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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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Patent application: Method and system for thermal cooling of an enclosure

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190154282 (applicant International Business Machines Corp., Armonk, N.Y.):

"A computer-implemented mitigation and warning method, system, and computer program product including detecting an enclosure temperature via an enclosure temperature probe and activating, via a controller, a thermoelectric device when the enclosure temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold temperature to transfer heat between an enclosure and a phase change material (PCM) to cause the PCM to change phase and cool the enclosure."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190154282.pdf

Patent application: Motor vehicle fuel pump cover

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

BMW patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190153984 (applicant Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Munich, Germany):

"A motor vehicle fuel pump cover is provided for covering a fuel guide region of a motor vehicle fuel pump by way of a cover housing. A phase change core is received in the cover housing. The phase change core is designed to change the phase state thereof while receiving thermal energy from the fuel guide region. The phase change core is designed for phase change at a temperature of more than 60° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190153984.pdf

Patent application: Devices and methods for thawing biological material

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190152676 (applicant Celularity Inc., Warren, N.J.):

"Provided herein are improved devices for thawing frozen biological material (e.g., cells). The devices described herein are designed to ensure that the container (e.g., tube or vial) which holds the frozen biological material to be thawed is consistently and thoroughly in contact with the source of heat and thus promotes rapid thawing of the biological material. ... [The apparatus comprises] (i) a sealed first compartment comprising material that undergoes a phase change when heated to a certain temperature, (ii) a plurality of compartments comprising a source of heat, and (iii) an additional plurality of compartments into which a plurality of containers containing frozen biological material can be placed, and (iii) a temperature controller that allows setting said certain temperature to 37° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190152676.pdf

Patent application: Insulation material arrangement

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

Wall insulation material patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20190153722 (applicant Schmetzer Industries Holdings Pty Ltd, Hornsby, Australia):

"An insulating material arrangement (10) is disclosed for insulating a building structure such as a wall. The material arrangement includes a planar backing layer (12), a planar adhesive layer (14) co-planar with the backing layer and a planar phase change material (“PCM”) layer (16) which is arranged between the backing layer and the adhesive layer, and is also co-planar therewith. The adhesive layer is adapted to secure the material arrangement to the structure in a fitted condition in which the adhesive layer is contacted with the building structure. The PCM layer is formed of a silicone foam polymer that is impregnated in some embodiments with micro-encapsulated phase change material in the form of beads, shells or granules, and in another arrangement, the PCM layer can also comprise a silicone foam polymer that is impregnated with a phase change material which is absorbed into an amount of porous, inorganic, finely-sized particulate solids (a so-called “bound PCM”)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190153722.pdf

Patent application: Methods and systems for energy recovery via an EGR cooler

Ben Welter - Friday, May 17, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190145359 (assignee Ford Global Technologies LLC, Dearborn, Mich.):

"Methods and systems are provided for an EGR [exhaust gas recirculation] cooler comprising a phase-change material. In one example, exhaust gas may be conducted through the EGR cooler when an engine is deactivated to maintain an engine temperature. ... The phase-change material may extract heat from the hot exhaust gas conducted through the cooler, and thus serves as an additional heat sink but also as an energy store. In other words, the cooler equipped with the phase-change material according to the disclosure may extract more energy from the exhaust gas than a conventional cooler which uses only coolant. This offers advantages in the case of large exhaust-gas quantities which occur at high engine speeds or loads, and in particular at the high exhaust-gas temperatures which occur at high loads."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190145359.pdf

Croda adds 2 biobased phase change materials to its lineup

Ben Welter - Friday, May 17, 2019

Marco AuerbachCroda International Plc introduced two new biobased phase change materials, CrodaTherm 32 and CrodaTherm 37, in March. The British specialty chemicals maker developed the products at its PCM lab in Gouda, Netherlands. Marco Auerbach, technology development manager, said development work began about three years ago. He discussed the project in an email interview.

Q: What prompted Croda to create these PCMs -- customer requests, anticipated demand based on market analysis or a combination of factors?

A: "A combination of factors. Market demand was picked up by various means and also verified by customers, which prompted us at one point to start the development."

Q: What was your role in development of these PCMs?

A: "I am leading the technical development of PCMs within Croda. Therefore my task was to put a team together to find the right chemistry for the best possible technical product properties. Mainly meaning high latent heat, narrow melting and crystallization points and high cycle stability."

Q: Did the team surmount any unexpected challenges, technical or otherwise? 

A: "As with most developments, our project team also encountered challenges and set-backs. We had a few options to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. One challenge that is and will be taking more effort and time in future are chemicals registrations in various countries, but also raw material availability and pricing can have an impact."

Q: What specs can you share on each of the products, such as composition, peak melt point and latent heat storage capacity?

A: "For each launched PCM we have Product Data Sheets (PDS) available, so we also issued these for CrodaTherm 32 and CrodaTherm 37. They can be found on our website,  www.crodatherm.com. CrodaTherm 32 has a melting temperature of 32°C and crystallizes at 29.5°C. Latent heat is 190 kJ/kg. For CrodaTherm 37 melting takes place at 36.8°C, crystallization at 35°C and latent heat is 203 kJ/kg, measured by DSC."

Q: Do the new products have any properties, such as latent heat storage capacity or material compatibility, that set them apart from competing products?

A: "It is important to define which competing products or technologies one compares our products with, but in general our PCMs are produced from renewable resources and are also biodegradable. They are non-corrosive to metals and have long-term stability. Another big advantage is the very much lower evaporation and higher flash points compared to the current paraffin industry standards."

Q: What applications are suited to each of the two PCMs?

A: "We do not define the applications our products can be used for, but we have seen most interest in personal cooling and heating applications, as well as temperature-controlled shipments. We are still regularly surprised where and how customers sometimes want to use our CrodaTherm PCMs."

Q: In what formats are the two PCMs available -- bulk, macroencapsulated, microencapsulated?

A: "Both CrodaTherms are available in IBCs and drums. We go down in size to about 16 kg pails as the lowest pack size, but on request other options are possible. Croda does not offer macro encapsulation as we see ourselves as PCM suppliers, not wanting to compete with our customers at the user level. We feel that our customers and partners are better equipped to do this from a technical and customer support point of view. Croda does give advice on materials compatibility and connect our customers with our partners for macro encapsulation though. We do offer micro encapsulated CrodaTherm and also plan to offer CrodaTherm 32 in micro encapsulated form. If there is interest, we will also consider to micro encapsulate CrodaTherm 37."

Q: In a LinkedIn post this month, Croda announced: "All our CrodaTherm materials are USDA certified bio based products." Croda lists 14 CrodaTherm materials on its site; I see only 13 CrodaTherm products listed on biopreferred.gov. Missing from the USDA list is CrodaTherm 9.5. Has that product been certified yet?

A: "CrodaTherm 9.5 is also a product that only has been launched quite recently. We target to have all our products on the USDA bio-preferred list and I am confident CrodaTherm 9.5 will be added to it as well, but all things take time. We expect this registration can be added to the list shortly."

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: "The development of new products and the joy when customers actually like the product and are buying it. At that point all the puzzle pieces come together and you know that the hard work is paying off. I am particularly pleased with our CrodaTherm PCMs because they do not only help to improve/protect the environment while in use (especially for building cooling/heating applications), but they are also made from renewable raw materials and are bio-degradable. The environment is important to me and as a developer I am really happy I can have a contribution in a sustainable future."

PCM briefing: Axiotherm wins smarter E Award; update on Malta thermal battery project

Ben Welter - Friday, May 17, 2019

Axiotherm GmbH of Germany was among the winners at this year's smarter E Awards in Munich. Axiotherm was honored in the renewable energy category for kraftBoxx, a thermal energy storage system that uses phase change technology for heating and hot water. The company says kraftBoxx has a higher energy storage capacity than conventional heat and cold storage systems. KraftBoxx is a joint development with Klara Energy and Tuxhorn within the scope of the PCM-based HeatSel product line marketed by Axiotherm. 

China says it will raise tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods June 1, including palmitic acid, stearic acid and their salts and esters. The move is response to the U.S. tariff hike on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that took effect on May 10.  

• In an interview with SolarPACES, Malta Inc. engineer Sebastian Freund provides an update on the Massachusetts company's plans to develop a standalone thermal storage battery using molten salts. “We plan to build a pilot plant with 10MW power and at least six hours of storage duration, depending on customer specifications,” Freund said. Malta hopes to attract enough investors over the next three years to complete an 80MWh thermal energy storage pilot.

Research roundup: High-conductivity nanomaterials; paper board packaging; battery thermal management; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 16, 2019

From Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental and numerical analysis of composite latent heat storage in cooling systems for power electronics

From Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology:

A robust, flexible superhydrophobic sheet fabricated by in situ growth of micro-nano-SiO2 particles from cured silicone rubber

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

High-conductivity nanomaterials for enhancing thermal performance of latent heat thermal energy storage systems

From Building Simulation:

Optimization and sensitivity analysis of design parameters for a ventilation system using phase change materials

From Journal of Packaging Technology and Research:

Thermal Analysis of Paper Board Packaging with Phase Change Material: A Numerical Study

From Energy Storage:

Thermal performance of battery thermal management system using composite matrix coupled with mini‐channel

From Phase Transitions:

A study on preparation and properties of carbon materials/myristic acid composite phase change thermal energy storage materials

From ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces:

Melamine Foam Supported Form-stable Phase Change Materials with Simultaneous Thermal Energy Storage and Shape Memory Property for Thermal Management of Electronic Devices

From International Conference on Thermal Engineering:

Performance Enhancement of Unitary and Packaged Air Conditioners With Phase Change Material
Performance Comparison of Different Phase Change Materials For Solar Cooking During off Sun Sunshine Hours
A Review on Enhancement of Thermophysical Properties of Paraffin Wax PCM With Nanomaterials
Nano-Enhanced PCMs for Low Temperature Thermal Energy Storage Systems and Passive Conditioning Applications

From Chemistry Select:

Designing Coconut Oil Encapsulated Poly(stearyl methacrylate‐co‐hydroxylethyl metacrylate) Based Microcapsule for Phase Change Materials

From Evolution in Polymer Technology Journal:

Enhancement of Thermo-Regulating Textile Materials Using Phase Change Material

From Materials Research Express:

Improved thermal characteristics of Ag nanoparticles dispersed myristic acid as composite for low temperature thermal energy storage

From Applied Energy:

On the performance of ground coupled seasonal thermal energy storage for heating and cooling: A Canadian context

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Thermal stability enhancement of d-mannitol for latent heat storage applications

Patent application: High-density latent heat storage device

Ben Welter - Friday, May 10, 2019

University of Texas patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20190137190 (applicant Board of Regents, University of Texas System, Austin, Texas):

"Latent heat storage devices are disclosed, such as latent heat storage devices comprising a phase change material encapsulated in sufficiently conductive tubes, wherein the tubes are arrayed in a hexagonal-packed pattern. The devices herein can be used, for example, in residential and/or commercial HVAC systems."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190137190.pdf

Patent application: Cooling pack

Ben Welter - Friday, May 10, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190133819 (inventor Andrew John Mason, Mono, Calif.):

"Described are various embodiments of a cooling pack. In one such embodiment a cooling pack is provided for cooling a crotch region of a human while seated on a seating surface, the cooling pack comprising a tapered container for holding a cooling material therein, and defined by tapering upper and lower surfaces drawing into a tapered edge to be positioned between the crotch region and the seating surface in use, thereby providing cooling for the region."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190133819.pdf