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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: Heat exchanger for an exhaust tuning system

Ben Welter - Monday, April 29, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190120103 (applicant Ford Global Technologies, Dearborn, Mich.):

"Methods and systems are provided for a heat exchanger phase change material installed as a component of a variable exhaust tuning system. In one example, a method may include absorbing excess heat energy from exhaust gases during and after an engine-on event within a heat exchanger material, releasing heat energy stored in the heat exchanger material during and after an engine-off event, and heating an adjustable exhaust valve with the heat energy stored in the heat exchanger material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190120103.pdf

Patent application: Sodium acetate trihydrate formulations

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190119543 (applicant British American Tobacco (Investments) Ltd., London):

"An inhalation device comprising: a heatable material; and a formulation comprising: sodium acetate trihydrate (SAT), a solvent, and at least one of potassium acetate and a kinetic inhibitor, wherein the kinetic inhibitor is selected from the group consisting of: sodium carboxymethyl cellulose; gelatine; ethyl cellulose; polyethylene glycol; xanthan gum; glycerol; urea; polysorbate 20; polysorbate 80; polyacrylic acid; sodium pyrophosphate; polyacrylamide; pullulan; poly(vinyl alcohol); and poly(vinyl acetate). wherein the formulation is configured to provide a heat source that heats the heatable material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190119543.pdf

Patent application: Temperature-controlling vest for relieving menopause symptoms

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

Imanano cooling vest patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190117447 (applicant Imanano Inc., Lewes, Del.):

"The field of the invention relates generally to devices and methods for controlling the temperature of a human or non-human body. More specifically, the field of the invention may relate to wearable devices, which may be worn by a subject, which human or non-human, wherein the wearable device is in thermal communication with a portion of the subject's body containing brown adipose tissue and wherein the wearable device comprises a means for providing a constant or near constant temperature to the subject's body and therefore controls the temperature of the subject's body, by using a phase change material. The phase material transitions state at a predetermined temperature which may be higher or lower than the subject's exterior body temperature. The device and method are usable to control temperature-related effects of menopause, post menopause and drug induced thermoregulatory symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes and sleep disturbance."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190117447.pdf

Tennessee startup introduces PCM-equipped dog cooling collar

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

In extreme heat, active dogs need more than water and shade to avoid heat stroke. Solutions such as canine cooling vests and evaporative collars have been on the market for years. A Tennessee company recently added a new product to that list: a PCM-equipped canine collar designed to suppress body temperature during rigorous physical activity.

T-CoolK9 cooling collarT-CoolK9 launched its website, t-coolk9.com, in mid-March and made its first sale a week later. For Blake Fohl, the company's chief operating officer, T-CoolK9 is both a passion project and a full-time job. He began working on the product about a year ago.

Q: What sparked your interest in developing a cooling product for dogs?

A: "I was approached by an individual who had an idea, but didn't know how to bring it to market in the right way. My wife has been breeding German shepherds for two decades. We have dogs all over the world and doing about anything a dog can do, so we understood the dangers of canine heat stroke. I felt if there was a significant market, if the product could be proven to work as intended, it would be worth the time to create a new company from scratch."

Q: How did you arrive at the design of the cooling collar? It's different from competing products.

A: "We enlisted the help of a research scientist with an competency in biology and physiology. Our objective was to obtain a real grasp of how canines cool themselves, and to conduct trials which demonstrated the ability to reduce the dog's blood temperature. During our research of other products, we found they either had no scientific research behind them, or they just don't work. Dogs cool themselves through respiration primarily and to a very small degree through vascular temperature transfer in the feet and around the anus. That knowledge, in itself, led to the design of the collar. Looking at the arterial and vascular pathways really explains the design. Heat deflection sheets actually have the opposite effect. Water evaporation vests simply add weight to the dog and as you now know, they don't cool themselves that way. Other products which use ice packs, or maybe even phase change material, place the packs in the wrong position."

Q: How did you arrive at the melt point of the PCM (8°C)? Other products use 15-18°C.

A: "We identified pretty quickly that the PureTemp 15 we initially tested just wasn't cool enough, especially with double-coated dogs, such as German shepherds. So the scientist, a really smart guy, did some calculations and, working with PureTemp, we landed on PureTemp 8."

Q: How much PCM, by weight, is used in each collar?

A: "There are three PCM packs in the collar, two in the neck and one in the chest. We are averaging around 200 grams per collar."

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from dog owners?

A: "It has been a little overwhelming. From search-and-rescue teams, police dogs, sport dogs, from people who do serious hiking with their dogs to owners who are just active with their pets, people are falling in love with the product. I think it is due to two reasons. First, the owners have a sense of confidence that they are doing the right thing to keep their dogs safe and comfortable, and secondly, they tell us the dogs actually get excited when they put the collar on."

Q: The collars are designed to fit all dogs with neck circumference of 10 inches or more. Do you plan on offering additional sizes?

A: "If the demand is there, we will make it. Our collar can fit any dog with a neck of 10 inches up to about 34 inches. That's a big dog. Seventy-five percent of the registered dogs in America fall into that range."

Q: Your site mentions that a portion of the profits from the sales of our product will be reinvested in additional scientific research. What's the focus of the research?

A: "We will be working with our original scientist and he is exploring creating a group of scientists and technologists to help understand the problem of canine heat stroke better and create new products and technologies to prevent the deaths of dogs. I could write for hours about how complicated this issue is, and how difficult it is to identify all the variables that go into creating a solution. We have a good first solution to help prevent the problem, but it is not the ultimate fail-safe product that we hope to have one day."

Research roundup: Surface functionalization of composite PCM; EnergyPlus optimization; direct expansion solar heat pump; more

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

From Applied Surface Science:

Effects of surface functionalization on thermal and mechanical properties of graphene/polyethylene glycol composite phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Facile flexible reversible thermochromic membranes based on micro/nanoencapsulated phase change materials for wearable temperature sensor
Shape-remodeled macrocapsule of phase change materials for thermal energy storage and thermal management
Investigation on the thermal performance of a high temperature packed bed thermal energy storage system containing carbonate salt based composite phase change materials
Toward a new method for the design of combined sensible/latent thermal-energy storage using non-dimensional analysis
Strategic control and cost optimization of thermal energy storage in buildings using EnergyPlus
Adaptive measures for mitigating urban heat islands: The potential of thermochromic materials to control roofing energy balance

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene-co-acrylamide)/n-octadecane microencapsulated phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Recent advances in direct expansion solar assisted heat pump systems: A review
Review on nanoporous composite phase change materials: Fabrication, characterization, enhancement and molecular simulation

From Energy and Buildings:

Experimental Testing of Phase Change Materials in a Warm-Summer Humid Continental Climate

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Development of pentadecane/diatomite and pentadecane/sepiolite nanocomposites fabricated by different compounding methods for thermal energy storage

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Heat transfer performance of graphene nano-platelets laden micro-encapsulated PCM with polymer shell for thermal energy storage based heat sink

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Investigations on thermal properties of microencapsulated phase‐change materials with different acrylate‐based copolymer shells as thermal insulation materials

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation on the impact of thermal energy storage on the solar still performance coupled with PV module via new integration

From Thermochimica Acta:

Nanoencapsulated phase change material with polydopamine-SiO2 hybrid shell for tough thermo-regulating rigid polyurethane foam

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Optimization of the detailed factors in a phase-change-material module for battery thermal management

From Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering :

A review on the best practices in concrete pavement design and materials in wet-freeze climates similar to Michigan

From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:

Study of a passive solar air heater using palm oil and paraffin as storage media

From Acta Microscopica:

Preparation of Graphene Hybrid Material and Thermal Properties of Polymer Composites

PCM briefing: 'Awareness' of PCM technology seen as key challenge; researchers develop novel anti-icing material

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers say they've developed a material that can inhibit the formation of ice much longer than existing technologies, New Atlas reports. The anti-icing material is made of phase-changing liquids that have heat-trapping properties. Researchers say the material works effectively in temperatures as low as -15° C.

Collin CokerIn an interview with Engineered Systems, Viking Cold Solutions' vice president of sales and marketing talks about the state of the thermal energy storage market and the company's PCM-based thermal storage systems. What's been the Houston company's biggest challenge over the past 18 months? "Awareness," said Collin Coker, right. "We constantly hear, 'This is really interesting; I've never seen it before; do you have fluid moving through the refrigeration system?' So, breaking it down and explaining that it’s non-mechanical and very simple is part of the challenge. Getting people to believe that this technology can provide savings in the range of 10-50% in some applications is also a challenge. A lot of folks are fairly guarded, because that level of savings has never been achieved in this industry before. It just seems too good to be true. "

• The World Bank announced a new program this week to accelerate the adoption of sustainable cooling technologies, including air conditioning, refrigeration and cold chain in developing countries. The program will provide technical assistance to ensure that efficient cooling is included in new World Bank Group investment projects.

Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted the agenda for the company's next Leading Minds Seminar, to be held May 29 in Princeton, N.J. Co-hosted by ELPRO, the seminars offer a chance for pharmaceutical manufacturers, supply chain partners and government representatives to discuss temperature-assurance packaging and data monitoring in a collaborative environment. Panelists for a discussion on reusable shipping systems include Mark Everitt, qualification engineer at AstraZeneca, and Michael English, director of engineering at Merck.

Research roundup: PCM use in mortars; compatibility with selected plastics; myo-inositol sugar alcohol; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

From Materials:

Phase Change Materials for Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Their Use in Mortars

From Polymer Testing:
From Renewable Energy:


From Molecules:

From Applied Energy:

Natural convection during melting in vertical finned tube latent thermal energy storage systems
Year-round performance analysis of a photovoltaic panel coupled with phase change material

From Energy Procedia:

A Review of the Performance of Buildings Integrated with Phase Change Material: Opportunities for Application in Cold Climate

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Encapsulation of polar phase change materials via multiemulsification and crosslinking method and its application in building

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Thermal performance of shell and tube latent heat storage unit: Comparative assessment of horizontal and vertical orientation
Experimental investigation of phase change in a multitube heat exchanger

From Chemistry Select:

Preparation and Thermal Properties of Stearic Acid/n‐Octadecane Binary Eutectic Mixture as Phase Change Materials for Energy Storage

From Journal of Materials Research:

Synthesis of novel shape-stabilized phase change materials with high latent heat and low supercooling degree for thermal energy storage

From Science of Advanced Materials:

Fabrication and Performance of Polyurethane/Polyurea Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials with Isophorone Diisocyanate via Interfacial Polymerization
Design and Analysis of Battery Box Based on Graphite-Phase Change Material and Air Cooling

From Experimental Techniques:

Design, Build, and Test a Hybrid Cooling System for Crash Helmet

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Capric acid/intercalated diatomite as form-stable composite phase change material for thermal energy storage
Preparation and thermal performances of microencapsulated phase change materials with a nano-Al2O3-doped shell

PCM briefing: Ice Energy signs distribution deal; Bloom joins Sunamp as board chairman

Ben Welter - Monday, April 22, 2019

Ice Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., has reached distribution agreements with four California companies to sell, install and maintain its ice-based thermal storage system, the Ice Bear 20. The companies are Correy Baker Heating and Air of Murrieta; Emery Mechanical Engineering of San Diego; H3 of Santa Barbara; and SunRize Mechanical of Temecula. “This distribution network will enable us to further expand our footprint in the residential market in Southern California,” said Marcel Christians, co-COO of Ice Energy.

Sonoco ThermoSafe and AirBridgeCargo Airlines have announced a global partnership agreement for the leasing of the PharmaPort 360 temperature-controlled shipping container. The agreement will enable pharmaceutical shippers to lease PharmaPort 360 containers directly from AirBridgeCargo.

Martin Bloom• Thermal battery maker Sunamp Ltd. of Scotland has appointed Martin Bloom as chairman of the board. Bloom, right, has extensive experience in high-growth technology and renewable energy companies, including Chinese solar company Renesola and Loughborough-based fuel cell specialist Intelligent Energy. Bloom succeeds Sunamp’s founding chairman, Bob Pettigrew, who oversaw its early growth.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 Poncelet Prize for Innovation in Microencapsulation, co-sponsored by Procter & Gamble and the Bioencapsulation Research Group. The award recognizes innovation in process design and modernization; development of new core and shell materials; innovation in characterization methods; or innovation in emerging fields of applications. The deadline for submitting nominations is May 31, 2019.

Peli BioThermal is rebranding its Chronos temperature-controlled shippers. CoolGuard PCM will replace Chronos Express, and CoolGuard Advance will replace Chronos Advance. The CoolGuard shippers will offer configurations with fewer components and additional temperature set points, such as 16º C.

• Registration is open for "Phase Change Material & Passive Cooling in Large Venues," a lunch-hour presentation by Henderson Engineers. The free event, sponsored by AIA Kansas City, will be held June 12 at the Center for Architecture & Design in Kansas City, Mo.

Axiotherm GmbH's kraftBoxx thermal energy storage system is a finalist for a Smarter E Award in the renewable energy category. KraftBoxx is a joint development with Klara Energy and Tuxhorn within the scope of the PCM-based HeatSel product line marketed by Axiotherm. Winners will be announced May 15 in Munich.

• PCM expert Harald Mehling's new book is available on Amazon: "Understanding the Basics of Energy: An Introduction from Simple to Complex Situations."

Tempur-Pedic of Lexington, Ky., says its new TEMPUR-breeze mattress will help sleepers "stay up to 8 degrees F cooler through the night." According to Tempur-Pedic: "At about 80°F, the molecules within TEMPUR-breeze’s most efficient Phase Change Material (PCM) to-date, PURECOOL+, activate, shifting from a solid to a liquid to absorb massive amounts of heat. For the first time, Tempur-Pedic’s scientists successfully altered these proprietary molecules to deliver more phase change material, increasing its capacity to absorb heat by 2x compared to other PCM."

• Two new ASHRAE publications will be available in June: "Owner’s Guide for Buildings Served by District Cooling" and an updated edition of the "District Cooling Guide" for designers and building owners around the world.

• Researchers at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a polyethylene glycol-infused wood material that could be used to make windows that absorb heat during the day and release it into the home at night. The researchers are working to increase the heat storage capacity of the transparent wood, Smithsonian.com reports.

Patent application: Building panel system

Ben Welter - Friday, April 19, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190112809 (applicant Armstrong World Industries Inc., Lancaster, Penn.):

"A building panel system is provided. The building panel system include a panel structure having a first surface and a second surface opposite the first surface; a mounting system attached to the panel structure; at least one container detachably coupled to the mounting system at one of a plurality of selectable coupling positions so as to be in conductive thermal cooperation with the first surface of the panel structure; and a phase change material contained within the at least one container."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190112809.pdf

Patent application: Thermal energy storage systems utilizing phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, April 19, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190101337 (applicant SABIC Global Technologies B.V., Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands):

"A thermal energy storage system utilizes a phase change material with an encapsulating material surrounding the phase change material. The encapsulating material fully contains the phase change material to prevent passage of the phase change material out of the encapsulating material and/or prevent direct contact of the phase change material with external objects. The encapsulating material is a high density polyethylene (HDPE), which may be a non-crosslinked or crosslinked HDPE. In a method of forming a thermal energy storage system a phase change material is surrounded with the encapsulating material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190101337.pdf