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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.




ARPA-E seeks technology-to-market scholars, fellows

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 05, 2015

ARPA-E is accepting applications for technology-to-market scholars and fellows. During their 8- to 12-week tenure, scholars will conduct analysis and research to support the commercialization of ARPA-E's energy technology projects and programs. During their two-year tenure, ARPA-E fellows will focus on identifying breakthrough energy technologies.

Market for microencapsulated PCM in construction is projected to top $111 million in 2018

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The global market for microencapsulated phase change material in building and construction will reach $111.4 million in 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan. That's nearly double the size of the market in 2013 and reflects a compound annual growth rate of 14.8 percent. 

"MPCMs can provide thermal mass in buildings on a smaller scale of material mass and weight while regulating temperature comfort, making them suitable in compact and lightweight building structures," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Raghu Tantry. "Focus on green buildings has also increased the range of applications for construction products incorporating MPCM."

Project Exergy aims to tap cloud computing's excess heat

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Lawrence OrsiniCloud-based data centers generate a lot of excess heat. Can it be harnessed to heat homes? New York inventor Lawrence Orsini thinks so. He has proposed installing distributed supercomputers in homes and offices to reduce heating bills and energy consumption. Orsini's Project Exergy seeks to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter. 

A prototype of the heat storage system uses a water tank. A future version will use phase change material to store the heat.

High-tech prosthetic leg a perfect fit for active amputee

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 03, 2015

An inspiring story from, a website that covers the prosthetics and orthotics community:

Kevin JohnsonThirty-six years ago, Kevin Johnson lost his right leg below the knee in a combine accident on his family's farm in Ohio. As a teen, he avoided "painful" prosthetics and used crutches to get around. But he knew that was not a good long-term solution. He eventually found a prosthetic leg that worked well enough to support an active life. Johnson's work involves operating bulldozers and piloting helicopters, and he also races motorcycles and ropes cattle. When the prosthetic broke, as it did often, he used a welding torch and duct tape to fix it.

By the end of 2007, the prosthetic leg was broken beyond repair. Johnson got in touch with WillowWood, a prosthetics company in Ohio that was looking for amputees to test technology being developed for military veterans: a prosthetic system that features vacuum pressure, intelligent controls and phase change material. He was the perfect test patient, offering developers valuable feedback and pushing the leg to its limits.

The result: A high-performance prosthetic leg that fits better and is far more comfortable than its predecessors, thanks to the PCM-infused liner that absorbs heat and reduces perspiration and skin irritation.

A primer on temperature-regulating mattress components

Ben Welter - Monday, February 02, 2015

BedTimes magazine, "the business journal for the sleep products industry," offers a 2,000-word primer on the challenge of regulating temperatures in today's all-foam and hybrid mattresses. 

“Companies are becoming more innovative with the applications they use PCMs in — from fabrics to foams to gels and fill,” said Joe Wehrle, director of sales for Microtek Laboratories Inc. “The mattress marketplace is experiencing the cooling/warming effects that PCM technology provides, helping to create the ‘perfect sleep experience’ that end users value. Every day, new and inventive products are being introduced in the bedding segment which capitalize on the thermal benefits of phase change materials.”

Research roundup: Porous MgO material; gravity-assisted heat pipe; double-skin facade; more

Ben Welter - Monday, February 02, 2015

  • Porous MgO Material with Ultrahigh Surface Area as the Matrix for Phase Change Composite [Thermochimica Acta]

  • Study on the thermal storage performance of a gravity-assisted heat-pipe thermal storage unit with granular high-temperature phase-change materials [Energy]

  • Energy performance of a ventilated double skin facade with PCM under different climates [Energy and Buildings]

  • Multi-mode heat transfer analysis during freezing of an encapsulated storage medium [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

  • Fabrication and Performances of Microencapsulated Palmitic Acid with Enhanced Thermal Properties [Energy Fuels]

  • Research roundup: Melamine resin shell; frustum-shaped storage units; more

    Ben Welter - Monday, February 02, 2015

  • Microencapsulation mechanism and size control of fragrance microcapsules with melamine resin shell [Colloids and Surfaces]

  • Enhanced heat transfer for PCM melting in the frustum-shaped unit with multiple PCMs [Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry]

  • Diurnal thermal analysis of microencapsulated PCM-concrete composite walls [Energy Conversion and Management]

  • Using Generalized Integral Transforms to solve a perturbation model for a packed bed thermal energy storage tank [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

  • Numerical modeling of aquifer thermal energy efficiency under regional groundwater flow: a case study at Oslo Airport [Hydrology Research]

  • Annual growth of 28.9% projected for biobased PCM market in Americas

    Ben Welter - Friday, January 30, 2015

    The compound annual growth rate for the biobased phase change material market in the Americas is projected to be 28.9 percent between 2013 and 2018, according to MicroMarket Monitor's latest report on the topic. That's an increase of nearly 2 percentage points over the rate projected in MicroMarket's October report.

    The new report, to be published Feb. 17, attributes much of the growth to regulatory changes encouraging wider use of these renewable, green alternatives to paraffin-based PCMs.

    Syracuse-led team wins $3.2 million ARPA-E grant

    Ben Welter - Thursday, January 29, 2015

    A team led by Syracuse University has been awarded a $3.2 million grant by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to develop a "micro environmental control system" for office buildings. The team, which also includes Air Innovations, Cornell University, United Technologies Research Center and Bush Technical LLC, is working on a micro vapor compression system that has an evaporator embedded in phase change material. 

    The cooling produced by the micro vapor will be stored in the PCM at night and released during the day. The unit, about the size of a desktop computer, will maintain comfortable micro climates and allow thermostats for bigger spaces to be set 4º F higher or lower than is now typical. The team's goal is to achieve at least a 15 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs.

    Webinar on smart coatings market research is set for Feb. 11

    Ben Welter - Thursday, January 29, 2015

    Industry analyst NanoMarkets will hold a webinar on Feb. 11 to present its latest report on the smart coatings market. The report projects that market, which includes phase change materials, will grow from around $610 million in 2015 to $5.8 billion in 2020. Webinar topics include:

  • The impact of trends such as the decline in energy prices and the war on terror.

  • Insight on self-healing, self-cleaning and self-assembling coatings.

  • The outlook for wearable electronics and the Internet of Things.