Palmitic acid (PA, 59.8degreesC and lauric acid (LA, 42.6degreesC are phase change materials (PCM) having quite high melting temperatures which can limit their use in low temperature solar applications such as solar space heating and greenhouse heating. However, their melting temperatures can be tailored to appropriate value by preparing a eutectic mixture of the lauric and the palmitic acids. In the present study, the thermal analysis based on differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) technique shows that the mixture of 69.0 wt% LA and 31 wt%, PA forms a eutectic mixture having melting temperature of 35.2degreesC and the latent heat of fusion of 166.3 Jg(-1) This study also considers the experimental determination of the thermal characteristics of the eutectic mixture during the heat charging and discharging processes. Radial and axial temperature distribution. heat transfer coefficient between the heat transfer fluid (HTF) pipe and the PCM, heat recovery rate and heat charging and discharging fractions were experimentally established employing a vertical concentric pipe-in-pipe energy storage system. The changes of these characteristics were evaluated with respect to the effect of inlet HTF temperature and mass flow rate. The DSC thermal analysis and the experimental results indicate that the LA-PA eutectic mixture can be a potential material for low temperature thermal energy storage applications in terms of its thermo-physical and thermal characteristics. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.