In this work, we synthesized a series of four nanocapsules containing n-alkanes (CnH2n+2), namely tetradecane, pentadecane, hexadecane, and heptadecane, in poly(styrene-co-ethylacrylate) using an emulsion copolymerization method. The nanocapsules were characterized according to their geometric profiles, phase transition temperatures, phase transition heats, mean particle sizes, and chemical stabilities by means of scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, thermal gravimetric analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Furthermore, we also focused on the effect of the core/shell mass ratio on the phase change properties of the nanocapsules. We found that microcapsules were synthesized successfully and that the best core/shell mass ratio was 3:1 for this study. These results indicate that encapsulated n-alkanes with poly(styrene-co-ethylacrylate) have an excellent potential for energy storage. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.