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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.




Research roundup: PCMs for building applications; concretes and mortars; nanoparticle dispersion; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 03, 2015

  • Phase change materials for building applications: A state-of-the-art review and future research opportunities [Energy and Buildings]

  • Mechanical and thermo-physical behaviour of concretes and mortars containing phase change material [Energy and Buildings]

  • A review on thermophysical properties of nanoparticle-dispersed phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

  • Study on solidification of phase change material in fractal porous metal foam [Fractals]

  • Improving the efficiency of photovoltaic cells using PCM-infused graphite and aluminum fins [Solar Energy]

  • Performance of indirect through pass natural convective solar crop dryer with phase change thermal energy storage [Renewable Energy]

  • Thermal energy storage properties of the capric acid–stearic acid binary system and 48# paraffin–liquid paraffin binary system [International Journal of Sustainable Energy]

  • Research roundup: Hydrated salts/silica; population balance modeling; HVAC retrofit; TES caverns; more

    Ben Welter - Monday, March 02, 2015

  • The dependence of phase change enthalpy on the pore structure and interfacial groups in hydrated salts/silica composites via sol-gel [Journal of Colloid and Interface Science]

  • Time-Temperature Charge Function of a High Dynamic Thermal Heat Storage with Phase Change Material [Energy and Power Engineering]

  • Performance of Suspended Finned Heat Pipes in High-temperature Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

  • Numerical investigation of hydrodynamics and thermal performance of a specially configured heat pipe for high-temperature thermal energy storage systems [Applied Thermal Engineering]

  • Population balance modeling for the charging process of a PCM cold energy storage tank [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

  • Development and Optimization of an Innovative HVAC System with Integrated PVT and PCM Thermal Storage for a Net-Zero Energy Retrofitted House [Energy and Buildings]

  • Effect of separation distance on the mechanical stability and thermal performance of twin hot-water storage caverns [Solar Energy]

  • Corrosion properties of a ternary nitrate/nitrite molten salt in concentrated solar technology [Renewable Energy]

  • In buildings across Australia, PCM use is state of the art (and science)

    Ben Welter - Monday, March 02, 2015

    An Australian magazine offers a wide-ranging look at how architects, designers and engineers are using phase change materials in the land down under. Products made by BASF, DuPont, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Tate Access Floors, GlassX and Phase Change Products can be found in high-tech concrete, wallboard, glass and cooling systems across Australia.

    Bed show buzz: Temperature-regulating foams and fibers

    Ben Welter - Friday, February 27, 2015

    In its recap of last month's bedding trade show in Las Vegas, BedTimes magazine highlights two PCM-related "megatrends":

    "Foam wave. The swelling popularity of foam components in all feels—often with poured gel and other temperature-regulating ingredients, cuts, contours, processes and treatments—cannot be overstated. Period."

    "Yarns and fibers at the forefront. Many accessories and mattress fabrics contained viscose yarns that vendors sang the praises of—from 'cooling' to 'antibacterial.' Merino and other wools, organic cotton and other natural fibers had a strong showing among pillow and quilt fills. Other linens and accessories moved in the opposite direction—think polyester 'performance fibers.' "

    Patent application: Composite construction panels and applications

    Ben Welter - Friday, February 27, 2015

    U.S. patent application 20150056404 (assignee Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc.):

    "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."

    Armstrong says PCM ceiling tiles can help schools meet new rules

    Ben Welter - Friday, February 27, 2015

    Jeremy SumerayArmstrong Ceilings hosted a seminar in London this month explaining how schools can meet new regulations aimed at improving ventilation and thermal comfort in British classrooms.

    Phase 2 of the Priority School Building Programme will rebuild or refurbish 277 schools across England at a cost of more than $3 billion.

    Jeremy Sumeray, Armstrong’s head of sustainability, said the new Priority School Building Programme provides an ideal opportunity to install lightweight thermal mass. According to a report in Specification Online:

    "He revealed how the use of such lightweight thermal mass – recyclable ceiling tiles which incorporate phase change material (PCM) - in a classroom at Belvoir High School in Nottingham had resulted in consistently lower peak temperatures with natural ventilation compared to an identical classroom with standard ceiling tiles."

    Qatar's World Cup cooling solution 'very, very expensive'

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup hinged partly on the promise of a pioneering method for cooling stadiums in the tiny emirate's searing summer heat, which can hit 50º Celsius in June. A 500-seat prototype showed how solar power, chillers and phase change material could be combined to chill and store water to cool stadium air and keep temperatures below 27º C on the field.

    Artist's rendering of Al-Gharafa stadiumObservers were skeptical of the solution, and this week a FIFA task force recommended moving the international soccer tournament to November-December 2022. The panel cited the "consistently hot conditions" that prevail in the desert peninsula.

    FIFA is expected to approve the move. Still, organizers say they're going ahead with the cooling plan, which has been criticized as overly ambitious and "not good from a long-term sustainability point of view." 

    "Basically, you use the heat to produce cold," Graeme Maidment, professor of air conditioning and refrigeration at London South Bank University told the BBC. "It's doable. But it's going to be very, very expensive."

    New BASF app calculates impact of PCM use in buildings

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    PCM app screen shotBASF has just launched an Android app to help architects, engineers and investors assess the impact of phase change materials on a building's cooling load. The free app, which also includes tips for PCM users and links to industry research, calculates potential energy savings based on building materials that incorporate BASF's Micronal phase change material. According to the app description in Google's Play Store:

    "Just enter the cooling load of a building conventionally calculated according to VDI 2078. After entering some additional data on the building situation and the desired PCM building material, you are provided with a figure which is a reduction factor for this cooling load, optimized for the application in question. This reduction factor is calculated on the basis of forecast dynamic simulations in standard rooms and applies the user's data to a suitable reference building, extrapolating it to the actual construction project in question.

    "The app also takes economic efficiency into account and shows the user the break-even point when the costs required for buying and installing the PCM construction material have been covered by savings in facility investments and energy."

    Innostorage training to focus on numerical modeling of thermal energy storage systems

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Innostorage, an international research project aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low-cost thermal energy storage, is offering a training session on numerical modeling. Participants will gather June 15-17 at the University of Lyon, France, to discuss their own ideas and hear lectures by Dr. Gennady Ziskind of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Dr. Albert Castell of the University of Lleida, Spain, and other experts in thermal energy storage and phase change materials.