, the blended composites show great compatibility and produce uniform electrospun fibers. The thermal properties of these fibers are characterized by DSC and TGA, and supercooling for the PEG(1050) component is effectively reduced by 75–85%. The morphology changes before and after leakage test are analyzed by SEM. Tensile and DMA tests show that the presence of PEG(1050) component contributes to plasticization effect, improving mechanical and thermomechanical strength. The ratio of PEO(600K):PEG(1050) at 7:3 affords the optimal performance with good chemical and form-stability, least shrinkage, and uniformity. These fibrous mats have potential applications in areas of food packaging, flexible wearable devices, or textiles to aid in thermal regulation.

Author list:

Xiang Yun Debbie Soo, Sze Yu Tan, Augustine Kok Heng Cheong, Jianwei Xu, Zhiyuan Liu*, Xian Jun Loh*, Qiang Zhu*

How to cite:

X. Y. D. Soo, S. Y. Tan, A. K. H. Cheong, J. Xu, Z. Liu, X. J. Loh, Q. Zhu, Exploration 2023, 4, 20230016.