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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: Thermoregulating shawl and method of making same

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170086522 (Welspun India Ltd., Mumbai, India):

"A shawl article configured for thermoregulation, the shawl article comprising: an elongate panel having a first end, a second end spaced from the first end along a first direction, and opposed side edges spaced apart with respect to each other along a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction, the elongate panel including a plurality of warp yarns that extend along the first direction. ... The plurality of weft yarns include phase change yarns, wherein the phase change yarns comprise at least about 50% by weight of the shawl."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170086522.pdf

Patent application: Adhesive thermal gasket with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thermal gasket patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170089648 (applicant Jones Tech, Cupertino, Calif.):

"An adhesive-thermal gasket, including: a body of thermally conductive material having a set of openings formed through the body; and an adhesive disposed into each opening for holding together a heat-generating component and a heat-dissipating structure as the body thermally couples the heat-generating component to the heat-dissipating structure. ... The body [16] can be formed from a thermal pad, a thermal phase-change material, a graphite thermal interface material, etc."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170089648.pdf

Patent application: Flexible PCM sheet materials

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170087799 (applicant Smartpolymer GmbH, Rudolstadt, Germany):

"The invention relates to flexible PCM sheet materials having a high latent thermal energy storage density for the purpose of heat management. The flexible PCM sheet material includes a flexible supporting structure and phase-change-material elements arranged thereon separately in a specific geometry. The phase-change-material elements are geometrically defined structures composed of polymer-bound phase-change material. The flexible PCM sheet materials are characterized by a high latent heat storage capacity and optimized thermal conductivity, are dimensionally stable even in the event of temperature changes and after phase transitions, can be rolled, folded, wound, or cut to size without problems, and can be transported, stored processed, or used in a single layer or in multiple layers."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170087799.pdf

PCM briefing: Trump budget 'just not correct' on ARPA-E; Croda's Kevin Bozec among panelists at Plant Based Summit

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ice Energy and Horizon Solar Power have completed the installation of a solar-plus-ice-battery-storage system at Palm Springs Cultural Center in California’s Coachella Valley. The system, which replaced an aging HVAC system, comprises 73.6 kW of solar panels and five Ice Bear 30s.

• The Trump administration's budget blueprint is "just not correct" about the function of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, its former director said this week. The blueprint eliminates all ARPA-E funding "because the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies." But agency was created just for stages of research and development that the private sector does not finance, said Ellen Williams, the agency's director from 2014 until January 2017.

Dow Chemical and DuPont won the blessing of the European Union for their $130 billion merger by agreeing to sell substantial assets, including key research and development activities.

• The global PCM market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 19.9 percent over the next five years, according to a new market research from Mordor Intelligence, "Global Phase Change Material Market-Segmented by Material Type, Product Type, Application, and Geography-Trends and Forecasts (2017-2022)." 

Kevin Bozec, marketing coordinator at Croda, is among the presenters at the Plant Based Summit in Lille, France, April 25-27. He will discuss Crodatherm phase change materials in a session on new materials. To register for the conference and trade show, visit www.plantbasedsummit.com.

GSA Business offers a closer look at the leadership transition at Alexium International Group Ltd., the company that took its flame-retardant material and PCM-based cooling fabrics to commercial markets in 2016. 

Research roundup: Capsule in shape of red blood cell; helical fin; graphene-enhanced enhanced myo-inositol; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thermal performance analysis of a novel PCM capsule in red blood cell shape [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental demonstration, modeling and analysis of a novel latent-heat thermal energy storage unit with a helical fin [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Preparation, characterization and thermal properties of fatty acid eutectics/bentonite/expanded graphite composites as novel form–stable thermal energy storage materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Parametric study and approximation of the exact analytical solution of the Stefan problem in a finite PCM layer in a steady periodic regime [International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis, characterization and applications of microencapsulated phase change materials in thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

Graphene nanoplatelets enhanced myo-inositol for solar thermal energy storage [Thermal Science and Engineering Progress]

Research roundup: Fast charging with expanded graphite; rebar corrosion in PCM-enhanced concrete; hybrid cooling vest; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fast charging of thermal energy storage systems enabled by phase change materials mixed with expanded graphite [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis and characterization of a narrow size distribution nano phase change material emulsion for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Analysis of the effects of use of thermal energy storage device (TESD) in solar air heater [Alexandria Engineering Journal]

Experiment and simulation of thermal management for a tube-shell Li-ion battery pack with composite phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Novel model for the prediction of SSLE temperatures and crystallization paths of any mixture containing palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid [Thermochimica Acta]

A review on recent advancements in photovoltaic thermal techniques [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A comparative study on corrosion behavior of rebar in concrete with fatty acid additive as phase change material [Construction and Building Materials]

Novel phase change materials based on fatty acid eutectics and triallyl isocyanurate composites for thermal energy storage [Journal of Applied Polymer Science]

Optimal cooling intervention for construction workers in a hot and humid environment [Building and Environment]

Patent application: Three-layer vessel with phase change material

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3-layer vessel patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170071381 (inventors Weng Hua Ze and Ke Wang, Quanxi Town, China):

"A three layer vessel has: a vessel body; a first liner connected to the vessel body and configured within the vessel body; an outside gap formed between the first liner in the vessel body, the outside gap is at least partially evacuated to a lower pressure than atmospheric air pressure; a second liner connected to the vessel body and configured within the first liner; an inside gap formed between the first liner in the second liner; a thermal conductive fluid held within the inside gap; a vessel body rim is formed on the vessel body with the vessel body connects to the first liner. ... An inner space [19] is formed between the vacuum space between the internal spacing, which is filled with thermal conductive fluid. ... The thermal conductive fluid is a phase change material that changes phase between liquid and solid phases."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170071381.pdf

PCM briefing: India startup wins Energy Transition award; new market research on thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Monday, March 27, 2017

Thermal Energy Service Solutions, maker of a PCM-based "plug-and-chill" refrigeration system, was one of six startup companies honored at Tech Festival 2017 in Berlin last week. The Indian company's cooling technology is designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels in storing and transporting food. The Startup Energy Transition Awards competition, sponsored by the German Energy Agency, drew more than 500 applications from 66 countries.

Machine learning tools can help researchers analyze sustainable products and chemicals more easily, but as with all computing, data quality is important, writes Christina Valimaki, senior director of chemicals at Elsevier's R&D Solutions.

• New from MarketsandMarkets: "Thermal Energy Storage Market by Technology (Sensible, Latent, and TCS), Storage Material (Water, Molten Salt, and PCM), Application (Power Generation, District Heating & Cooling, and Process Heating & Cooling), End-User, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022"

• Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have shown that it is possible to convert solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid. The system is based on the organic compound norbornadiene, which upon exposure to light converts into quadricyclane.

Patent application: Integrated multi-chamber heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Monday, March 27, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170082371 (applicant Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, N.Y.):

"A one-piece heat exchanger manufactured using an additive manufacturing process is described. The heat exchanger includes a plurality of channels formed therein. At least some of the plurality of channels may be configured to provide structural support to the heat exchanger to reduce its weight. Different coolant media may be used in a first set and a second set of the plurality of channels to provide different types of cooling in an integrated one-piece heat exchanger structure. ... [A] phase change material coolant (e.g., paraffin that changes state between a solid and a liquid) may provide both steady state cooling using the fluid coolant channels and transient cooling using the phase change material coolant channels to effectively provide cooling for a component or components that generate both steady state heat and occasional, transient, spikes in heat."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170082371.pdf

Patent application: Composite foam and methods of preparation and use

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170072604 (applicant Empire Technology Development LLC, Wilmington, Del.):

"Composite foams having cells containing shape-stabilized phase change material (ss-PCM) particles are described. Composite foams may be made by contacting a plurality of ss-PCM particles and one or more pre-polymer reactants, wherein each ss-PCM particle can form a nucleation site for foam cell generation. The composite foams may be used in regulating the temperature of an article wherein the foam undergoes a phase transition as the surrounding temperature of the article approaches the foam's phase transition temperature. The thermostatic material may exchange heat with the article during the phase transition, resulting in regulation of the temperature of the article. The composite foams may be used as a thermostatic packaging material having a cavity for storing goods."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170072604.pdf