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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.




Kettering professors partner with Warmilu to improve incubator blanket

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Warmilu's incubator blanket

Two physics professors at Kettering University are working with a Michigan startup on an incubator blanket designed to help preterm infants born in remote parts of developing countries. The goal is to make Warmilu's IncuBlanket stay warmer longer.

"The 8-by-16-inch pouch is filled with phase change material," reports Michigan Live. "To get it warm, all a mother needs to do is boil it and place it in the blanket. Once the warming pack cools to room temperature, there is a spring to push to release more energy and more heat for a few more hours." 

Warmilu says the reusable packs can now maintain a temperature of 37º Celsius for two to five hours. The company hopes to extend that time to six to eight hours.

Research roundup: Flame retardancy of shape-stabilized PCMs; graphite nanoplates; phase change slurries; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Flame retardance property of shape-stabilized phase change materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Graphite nanoplates loading into eutectic mixture of adipic acid and sebacic acid as phase change material [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Numerical modeling of heat transfer in open-cell micro-foam with phase change material [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Simulation study on dynamic heat transfer performance of PCM-filled glass window with different thermophysical parameters of phase change material [Energy and Buildings]

Effect of carbon nanotube interfacial geometry on thermal transport in solid–liquid phase change materials [Applied Energy]

Numerical analysis of thermal storage performance with high-temperature phase change materials operated by condensing steam [Solar Energy]

Comparison of phase change slurries: Physicochemical and thermal properties [Energy]

Macroencapsulation and characterization of phase change materials for latent heat thermal energy storage systems [Applied Energy]

Patent application: Air conditioning system with supercooled PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Carrier patent application 20150135743

U.S. patent application 20150135743 (assignee Carrier Corp., Farmington, Conn.): "An air conditioning system includes a chiller system including a compressor, a condenser, an expansion device and an evaporator; a phase change material in thermal communication with the condenser; an actuator coupled to the phase change material; and a controller providing a trigger signal to the actuator to initiate changing the phase change material from a supercooled state to a solid state."

NETenergy wins $40,000 at University of Chicago's New Venture Challenge

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Chicago startup NETenergy, an energy storage and management services provider, raked in $40,000 at the University of Chicago's Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge this week.

NETenergy, which won the $100,000 prize at the Clean Energy Trust Challenge earlier this year, was awarded $30,000 from the New Venture Challenge, plus a $10,000 Khosa Maker Prize. The company's thermal energy storage units use phase change composites to store cold energy, allowing customers to shift A/C production to off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper. The units are paired with software that manages energy use.

Maestro, which is developing a countertop device that can cook pre-portioned healthy foods, won the challenge's top prize of $50,000, plus $20,000 from Pritzker Group Venture Capital.

Advanced energy storage market expected to reach $6.93 billion by 2022

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

The global market for advanced energy storage systems is expected to reach $6.93 billion by 2022, according to Grand View Research.

"Rising electricity consumption on a daily basis coupled with increasing energy supply-demand gap has resulted in high need for storage capacity additions," according to the report. Thermal energy storage technology, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of capacity, will continue to dominate the market, "owing to high effectiveness in energy capturing and storing temporarily for use after a stipulated time period."

Research roundup: Laminar convection heat transfer; PCM-enhanced building components

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review of Laminar Convection Heat-Transfer with Microencapsulated Phase Change Material Slurry [Advances in Intelligent Systems Research]

•  Overview of Basic Solid–Liquid PCMs Used in Building Envelopes—Thermal and Energy Modeling of PCM-Enhanced Building Envelopes Methods, Encapsulation, and Thermal Enhancement [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Short History of PCM Applications in Building Envelopes [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Thermal and Energy Modeling of PCM-Enhanced Building Envelopes [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Phase change material cool for schools, says BASF's Tony Heslop

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tony Heslop, BASFTony Heslop, regional market development manager at BASF, weighs in on Britain's $3 billion school repair and improvement program.

"Under the initiative," he writes in the May issue of the Construction Index magazine, "draught-free ventilation is now mandatory and there is an expectation that passive cooling using thermal mass will be included in a school design." Adding thermal mass in the form of plasterboard and ceiling tiles infused with phase change material can help designers comply with the new standards.

Leading interdisciplinary team helped PCM researcher see big picture

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dr. Sarah McCormackIn an interview on the European Cooperation in Science and Technology website, an assistant professor of engineering at Dublin's Trinity College talks about how COST has helped her see the big picture in her research.

Sarah McCormack chaired COST Action TU0802, developing an interdisciplinary community focused on renewable energy systems and phase change material.

"The main aim was to develop new materials for renewable energy storage applications in terms of heating and cooling, particularly renewable applications," she said. "This did not necessarily mean coming up with new modeling techniques, but more accurate ones, by finding ways to incorporate phase change materials or thermal energy storage processes into software readily available. ... The COST Action gave me a chance to meet other experts, look at the small-scale buildings aspects, and helped me understand how we can integrate these renewable energy systems."

Patent application: Phase change material pack for air conditioning system

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150121944 (assignee: VKR Holding A/S, Denmark): "A phase change material (PCM) pack for an air conditioning system comprises phase change material sealed between a first thermally conductive layer forming a first outer surface of the PCM pack and a second thermally conductive layer forming a second outer surface of the PCM pack. At least the first or second outer surface of the PCM pack takes the form of a substantially planar surface having defined therein a plurality of depressions deviating from the planar surface towards the interior of the PCM pack in a direction perpendicular to the planar surface. The depressions improve heat transfer between the pack and an airflow passing over the surface of the PCM pack."

Research roundup: Mini-emulsion polymerization; microcapsules in garments; diesel engine waste heat recovery

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Poly(methyl methacrylate) copolymer nanocapsules containing phase-change material (n-dodecanol) prepared via miniemulsion polymerization [Journal of Applied Polymer Science]

Influences of the PCM Microcapsules on Thermal Properties of the Garment [pdf] [International Conference on Information Sciences, Machinery, Materials and Energy]

Experimental Investigation of a Cascaded Latent Heat Storage System for Diesel Engine Waste Heat Recovery [Energy Sources]