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The award-winning Phase Change Matters blog tracks the latest news and research on phase change materials and thermal energy storage. E-mail tips and comments to Ben Welter, communications director at Entropy Solutions. Follow the blog on Twitter at @PureTemp. Subscribe to the weekly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

Two Entropy advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid and Lucas B. Hyman, are pleased to take your questions about PCMs and thermal energy storage. Send your questions to bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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Research roundup: Location impact of LTES; silica-coated poly(glycidyl methacrylate-ethylene dimethacrylate) beads; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A simplified model to study the location impact of latent thermal energy storage in building cooling heating and power system [Energy]

Modelling and experimental study of low temperature energy storage reactor using cementitious material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Preparation of electrospun LA-PA/PET/Ag form-stable phase change composite fibers with improved thermal energy storage and retrieval rates via electrospinning and followed by UV irradiation photoreduction method [Fibers and Polymers]

Silica-coated poly(glycidyl methacrylate-ethylene dimethacrylate) beads containing organic phase change materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Numerical and experimental investigation on latent thermal energy storage system with spiral coil tube and paraffin/expanded graphite composite PCM [Energy Conversion and Management]

Inverse heat transfer prediction of the state of the brick wall of a melting furnace [Applied Thermal Engineering]

PCM briefing: CrodaTherm line qualifies for biobased product label; registration open for thermal energy conference in U.K.

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

USDA Biobased Product labelCroda has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Certified Biobased Product label for all six of its CrodaTherm phase change materials. Third-party verification administered through the USDA's Biopreferred Program is required to confirm a product's biobased content. Croda and Entropy Solutions are the only PCM makers to qualify for the label.  

• Refrigeration battery maker Axiom Exergy has posted openings for an electromechanical technician, a product engineer and a project manager at its facility in Richmond, Calif.

• Registration is open for the U.K.-focused Future Thermal Energy Conference at the University of Warwick, Coventry, England, Oct. 10-11. Topics include district heating networks, heat pumps, CHP, biomass and above- and below-ground thermal storage.

Research roundup No. 200: Rice-husk-char encapsulation; microsuspension iodine transfer polymerization; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Welcome to the 200th issue of the Phase Change Matters research roundup!

Encapsulation of phase change materials using rice-husk-char [Applied Energy]

Performance study of an enhanced solar greenhouse combined with the phase change material using genetic algorithm optimization method [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Innovative synthesis of high performance poly(methyl methacrylate) microcapsules with encapsulated heat storage material by microsuspension iodine transfer polymerization [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Fabrication and characterization of a new enhanced hybrid shell microPCM for thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Experimental evaluation of thermal properties of r134a clathrates based PCMs for cooling applications [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Wheelchair athletes will put PCM cooling vest to the test in Rio

Ben Welter - Monday, August 29, 2016

Canada's wheelchair rugby player with cooling vest

Canada's wheelchair rugby athletes will keep their cool at the Paralympic Games in Brazil next month, thanks to a PCM-powered cooling vest developed by two recent graduates of Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia.

Jaymes Williams and Laura Hutchison designed the vest to address a problem faced by many athletes with spinal cord injuries: regulating body temperature. Quadriplegics have limited ability to sweat and are prone to overheating during rigorous physical activity. And wheelchair rugby is perhaps the most physically demanding sport in the Paralympics. Players race their wheelchairs up and down a court, working together to advance a ball – or prevent it from being advanced – over a goal line. Violent collisions are common in the sport, which was originally called "murderball." The action is fast, the competition intense. In short: It gets hot out there. 

Williams began working on the vest in 2014 as part of a design engagement course at KPU. He met with wheelchair rugby athletes and found they typically use cold drinks, misters and wet towels to cool down during breaks in the action. The athletes had tried various cooling vests and found them lacking.

After meeting with experts at the Canadian Sports Institute, Williams began work on a cooling vest designed to meet the needs of wheelchair athletes. He teamed up with Hutchison to refine the concept. The pair traveled to Toronto to observe the Canadian team in action at the 2015 Parapan Am Games. They traveled to Hanoi to work with Maxport JSC, a Vietnamese company that develops products for Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Lululemon and other makers of sports apparel. Maxport provided assistance in exploring PCM containment options.

Closeup of wheelchair rugby cooling vest (Photo courtesy of CBC)In April, the Canadian Sports Institute asked Williams and Hutchison to produce a set of eight cooling vests in time for the Rio Paralympics. Final touches are being applied to the vests this month. The Canadian team, ranked fourth in the world, will begin the hunt for gold on Sept. 14, facing off against the host nation, Brazil.

The athletic-looking vest weighs about 2.5 kilograms. It has a coated taffeta shell, poly-cotton lining, hook-and-loop closures and phase change material contained in polyurethane film. The biobased PCM, PureTemp 12, is made by Entropy Solutions. The PCM has a peak melting point of 12° C (54° F), a temperature ideal for absorbing excess body heat without causing discomfort or muscle cramps.

Fully charged vests provide about two hours of cooling relief to athletes, who wear them during warmups and on the sidelines.

What's next for the vest?

"We've already had interest from people around North America inquiring about our vest, which is very exciting," Williams says. "This outreach is telling us that there is a need for cooling strategies that are inclusive for all peoples, with or without disabilities. Our goal for the near future is to continue the cooling vest research project and to began looking into more therapeutic applications. We feel that we can make a product that everyone can wear."

Patent application: Heated or cooled portable drinkware

Ben Welter - Friday, August 26, 2016

Ember Technologies patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160242598 (applicant Ember Technologies Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.):

"An actively heated or cooled portable container is provided. The container has a portable body with a receiving portion defined by an inner wall that receives a liquid. A heating and cooling system housed in the portable body has a cooling element in thermal communication with at least a portion of the inner wall to remove heat from the liquid. The heating and cooling system also has a heating element in thermal communication with at least a portion of the inner wall, control circuitry to control the operation of the heating element and one or more power storage elements to provide electrical energy to the heating element and/or control circuitry. ... The heating and cooling system comprises a cooling element comprising a phase change material disposed in a chamber that surrounds at least a portion of the inner sidewall so that the phase change material is in thermal communication with at least a portion of the inner sidewall of the portable body, the phase change material configured to transition from one phase to a second phase at a predetermined temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160242598.pdf

Patent application: Portable temperature controlled container

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 25, 2016

DeltaTrak patent application drawing

U.S. patent application 20160243000 (applicant Deltatrak Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.):

"This invention relates to a portable temperature controlled container comprising a body having a storage compartment, an opening to permit access to the storage compartment and an insulated lid. The container comprises a fan, a heat sink and a thermoelectric device, as well as a first phase change material and a thermoelectric device in thermal communication with both the first phase change material and the storage compartment. The thermoelectric device in thermal communication with both the first phase change material and the storage compartment is operable to remove energy in the form of heat from one of the storage compartment and the first phase change material and transfer that energy in the form of heat to the other of the storage compartment and the first phase change material. In this way, the device will require less power, be highly robust, will operate across a range of temperatures, and will be cost effective to manufacture."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160243000.pdf

PCM briefing: Grocery trucks equipped with PCMs; how to prepare for fluctuating feedstock pricing

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 25, 2016

• The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy has posted a request for information on lower-grade waste heat recovery systems. ARPA-E says it is particularly interested in solid-state recovery technology.

High temperatures in the workplace are a major concern of trade union safety representatives, according to a survey conducted by the UK's Trades Union Congress. The federation is calling for a maximum temperature of 30º Celsius in the workplace; 27º C for those doing strenuous work. [pdf]

SK Telecom's new fresh groceries logistics service features delivery trucks equipped with phase change material. The South Korean company's Smart FreshX system eliminates the need to burn fuel to run on-board chillers. The PCM is chilled at night, when electricity is cheaper, and keeps groceries cold during daytime deliveries. 

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to publish proposed regulations under the revamped Toxic Substances Control Act by the end of this year.

U.S. chemical producers must continue to prepare for fluctuations in feedstock pricing, writes Michael Hinton of Allegro Development: "Trying to predict energy market moves can be a mugs’ game, but effective commodity management systems can analyse a company’s trading history against the specific risk factors in its portfolio."

Research roundup: Granular PCM in fluidized beds; TES with adsorption module; cementitious composites; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Preparation, heat transfer and flow properties of microencapsulated phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Characterization of granular phase change materials for thermal energy storage applications in fluidized beds [Applied Energy]

A thermal energy storage system provided with an adsorption module – Dynamic modeling and viability study [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal analysis of melting and freezing processes of phase change materials (PCMs) based on dynamic DSC test [Energy and Buildings]

Experimental investigation of the performance of the novel HP-BIPV/T system for use in residential buildings [Energy and Buildings]

Assessing the potential for multi-functional “hybrid” porous Al-phase change material structures [Materials Letters]

Melting of nanoparticle-enhanced paraffin wax in a rectangular enclosure with partially active walls [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermal conductivity of cementitious composites containing microencapsulated phase change materials [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Research roundup: PVA wall tile; metal foam/PCM composite; PEG/expanded perlite with carbon layer; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Heat Transfer and Energy Performance of a PVA Wall Tile Containing Macro-Encapsulated PCM [Energies]

Numerical analysis and comparison of the thermal performance enhancement methods for metal foam/phase change material composite [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Study on the Phase Change Cement Based Material [pdf] [International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research ]

Thermal conductivity enhancement of polyethylene glycol/expanded perlite with carbon layer for heat storage application [Energy and Buildings]

PCM briefing: Croda in the hunt for acquisitions; CoolComposites wins $40K grant

Ben Welter - Monday, August 22, 2016

Croda CEO Steve Foots says the U.K.-based specialty chemicals company is on the lookout for acquisitions. Croda is focusing on "bolt-on deals providing access to new niches or established areas with fast-growing technologies," the Financial Times reports. [subscription required]

CoolComposites Inc. of Waltham, Mass., has won a $40,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Catalyst program. The company is developing an inorganic phase change material to be used as a heat-absorbing additive for foam insulation. CoolComposites says the additive will improve the performance of building insulation by "up to 40 percent in warm environments, while increasing the cost to consumers by only 20 percent."

Alexium International has announced new sales contracts for its Alexicool phase change material in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The unidentified new customers are in the "workwear, tenting and transportation" sectors.