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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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8 Viking Cold Solutions systems installed in Massachusetts

Ben Welter - Friday, June 14, 2019

Viking Cold Solutions has completed the installation of eight thermal energy storage systems as part of a utility-backed demand management program in Massachusetts. The Houston company says its PCM-based system, designed for use in cold storage facilities,  stores enough energy to cycle off refrigeration for up to 13 hours per day and reduce energy consumption by more than 25 percent. 

https://www.vikingcold.com/news/release-viking-cold-solutions-installs-1-3-mw-of-thermal-energy-storage-in-industrial-cold-storage-facilities-as-part-of-a-massachusetts-utility-demand-management-program/

Research roundup: Building-integrated PV with PCM; double skin facade; lab-scale thermal energy accumulator; more

Ben Welter - Friday, June 14, 2019

From Solar Energy:

Effectiveness of phase change materials for improving the resiliency of residential buildings to extreme thermal conditions

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Analysis and design of air ventilated building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system incorporating phase change materials
Experimental and numerical study on a novel hybrid battery thermal management system integrated forced-air convection and phase change material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Thermal Performance of Electrospun Core-Shell Phase Change Fibrous layers at Simulated Body Conditions

From Applied Engineering:

Phase change material blind system for double skin façade integration: System development and thermal performance evaluation

From Building and Environment:

Reduced-scale experiments on the thermal performance of phase change material wallboard in different climate conditions

From Renewable Energy:

Analysis of a laboratory scale thermal energy accumulator using two-phases heterogeneous paraffin wax-water mixtures

From Thermochimica Acta:

Nano-inclusion aided thermal conductivity enhancement in palmitic acid/di-methyl formamide phase change material for latent heat thermal energy storage

From Journal of Manufacturing Processes:

Experimental investigation of phase change materials fabricated using selective laser sintering additive manufacturing

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Cyclic characteristics of water thermocline storage tank with encapsulated PCM packed bed

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Thermal behaviour of wallboard incorporating a binary mixture as a phase change material

From Composites Part B: Engineering:

Effects of aging on asphalt binders modified with microencapsulated phase change material

From Chemistry Select:

Experimental Study of the Thermal Properties of Microencapsulated Palmitic Acid Composites with CuCO3 Shell as Thermal Energy Storage Materials

From Fire Safety Journal:

Fire resistance of light gauge steel framed wall systems lined with PCM-plasterboards

From ACS Applied Nano Materials:

Size-tunable Alumina-encapsulated Sn-based Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

Have you ever seen a DSC quite like this?

Ben Welter - Friday, June 07, 2019

More than 120 years ago, German chemist Emil Fischer said his lab had developed a crystal that seemed to defy the laws of physics. The solid form of acetaldehyde phenylhydrazone kept melting at two different temperatures. One batch might melt at 65° C; another at 100° C. Physics Today explains how the mystery was eventually solved: 

DSC of mysterious crystal APH"Colleagues and rivals at the time told him he must have made a mistake. Fischer didn’t think so. As far as he could tell, the crystals that melted at such different points were identical. A few groups in Britain and France repeated his work and got the same baffling results. But as those scientists died off, the mystery was forgotten, stranded in obscure academic journals published in German and French more than a century ago.

"There it would probably have remained but for Terry Threlfall, an 84-year-old chemist at the University of Southampton, UK. Stumbling across Fischer’s 1896 paper in a library about a decade ago, Threlfall was intrigued enough to kick-start an international investigation of the mysterious crystal. Earlier this year in the journal Crystal Growth and Design, Threlfall and his colleagues published the solution: APH is the first recorded example of a solid that, when it melts, forms two structurally distinct liquids. Which liquid emerges comes down to contamination so subtle that it’s virtually undetectable."

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.1.20190606a/full/

Sunamp signs its first major UK contract

Ben Welter - Friday, June 07, 2019

Sunamp Ltd. has signed a memo of understanding to supply its PCM-based heat batteries to Fischer Future Heat under an original equipment manufacturer contract. Sunamp, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, says the deal involves "many thousands" of units and will be worth seven figures as sales ramp up. Leicester-based Fischer began selling the product, dubbed the Aquafficient, in February.

Andrew BissellIn an email interview, Sunamp CEO Andrew Bissell filled in a few details on the deal.

Q: Can you tell me about the PCM aspects of this product?

A: "Sunamp’s success in making a super-stable (40,000+ cycles tested) salt hydrate PCM (very energy dense) at 58C and combining it (in a highly insulated, cuboid enclosure) with a very high power heat exchanger (high power, high flow rate hot water) made a whole class of heat battery devices possible. Not least electric water heaters, with about 4x the energy density of a classic electric hot water tank and 5+ gallon per minute performance. A key innovation (patent pending around the details) was to use electric elements immersed inside the PCM to melt the PCM and charge the heat battery."

Q: What can you tell me about the manufacturing process?

A: "Because Aquafficient by Fischer Future Heat is based on Sunamp UniQ, it’s effectively been in production at Sunamp Factory for nearly a year. 

"By going down this OEM white label route, Fischer Future Heat could hit the ground running with Aquafficient - which they did! Sunamp’s manufacturing has had to scale already this year from 75 units a month to 75 units a week, with 75 a day on the near horizon. This to keep up with exponentially rising combined demand from Fischer, other OEMs, and large housing and regeneration projects.

“We keep scaling production and the demand keeps outpacing us! We're working really hard on scaling up production and appreciate our partners’ and their customers patience when they sometimes have to wait quite a number of weeks for the product they want.”

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/heat-storage-battery-pioneer-sunamp-16252849

Patent application: Composite construction panels and applications thereof

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 06, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190161967 (applicant Phase Change Energy Solutions, Asheboro, N.C.):

"In one aspect, composite construction materials are described herein. In some embodiments, a composite construction panel comprises a substrate layer, a cover layer separated from the substrate layer by one or more spacers, and at least one mat disposed between the substrate layer and the cover layer, wherein the mat comprises at least one phase change material disposed in at least one phase change region."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190161967.pdf

Patent application: Method and device for heating a mold

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 06, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190168432 (assignee Roctool, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France):

"A mold, particularly for injection molding, includes a shell defining a cavity delimiting a molding surface, a heat accumulator and inductor heater, configured to heat the heat accumulator. A receiving surface, which is a part of a surface of the shell other than the molding surface, is either exposed to or shielded from the heat of heat accumulator, to bring the entire molding surface to a predetermined temperature to inject the material into the cavity. ... [The] heat accumulator comprises a phase change material. This embodiment makes it possible to store thermal energy in the latent phase change heat of said material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190168432.pdf

Patent application: Heating a sports device

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 06, 2019

Drawing of lacrosse stick with PCM

U.S. patent application 20190168091 (applicant Robert Marc Goldberg, Fayetteville, N.Y.):

"A sports device configured to generate thermal energy to warm surfaces. In one implementation, the sports device embodies a lacrosse stick with a shaft and head. The shaft includes a thermal core with a phase change material that can retain and dissipate heat over an extended period of time. ... Suitable materials may maximize energy storage per unit volume/mass so as to add little weight to the lacrosse stick but still maintain surfaces at temperatures for extended periods. This feature can make the lacrosse stick comfortable for the player to grasp and to handle during game play and practice."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190168091.pdf

Patent application: Polyurethane gel particles, methods and use in flexible foams

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 06, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190169390 (applicant Peterson Chemical Technology LLC, Austin, Texas):

"Combinations of open cell flexible foams with polyurethane gel particles, and methods of making the combinations are described using a variety of procedures. The open cell flexible foam may partially or wholly comprise polyurethane foam and latex foam. ... The composition of claim 1 where the polyurethane gel particles contain at least one phase change material with a solid/liquid phase transition temperature range of from about −10° F. to about 220° F. (about −23° C. to about 104° C.)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190169390.pdf

Research roundup: Energy management of household refrigerator; borehole heat exchangers; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 06, 2019

From Energy:

Energy management of a household refrigerator using eutectic environmental friendly PCMs in a cascaded condition
Use of encapsulated phase change materials in lightweight building walls for annual thermal regulation
Screening of sugar alcohols and their binary eutectic mixtures as phase change materials for low-to-medium temperature thermal energy storage.

From Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research:

Biodegradable Polymeric Solid Framework-based Organic Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

From Renewable Energy:

Thermal Management and Uniform Temperature Regulation of Photovoltaic Modules Using Hybrid Phase Change Materials-Nanofluids System
Polyethylene glycol/silica (PEG@SiO2) composite inspired by the synthesis of mesoporous materials as shape-stabilized phase change material for energy storage

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Thermal buffering effect of a packaging design with microencapsulated phase change material
Laboratory investigation on the use of thermally enhanced phase change material to improve the performance of borehole heat exchangers for ground source heat pumps

From IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering:

Thermal properties of cool asphalt concrete containing phase change material

From International Journal of Advance Research and Innovation:

Experimental Investigation of Thermal energy storage with phase changing material [pdf]

From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:

Experimental study on thermal storage and heat transfer performance of microencapsulated phase-change material slurry

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Thermal conductivity modification of n-octanoic acid-myristic acid composite phase change material

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Experimental study of enhanced PCM exchangers applied in a thermal energy storage system for personal cooling

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Development of paraffinic phase change material nanoemulsions for thermal energy storage and transport in low-temperature applications
Effect of micro encapsulated phase change material on the anti-dry-out ability of pulsating heat pipes

From Construction and Building Materials:

Integrating phase change materials in construction materials: Critical review

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Compatibility of vegetable oils with solid filler materials for thermocline thermal energy storage systems
Novel paraffin/ethylene propylene diene monomer phase change latex with excellent stability and low viscosity

From Applied Materials and Interfaces:

Natural Microtubule-Encapsulated Phase-Change Material with Simultaneously High Latent Heat Capacity and Enhanced Thermal Conductivity

From Applied Energy:

System performance and economic assessment of a thermal energy storage based air-conditioning unit for transport applications
Experimental investigation of a cementitious heat storage medium incorporating a solar salt/diatomite composite phase change material