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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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Patent application: Cellulosic fibers having enhanced reversible thermal properties

Ben Welter - Friday, September 23, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160272863 (Outlast Technologies LLC, Golden, Colo.):

"A viscose fiber comprises a fiber body including a regenerated cellulosic material and a plurality of microcapsules dispersed in the regenerated cellulosic material. The regenerated cellulosic material is derived from an organic plant material and the plurality of microcapsules containing a phase change material has a transition temperature in the range of 0° C. to 100° C., the phase change material providing thermal regulation based on at least one of absorption and release of latent heat at the transition temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160272863.pdf

PCM briefing: RAL meeting in Dusseldorf; temperature-assurance packaging class in Boston

Ben Welter - Friday, September 23, 2016

• Members of the RAL Quality Association PCM, a European-based organization established in 2004 to develop standards for the phase change material industry, will meet in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday. The agenda includes an update on the upcoming revision of the European Union's energy performance of buildings directive and discussion of a proposal to include PCM in the Building Efficiency Standards section of California's Code of Regulations. Two companies interested in joining RAL, Sunamp Ltd. and Renewable Energy Group Inc., will attend the meeting as guests.

Ontario has pumped $5.8 million (Canadian) into the University of Guelph's new thermal energy cooling system. The $15 million system, completed last year, features a tank that holds 22 million liters of water. In warmer months, the water is chilled at night, when energy costs are lower. The chilled tank water is then circulated through the university's existing cooling system during the day. Officials say the system has already saved the university $2.5 million in energy costs.

• Bio-based materials and chemicals offer a clear value proposition when compared with their petroleum-based counterparts, but smart business execution is critical to eventual success, Lux Research concludes in a new report, “Hunting for Value and Performance in the Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Space."

Phase Change Material Products Ltd. of the United Kingdom will be among the hundreds of exhibitors at the Chillventa trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, Oct. 11-13.  

A cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will make its debut Monday at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in Boston. The all-day session will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging.

Cold Chain IQ, an online resource for temperature-controlled logistics professionals, is now Pharma Logistics IQ. The new site, www.pharmalogisticsiq.com, includes content on pharma logistics, including clinical supply, supply chain security, regulations and more.

Patent application: Plastic phase change material and articles made therefrom

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 22, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160272864 (applicant REG Synthetic Fuels, Ames, Iowa):

"The present invention generally relates to a method for manufacturing phase change material (PCM) pellets. The method includes providing a melt composition, including paraffin and a polymer. The paraffin has a melt point of between about 10° C. and about 50° C., and more preferably between about 18° C. and about 28° C. In one embodiment, the melt composition includes various additives, such as a flame retardant. The method further includes forming the melt composition into PCM pellets. The method further may include the step of cooling the melt to increase the melt viscosity before pelletizing. Further, PCM compounds are provided having an organic PCM and a polymer. Methods are provided to convert the PCM compounds into various form-stable PCMs. A method of coating the PCMs is included to provide PCMs with substantially no paraffin seepage and with ignition resistance properties."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160272864.pdf

Research roundup: Thermal cracking in concrete; saturated diesters; graphite nanoparticles; nanocapsules; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 22, 2016

Use of phase change materials (PCMs) to mitigate early age thermal cracking in concrete: Theoretical considerations [Construction and Building Materials]

Latent heat storage using renewable saturated diesters as phase change materials [Energy]

Preparation of graphite nanoparticles-modified phase change microcapsules and their dispersed slurry for direct absorption solar collectors [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Nanostructures assisted melting of phase change materials in various cavities [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Three-dimensional numerical study of laminar confined slot jet impingement cooling using slurry of nano-encapsulated phase change material [Journal of Thermal Science]

Preparation and thermal properties of phase change materials based on paraffin with expanded graphite and carbon foams prepared from sucroses [RSC Advances]

Nanocapsules Containing Salt Hydrate Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

Sonoco ThermoSafe acquires Laminar Medica

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sonoco ThermoSafe, a global provider of temperature assurance packaging in the life sciences sector, has acquired the assets and operations of Laminar Medica from Clinimed (Holdings) Ltd., a privately held specialty medical products company based in the United Kingdom. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Laminar Medica's ChillTechLaminar Medica, based in the United Kingdom and Czech Republic, specializes in the design, testing, manufacture and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging. Laminar systems are used by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries around the world. The company's insulated parcel and pallet shipping solutions, which employ paraffin and salt hydrate phase change material, include ChillTherm, FreezeTherm, ClimiTherm, MediPhase, MediPorter, MediSorb and the new ChillTech and AmbiTech product lines. 

"By adding Laminar Medica, we are significantly expanding Sonoco ThermoSafe's global presence and providing our customers local access to the widest range of insulated parcel and pallet solutions," said Russell Grissett, general manager of Sonoco ThermoSafe. "Laminar's strong brands, manufacturing, design, testing and qualification capabilities in the United Kingdom and Europe complements ThermoSafe's current footprint to provide our customers the level of trust, confidence and customer experience they have grown to expect from a global market leader in temperature-assurance solutions."

https://www.thermosafe.com/blog/sonoco-thermosafe-acquires-laminar-medica-group/

Research roundup: Commercialization of PCMs; nickel foam-paraffin composite; CFD simulation of spherical capsule; more

Ben Welter - Monday, September 19, 2016

Review of current state of research on energy storage, toxicity, health hazards and commercialization of phase changing materials [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Experimental investigation of a passive thermal management system for high-powered lithium ion batteries using nickel foam-paraffin composite [Energy]

Assessing the thermal performance of three cold energy storage materials with low eutectic temperature for food cold chain [Energy]

CFD simulation of melting process of phase change materials (PCMs) in a spherical capsule [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Thermophysical Properties of Multifunctional Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites Incorporating Phase Change Materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Experimental study of evacuated tube collector/storage system containing paraffin as a PCM [Energy]

Patent application: Insulation of rechargeable battery pack

Ben Welter - Friday, September 16, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160268653 (applicant Covidien LP, Mansfield, Mass.):

"A battery autoclaving system is provided including a battery pack having a housing, a battery cell disposed within the housing, and an isolation region disposed between the housing and the battery cell. The isolation region may be formed at least partially from at least one of a thermal insulating material, a phase change material or any combination thereof. The system may include a temperature sensor adapted to sense at least one of a temperature of the battery cell temperature of the isolation region, The system may include and an autoclave configured to receive a temperature indication from the temperature sensor and to inhibit autoclaving when the temperature indication exceeds a predetermined value."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160268653.pdf

Patent application: Exhaust heat recovery and storage system

Ben Welter - Friday, September 16, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160265410 (applicant BorgWarner Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich.):

"A product is disclosed for recovering heat and may include a housing with two flow paths defined through the housing. A number of tube assemblies may be disposed in the housing. The tube assemblies may comprise an inner tube and an outer tube with a space defined between the inner tube and the outer tube. One flow path may be defined through the inner tubes, and the other flow path may be defined outside the outer tubes. A phase change material may be disposed in the spaces of the tube assemblies. The phase change material may change phases when exposed to a temperature change."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160265410.pdf

Patent application: Electric vehicle battery thermal management device

Ben Welter - Friday, September 16, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160264018 (applicant Renault SAS, France):

Renault patent drawing"The invention relates to a device for the thermal management of a battery of electric accumulator cells assembled within a rigid casing, said device comprising thermal storage means incorporated into said battery comprising a chamber containing a phase-change material and having a volume for exchange of heat with said accumulator cells which is delimited by at least part of said casing, the melting of the phase-change material being able to store heat, and the solidification of the phase-change material being able to release the heat previously stored. According to the invention, said chamber is equipped at its distal end with an expansion vessel able to absorb the expansions of said phase-change material as it changes phase."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160264018.pdf

Patent application: Even carbon number paraffin composition and method of manufacturing same

Ben Welter - Friday, September 16, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160264491 (applicant REG Synthetic Fuels LLC, Ames, Iowa):

"Paraffin compositions including mainly even carbon number paraffins, and a method for manufacturing the same, is disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the method involves contacting naturally occurring fatty acid/glycerides with hydrogen in a slurry bubble column reactor containing bimetallic catalysts with equivalent particle diameters from about 10 to about 400 micron. The even carbon number compositions are particularly useful as phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160264491.pdf