Thermal performance characteristics of a eutectic mixture of lauric and stearic acids as phase change material (PCM) during the melting and solidification processes were determined experimentally in a vertical two concentric pipe-energy storage system. This study deals with three important subjects: The first one is to determine the eutectic composition ratio of the lauric acid (LA) and stearic acid (SA) binary system, and to measure its thermophysical properties by DSC. The second one is to establish the thermal characteristics of the mixture such as total melting and solidification times, the heat transfer modes in melted and solidified PCM, and the effect of Reynolds and Stefan numbers as inlet heat transfer fluid (HTF) conditions on the phase transition behaviors. The final one includes the calculations of the heat transfer coefficients between the outside wall of the HTF pipe and the PCM, and heat fractions during the melting and solidification processes of the mixture, and also the discussion of the effect of inlet HTF parameters on these characteristics. The LA-SA binary system in the mixture ratio of 75.5:24.5 wt % forms a eutectic, which melts at 37degreesC and has a latent heat of 182.7 J g(-1), and, thus, these properties make it an attractive phase change material used for passive solar space heating applications such as building and greenhouse heating with respect to the climate conditions. The experimental results indicated that the mixture encapsulated in the annulus of two concentric pipes has good thermal and beat transfer characteristics during the melting and solidification processes, and it has potential for heat storage in passive solar space heating systems. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.