The influence of expanded graphite (EG) and carbon fiber (CF) as heat diffusion promoters on thermal conductivity improvement of stearic acid (SA), as a phase change material (PCM), was evaluated. EG and CF in different mass fractions (2%, 4%, 7%, and 10%) were added to SA, and thermal conductivities of SA/EG and SA/CF composites were measured by using hot-wire method. An almost linear relationship between mass fractions of EG and CF additives, and thermal conductivity of SA was found. Thermal conductivity of SA (0.30 W/mK) increased by 266.6% (206.6%) by adding 10% mass fraction EG (CF). The improvement in thermal conductivity of SA was also experimentally tested by comparing melting time of the pure SA with that of SA/EG and SA/CF composites. The results indicated that the melting times of composite PCMs were reduced significantly with respect to that of pure SA. Furthermore, the latent heat capacities of the SA/EG and SA/CF (90/10 wt%) composite PCMs were determined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) technique and compared with that of pure SA. On the basis of all results, it was concluded that the use of EG and CF can be considered an effective method to improve thermal conductivity of SA without reducing much its latent heat storage capacity. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.