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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.

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PCM briefing: Pitt professor gets $500,000 grant to study effectiveness of prosthetic liners

Ben Welter - Friday, December 22, 2017

Goeran FiedlerGoeran Fiedler, assistant professor of prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Pittsburgh, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study temperature control liners for prosthetics. The liners use phase change material to reduce the body’s tendency to sweat. The study will follow participants over 12 months to determine whether the liners decrease the risk of pressure sores, accidental falls and other problems.

Axiom Exergy has been named to Food Logistics' FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list. The award recognized Axiom for its PCM-based "refrigeration battery," now in operation at a Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, Calif., and scheduled for installation at a Walmart store in San Diego.

HeatVentors has won 2017’s international PowerUp! competition for innovative energy start-ups. The Hungarian company's PCM-based thermal energy storage system is designed to cut energy use by up to 40 percent.

A thousand tons of rock will be used to store excess thermal energy in Siemens Gamesa's Future Energy System under construction in Hamburg, Germany.

• Registration is open for the Unleashing Innovation Summit 2018 to be held March 12-13 in Amsterdam. The goal of the event is to  "bring together cross-industry innovation leaders to share information on the latest trends and strategies relating to creating an ecosystem and culture of innovation within an organisation."

• The agenda has been posted for the Smart Fabrics Summit in Washington, D.C.  The April 24 event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Topics include "Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective" and  "Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics."

Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a Kenya-based journalist and blogger, offers a fresh take on Warmilu's IncuBlanket. The product uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours.

Research roundup: Cooling vests; palygorskite-based composites; convective solar crop dryer; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 21, 2017

An Optimal Two-Bout Strategy with Phase Change Material Cooling Vests to Improve Comfort in Hot Environment [Journal of Thermal Biology]

Preparation of palygorskite-based phase change composites for thermal energy storage and their applications in Trombe walls [Journal of Wuhan University of Technology]

Thermal performance of optimum thermal energy storage in natural convective solar crop dryer [Bhartiya Krishi Anusandhan Patrika]

Integrated Dispatch Model for Combined Heat and Power Plant with Phase-change Thermal Energy Storage Considering Heat Transfer Process [IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy]

Modeling of District Heating Networks for the Purpose of Operational Optimization with Thermal Energy Storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Study of Nusselt Number Evolution in PCM Shell-and-Tube Configuration [Euro-Mediterranean Conference for Environmental Integration]

Reduced-scale experiments to evaluate performance of composite building envelopes containing phase change materials [Construction and Building Materials]

Research roundup: Dynamic shading systems with PCM; mesoporous N-doped carbons; beeswax and photovoltaics; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Performance of a coupled transpired solar collector—phase change material-based thermal energy storage system [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal and optical characterisation of dynamic shading systems with PCMs through laboratory experimental measurements [Energy and Buildings]

Thermo-mechanical analysis of microcapsules containing phase change materials for cold storage [Applied Energy]

Introduction of organic-organic eutectic PCM in mesoporous N-doped carbons for enhanced thermal conductivity and energy storage capacity [Applied Energy]

Heat storage performance analysis and parameter design for encapsulated phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal performance of copper foam/paraffin composite phase change material [Energy Conversion and Management]

Numerical study of PCM integration impact on overall performances of a highly building-integrated solar collector [Renewable Energy]

Nanoparticles Enhanced Phase Change Material (NPCM) as Heat Storage in Solar Still Application for Productivity Enhancement [Energy Procedia]

Performance enhancement of the concentrated photovoltaic using different phase change material configurations [Energy Procedia]

Experimental Analysis of Using Beeswax as Phase Change Materials for Limiting Temperature Rise in Building Integrated Photovoltaics [Case Studies in Thermal Engineering]

Patent application: Thermal management of linear motor

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170355568 (applicant Otis Elevator Co., Farmington, Conn.):

"The present disclosure relates generally to a propulsion system for an elevator having a first motor portion mounted to one of an object to be moved and a stationary structure and a second motor portion mounted to the other of the object to be moved and the stationary structure, the first motor portion having at least one coil. ... The cooling member may be a heat exchanger disposed between two coils of the first motor portion. ... The heat exchanger may include a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170355568.pdf

Patent application: Heating and cooling technologies

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170354190 (applicant Charles J. Cauchy, Traverse City, Mich.):

"A heating and cooling device is disclosed comprising at least one integral low voltage heating and cooling source and an efficient flexible heat distribution means having a thermal conductivity of from 375 to 4000 W/mK for distributing the heat and cool across a surface. Further aspects include thermal interface compounds to provide full thermal contact as well as the use of a phase change material to provide a long lasting heating and/or cooling effect without the use of external electrical input. Preferred applications include automotive and furniture seating heating and cooling, along with outdoor garments having distributed heating and cooling effects."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170354190.pdf

PCM briefing: GE ice storage project wins $221,000 grant; IFAI offers webinar on smart fabrics

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

• A plan to install an ice storage system at GE’s new headquarters in Boston has been awarded a $221,000 grant by Massachusetts' Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage program. 

• The U.S. Department of Energy has announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of ARPA‑E's latest OPEN funding opportunity. OPEN 2018 is looking for innovations "to transform the way we generate, store and use energy." The deadline for submitting a concept paper is Feb. 12, 2018.

• Early registration prices for the 2018 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit have been extended to Dec. 31. The summit, which showcases innovative energy technologies, will be held March 13-15 at the Gaylord Convention Center near Washington, D.C. The agenda is still "coming soon." The deadline to submit an application to exhibit in the Technology Showcase is Jan. 2.

• Registration is open for an Industrial Fabrics Association International webinar on recent smart fabric applications used in a number of government, commercial, medical and consumer market segments. The cost for the Jan. 17 webinar is $29 for association members, $79 for non-members.

• Registration is open for the 34th Space Symposium, to be held April 16-19, 2018, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Exhibitors include Advanced Cooling Technologies and Aavid Thermacore Inc.

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board. The CED is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization founded in 1942.

• In an interview with Forbes, co-CEOs Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell explain Sasol's $11 billion bet on specialty chemicals.

• Registration is open for "Single-Use vs. Reusable Packaging: Providing value for your product," the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe's temperature assurance packaging series. Chris Anderson, director of quality systems at Cardinal Health, and Vishal Khushalani, director of marketing and business development at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Jan 9.

• The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, to be held in Philadelphia July 16-19, 2018, is seeking proposals for company and technical presentations. Presentations are 13 minutes long, including a brief introduction and Q&A with the audience. Proposals must be submitted by May 14.

Patent application: Batteries with thermal management

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170358831 (applicant Pure Watercraft Inc., Seattle, Wash.):

"A battery pack assembly includes: a battery cell; a flat heat pipe, coupled to the battery cell, configured to transfer thermal energy to or from the battery cell; and a thermal electric cooler, coupled to the flat heat pipe, configured to cool the battery cell based on reducing the thermal energy through the flat heat pipe. ... The battery module can further include thermal storage units (e.g., PCM that melt and solidify at a phase change temperature; thermal energy can be absorbed or released based on the change in physical states of the materials) connected to the battery cells."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170358831.pdf

RAL Quality Association PCM approves updated quality and testing specifications

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 14, 2017

Members of the RAL Quality Association PCM have unanimously approved revised versions of two documents governing the association’s quality testing program.

The association, formed in 2004, promotes the use of high-quality phase change material and oversees independent testing of PCMs. Members include Croda, va-Q-tec, Pluss Advanced Technologies and Entropy Solutions. Members and non-members alike can submit their products to the association for independent testing and earn the RAL Quality Mark.

RAL PCM quality markThe first document, “Quality and Testing Specifications for Phase Change Materials,” also known as RAL-GZ 896, sets out the general principles for PCM. The document defines PCM, PCM composites, PCM objects and PCM systems; establishes performance requirements; and outlines the nature and scope of monitoring measures.

Improvements to RAL-GZ 896 include:

Clearer structure and wording, less text. The prior edition was judged to be strongly fragmented, hard to read and too long. At the same time some definitions, especially those in the glossary, required clarification.

Heat flow meter measurements are now permissible. This will make measuring larger PCM products much easier.

Reduced testing frequency during cycling. The prior edition required testing the quality criteria at fixed intervals during cycling. The new edition recommends testing at intervals during cycling (to reduce the risk that cycling is continued until the end despite the sample has already failed) and the intervals are wider. These changes are designed to reduce the cost of testing.

Including segregation. Segregation is an important criterion for salt hydrates especially and was included as additional quality requirement.

Better explanation of monitoring.

The second document provides detailed provisions and references to the certification of PCM, PCM composites, PCM objects and PCM systems. Improvements to this document include more detailed descriptions of measuring methods and guidance on which methods are appropriate for different types of PCM.

The revised documents will be submitted to the German RAL Institute for Quality Assurance and Certification, the PCM association’s governing body, for final review and approval. The revised documents are expected to take effect in early spring.

Research roundup: Cold chain insulated container; convective heat transfer; new form-stable composite; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 14, 2017

Improving Performance of Cold-Chain Insulated Container with Phase Change Material: An Experimental Investigation [Applied Sciences]

Energy Storage in a Complex Heat Storage Unit Using Commercial Grade Phase Change Materials: Effect of Convective Heat Transfer Boundary Conditions [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Porosity and density measurements of sodium acetate trihydrate for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Melting and solidification behaviour of phase change materials with cyclic heating and cooling [Journal of Energy Storage]

Thermal performance enhancement of composite phase change materials (PCM) using graphene and carbon nanotubes as additives for the potential application in lithium-ion power battery [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

A novel form-stable phase change composite with excellent thermal and electrical conductivities [Chemical Engineering Journal]

Influence of PCM design parameters on thermal and optical performance of multi-layer glazed roof [Applied Energy]

A Novel Phase Change Based Cooling System for Prismatic Lithium Ion Batteries [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Facile method of fabricating microencapsulated phase change materials with compact bonding polymer–silica hybrid shell using TEOS/MPS [Thermochimica Acta]

Patent application: Lightweight, breathable, waterproof, soft shell composite apparel

Ben Welter - Monday, December 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170347730 (applicant Solid Water Holdings, Farmington, Maine):

"The apparel is constructed from various combinations of layers of materials with moisture transfer properties. A first liner of moisture transfer fabrics abuts a second layer of structural material such as open-cell foam. The second layer can abut a breathable membrane and/or an insulating material. ... The breathable moisture transfer composite system may be enhanced with Phase Change Technologies for additional thermal benefits and may be used as a single layer or composite layer in the moisture transfer system."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170347730.pdf