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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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Patent application: Facial massaging mask with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Massaging mask patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170181924 (applicant HCT Group Holdings Ltd., China):

"A facial massage device configured to be positioned on a human face may include a plurality of layers. An intermediate portion may be disposed between an outer cover and an inner liner. The intermediate portion may include a plurality of individually actuatable massage elements. In some cases, the individually actuatable massage elements may be pneumatically actuated. In other cases, the individually actuatable massage elements may be mechanically actuated. ... [T]he inner liner may be formed of a foam or gel material ... [that] may include phase change materials which are useful in conveying the cooling sensation, since phase change materials, by definition absorb heat energy when changing phases."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170181924.pdf

Patent application: Automobile interior temperature stabilizer

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170184348 (inventor Roger Li-chung Wu, West Covina, Calif.):

"An automobile interior temperature stabilizer includes a holder adapted for placing within a vehicle cabin and a temperature stabilizing member which is made of latent heat material that absorbs and releases heat without rising in its temperature and is disposed in the holder, wherein the temperature stabilizing member has a threshold temperature range that the temperature stabilizing member is arranged for absorbing cabin heat within the vehicle cabin to cool down the vehicle cabin when an interior temperature of the vehicle is higher than the threshold temperature range, and the temperature stabilizing member is arranged for releasing stored heat to the vehicle cabin to warm the vehicle cabin when an interior temperature of the vehicle is lower than the threshold temperature range. ... The temperature stabilizing member, which is made of phase change material (PCM), will collect heat during the day (high temperature), and will release heat at night (low temperature) to provide an optimal cabin temperature, resulting in energy efficiency and cost saving."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170184348.pdf

Research roundup: INPATH-TES Ph.D. program; waste-to-energy plants; EnergyPlus-based building model; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

INPATH-TES: Innovative pathways to PhD research in thermal energy storage [Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering]

Application of high temperature phase change materials for improved efficiency in waste-to-energy plants [Waste Management]

Experimental investigation and EnergyPlus-based model prediction of thermal behavior of building containing phase change material [Journal of Building Engineering]

Experimental Analysis of Graphite Dispersed Salt Hydrates based Phase Change Materials to Determine Enhancement in their Thermophysical Properties [pdf] [Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences]

Use of phase change materials during compressed air expansion for isothermal CAES plants [35th UIT Heat Transfer Conference]

Simulation of Melting Process of a Phase Change Material (PCM) using ANSYS (Fluent) [pdf] [International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology]

Cellulose/Paraffin Composite Fibers for Thermal Energy Storage and Temperature Regulation [IUMRS International Conference in Asia]

Enhanced Specific Heat Capacity of Binary Chloride Salt by Dissolving Magnesium for High-temperature Thermal Energy Storage and Transfer [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

Research roundup: Graphite particle fillers; sodium nitrate microcapsules; domestic space heating in UK; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Effect of temperature and graphite particle fillers on thermal conductivity and viscosity of phase change material n-eicosane [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermal stability of sodium nitrate microcapsules for high-temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Phase change materials to meet domestic space heating demand in the UK - A numerical study [Journal of Fluid Flow, Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis of three-dimensional graphene aerogel encapsulating n-octadecane for enhancing phase-change behavior and thermal conductivity [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

A recyclable thermochromic elastic phase change oleogel for cold compress therapy [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Patent application: Refrigerator and control method thereof

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170176083 (applicant LG Electronics, Seoul, South Korea):

"A refrigerator comprising: a main body having a storage chamber; a compressor configured to compress a refrigerant; a condenser configured to condense the refrigerant compressed by the compressor; an evaporation expander configured to depressurize the refrigerant condensed by the condenser; a first evaporator configured to evaporate the refrigerant depressurized by the evaporation expander and thus to cool the storage chamber; a condensing expander installed between the condenser and the evaporation expander and configured to depressurize the refrigerant condensed by the condenser; and a subsidiary condenser installed between the condensing expander and the evaporation expander and configured to condense the refrigerant depressurized by the condensing expander. ... The refrigerator according to claim 3, further comprising a cold storage part having a phase change material (PCM) therein and in which the subsidiary condenser and the cold storage evaporator are installed, wherein the cold storage part exchanges heat with each of the subsidiary condenser and the cold storage evaporator."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170176083.pdf

Patent application: Temperature-staged TES enabling low thermal exergy loss

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170179879 (applicant California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.):

"A structure comprising: a photovoltaic module; a reflux boiling chamber configured to store thermal energy, the reflux boiling chamber comprising a plurality of temperature staged thermal energy storage materials, each temperature staged thermal energy storage material comprising a porous phase change material and configured to operate at a different temperature range than other temperature staged thermal energy storage materials, the reflux boiling chamber further configured to contain a working fluid; a thermodynamic heat engine; and a solar concentrator configured to concentrate sunlight towards the photovoltaic module and the reflux boiling chamber, wherein the reflux boiling chamber is further configured to transfer the thermal energy to the thermodynamic heat engine through the working fluid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170179879.pdf

Patent application: Docking station for an ultrasound probe

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

GE ultrasound probe patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170172542 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

"A docking station for electrically charging and managing a thermal condition of an ultrasound probe [302] is presented. The docking station includes a first charging unit magnetically coupled to an induction unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to charge at least one battery in the ultrasound probe. Further, the docking station includes a first cooling unit thermally coupled to a thermal unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to dissipate heat from the ultrasound probe. ... In one example, one of the ports that facilitate the replacement of the thermal units may be positioned at the bottom surface [310] of the probe [302]. As the new thermal unit [308] is used to replace the thermal unit [306], the new thermal unit may also be referred to as a replaceable thermal unit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170172542.pdf

Advanced Buildings Skins conference to feature 10+ sessions on PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

The agenda is taking shape for the 12th International Conference on Advanced Building Skins, to be held Oct. 2-3 in Bern, Switzerland. More than 250 speakers from 40 nations will give presentations.

The registration fee is 680 euros and includes the conference documentation as well as meals during both days. Participants who register by June 30 will receive a 20 percent discount.

Presentations related to phase change material, all conducted in English, include:

• “Ventilation units with PCM for double-skin BIPV façades,” Jakub Curpek, faculty of Civil Engineering STU in Bratislava, Slovakia

Building skins conference photo• “PCM melting temperature optimization for passive cooling and heating,” Alvaro de Gracia, University Rovira i Virgili, Spain

• “Thermal properties of a four-pane window filled with PCM,” Martin Zalesak, Tomas Bata University, Czech Republic

• “PCM-enhanced mortar for thermally activated building components,” Lorenzo Olivieri, Instituto de Ciencias de la Construcción Eduardo Torroja, Spain

• “Thermal performance of multifunctional façade contained PCM,” Romeu Vicente, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Aveiro, Portugal

• “Microcapsulated PCM and geopolymer concrete,” Vinh Duy Cao, Østfold University College, Norway

• “Implementing hysteresis and subcooling in simulation of PCM panels,” Craig Farnham, Osaka City University, Japan

• “Lightweight building envelopes with PCM,” Ricardo Almeida, CI&DETS - Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Portugal

• “Thermal Performance of Phase Change Materials for the Building Skin Granular phase change material composites,” Xiangyu Li, Taiyuan University of Technology, China

• “Numerical investigation of a ventilated façade with PCM for heating purposes,” Josep Ramon Castro, University of Lleida, Spain

https://abs.green/program-2017/

Patent application: Temperature management for storage and therapeutic applications

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170172790 (applicants Najih Naser, Amna N. Naser and Abdel-rahman N. Naser of Cary, N.C.):

"This invention provides a flexible and dynamic energy storage and transfer device for safe storage and transport of temperature sensitive products and for therapeutic uses. The portable device includes interactive chambers containing energy receptor materials with thermal holding capacity for cooling and heating purposes. ... A primary objective ... is to provide a new configuration of an interactive enclosure and phase change composition holding media matrix for rapid thermal energy response and enhanced therapeutic energy transmission."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170172790.pdf

PCM briefing: Ice Energy signs Australian distribution deal; program posted for thermal management conference in Denver

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

Ice Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., has entered into an agreement calling for Apricus Australia to become the exclusive distributor for all Ice Energy products in Australia. Apricus will market and sell to utilities, businesses and residential customers and will be responsible for installation and service. 

The program has been posted for the 2017 Advancements in Thermal Management conference to be held in Denver Aug. 9-10. Mark Hartmann, CTO at Outlast Technologies, will give a presentation on "Thermal Runaway Prevention of Li-ion Batteries by Novel Thermal Management System." Greg Albright, vice president of business development at AllCell Technologies, will give a presentation on "Conductivity Enhanced Phase Change Materials for Transient Loads." 

• At this month's Techtextil North America trade show in Chicago, Alexium International said it was on track to ship more than 90,000 kilograms of its Alexicool PCM product in June. The company, based in Greer, S.C., and Perth, Australia, sells the product to mattress fabric producers. Alexium's share price rose 21 percent last week on the Australian Securities Exchange, to 62.5 cents AUS. 

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston has been named to Food Logistics magazine's list of Top Green Providers for 2017. The list recognizes companies whose products, services or leadership is enhancing sustainability in the food and beverage industry. Viking makes a PCM-based thermal battery system designed cut energy consumption cold storage warehouses. 

Entropy Solutions, maker of PureTemp phase change materials, was among the companies honored with a Eureka! Innovation Award at a reception last week. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal awards program recognizes "game-changing" Minnesota businesses in energy, manufacturing, media, product design, engineering and other categories.

Monodraught Ltd. has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers to deliver three new continuing professional development modules. One of the free courses explores the use of phase change materials in ventilation systems to reduce a building’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.  

Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have tested and validated what is touted as the world’s first direct absorption molten salt receiver for concentrated solar power. The single-tank thermal energy storage system has been operational for over two weeks at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The tank holds roughly 4 tons of molten salt, capable of reaching temperatures over 500 degrees Celsius.

• A study published in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness highlights the importance of cooling vests for health care workers wearing personal protective equipment in hot, humid environments. Study participants wearing vests fitted with ice packs, phase change materials or water hoses under protective equipment showed fewer signs of heat stress than those who did not.

• New research from Future Market Insights: "Chilled Water Storage System Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 – 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017 – 2027"