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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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Research roundup: Hardened cement paste, energy storage containers, nanocomposites

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

  • Thermophysical and Mechanical Properties of Hardened Cement Paste with Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials for Energy Storage [Materials]

  • Thermal Performance Evaluation of Two Thermal Energy Storage Tank Design Concepts for Use with a Solid Particle Receiver-Based Solar Power Tower [Energies]

  • Experimental study on solving the blocking for the direct contact mobilized thermal energy storage container [Applied Thermal Engineering]

  • Thermal conductivity enhancement of lauric acid phase change nanocomposite in solid and liquid state with single-walled carbon nanohorn inclusions [Thermochimica Acta] 
  • PCMs enlisted in fight against Ebola

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Cooling garments powered by phase change material are among the innovations advancing in the U.S. Agency for International Development's "Fighting Ebola: a Grand Challenge for Development."

    The program, begun in October, is focused on finding innovative ways to help health care workers contain the Ebola virus and provide better care for people who contract it. More than 1,500 ideas from around the world have been submitted to the program.    

    The first round of awards focuses on improving the safety and comfort of the personal protective equipment worn by health care workers in the heat and humidity of West Africa. 

    USAID is partnering with the Global Good Fund/Intellectual Ventures to rapidly evaluate several cooling solutions, including off-the-shelf, rapidly deployable cooling garments now used by military. These garments can be worn under personal protective equipment. 

    Other ideas winning support:


    http://www.ebolagrandchallenge.net/news/2014/12/12/united-states-announces-results-of-grand-challenge-to-fight-ebola

    Western Refrigeration using PCMs in coolers, freezers

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    In countries like India, where power failures are commonplace, refrigerators and freezers need backup. Western Refrigeration and other manufacturers are incorporating phase change material in their coolers and freezers to keep food cold during outages -- and help the appliances operate more efficiently. 

    http://www.process-worldwide.com/engineering_construction/operational_excellence/operational_excellence/articles/470050

    Global demand for PCMs projected to hit $1.47 billion by 2019

    Ben Welter - Monday, December 15, 2014

    The global demand for advanced phase change materials is expected to reach $1.47 billion by 2019. The latest research report on the industry by Markets and Markets attributes the growth to increasing demand for advanced PCM in several areas, including thermal energy storage, building/construction, HVAC, cold chain, shipping, packaging/transportation, textiles and electronics.

    The main types of advanced PCMs are salt hydrates, paraffins and biobased compounds. "Biobased PCM is estimated to have the highest CAGR from 2014 to 2019," the report said. "Prices of biobased PCM are also likely to fall significantly during the same period."

    http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/advanced-phase-change-material-pcm-market-1087.html

    Seattle building wins ASHRAE technology award

    Ben Welter - Monday, December 15, 2014

    Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District headquarters

    A three-story Seattle office building is one of nine projects recognized for innovative design with an ASHRAE Technology Award. Federal Center South, home to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District, received first place in the new commercial buildings category.

    Among the innovative energy conservation technologies incorporated in the 209,000-square-foot building are thermal energy storage using phase change material and "a 100% outside air ventilation system with heat recovery of exhaust serving a raised floor ventilation air distribution system." 

    The projected annual energy cost for the building was modeled at $80,740, compared to ASHRAE's baseline of $135,791.

    http://www.esmagazine.com/articles/96914-ashrae-announces-technology-award-winners

    Research roundup: Synthesized polymeric solid-solid PCMs, corrosion of metal containers and more

    Ben Welter - Friday, December 12, 2014

    PCMs, the gift that keeps on giving

    Ben Welter - Thursday, December 11, 2014

    Phase change materials are appearing in more consumer goods every year. In the spirit of the season, we'll share links to PCM-themed gift ideas over the next few weeks.

  • Fohm Inc.'s Silhouette Pillow, "a pillow that stays cool all night long," uses phase change material in two ways: PCMs are embedded in the memory foam and in one side of the liner. 


  • Kjus Hawk ski jacket
  • Thanks to PCMs, the Kjus Hawk ski jacket "absorbs heat when you have plenty of it, and re-releases it when you need more." Assuming you have $1,200 to spare. 


  • Oppo's R5 smartphone, aimed at consumers in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Australia, uses phase change material to "keep it at a constant cool temperature" and maintain functionality. With a width of 4.85 mm, it is advertised as the world's thinnest phone.


  • Designed by Science Photo Library, these greeting cards feature scanning electron microscope images of PCM-laden microcapsules embedded in fabric. 

  • Surface water TES system honored

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    IF Technology of the Netherlands has received a Sustainable Urban Delta Award for its innovative thermal energy storage system for a residential complex in Wageningen. The system takes advantage of temperature differences in surface water near the complex. In summer, for example, warm water is stored in an aquifer thermal storage system that helps heat the complex in winter. Overall, the system is said to be 25 percent more efficient than a conventional seasonal TES system.

    The Delta Award recognizes Dutch companies that offer innovative solutions to the climate-change challenges faced by cities in low-lying, densely populated coastal areas with large river estuaries.

    http://www.dutchwatersector.com/news-events/news/12539-if-technology-and-deltasync-win-first-sustainable-urban-delta-awards-2014.html

    Trend toward smart textiles is driving growth in microencapsulated PCMs

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

    The latest Frost & Sullivan research on the global market for microencapsulated phase change materials in textiles and mattresses is out. F&S reports that the industry earned revenues of $45.1 million in 2013 and projects that number will reach $99 million in 2018.

    The report covers fibers, yarns, fabrics, foams and gels that incorporate microencapsulated PCMs. F&S says the trend toward smart textiles that comfortably regulate temperature is driving the use of microencapsulated PCMs in clothing and mattresses.  

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/enhanced-comfort-offered-by-microencapsulated-phase-change-materials-drives-use-in-textiles-and-mattresses-300005869.html

    Research roundup: Graphene aerogel, polyaniline-based polymer shells, smart composites and more

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014