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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.

Two Entropy advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid and Lucas B. Hyman, are pleased to take your questions about PCMs and thermal energy storage. Send your questions to bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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Patent application: Polymeric prosthetic and orthotic devices with heat and hardness control

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231788 (applicant Ohio Willow Wood Co., Mount Sterling, Ohio):

"Prosthetic liners, prosthetic sockets and prosthetic suspension sleeves, as well as orthotic components, having enhanced thermally conductivity and/or enhanced heat absorption capabilities. Such components may be used in various combinations to create assemblies and systems that are operative to better transfer heat away from and/or absorb heat produced by residual or intact limbs of a user."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231788.pdf

Patent application: Thermal locking mechanism for a medication delivery device

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170224929 (applicant Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, Ind.):

"A medication injection device includes a housing and a needled syringe supported by the housing. The needle syringe has a plunger and a volume containing medication. The medication injection device further includes an expelling mechanism operably coupled to the plunger. Additionally, the device includes a thermal locking mechanism  operably coupled to the expelling mechanism, comprising a material which is solid when the device is refrigerated and transitions to a liquid or gel-like state at a phase-change temperature when the device is taken out of refrigeration and warms up together with the contained drug to a temperature which is suitable for performing an injection."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170224929.pdf

Patent application: Multifunctional temperature self-regulating film and face mask

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231884 (applicant Handy Technology, Zhuhai, China):/p>

"The present invention [below] discloses a multifunctional temperature self-regulating multilayer film, from outside to inside comprising at least: a carrier layer loaded with functional material, and a thermal-insulation layer directly contacted with the skin; wherein the carrier layer loaded with functional material has a sealed cavity sealed with a flexible water-impermeable material, the sealed cavity is at least loaded with a refrigerating or heat-generating chemical material; wherein thermal-insulation layer is made of a material having waterproof and thermal-insulation properties. The present multilayer film can be manufactured into a face mask or eye mask for use on facial skin. ... [The] the sealed cavity is loaded with a solid-liquid phase change material which generates heat when the material changes from liquid to solid, and an actuating means which is used to trigger an exothermic state of the solid-liquid phase change material."

Handy mask patent drawing

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231884.pdf

PCM briefing: Sunamp joins EU research project; Cryoport launches C3 shipper

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

Ulster University has launched an EU-funded €6.7 million cross-border research project to develop a range of consumer-owned energy storage resources. The collaborative effort includes three research institutes and 14 businesses, including Sunamp Ltd., maker of PCM-based heat batteries.

• Registration is open for the first AOCS China Section Congress on Oilseeds and Co-Products to be held Nov. 10-12 in Wuxi, China. 

University of Michigan researchers have developed a new technique to significantly improve the thermal conductivity of polymers

Cryoport Inc. has expanded its portfolio of cold chain logistics solutions with the launch of C3 shipper, designed for high-value materials used in regenerative therapies that require temperature-controlled transportation within the 2-8° C temperature range.

SaltX Technology of Sweden and Impacts Solar of Australia have reached an agreement to jointly develop, market and sell a long-term thermal storage system for concentrated solar power.

Ethylene glycol improves performance of SAT for use in warming apparel

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

Scientists at India's Defense Laboratory Jodhpur and the Indian Institute of Technology-Jodhpur have designed a sodium acetate trihydrate-ethylene glycol composite phase change material that could be used in vests and other apparel to protect the wearer from frostbite and hypothermia.

The addition of ethylene glycol in aqueous SAT "enhances the softness of SAT crystallites, its degree of supercooling and most importantly the effective heat releasing time by ~10%," the researchers explained in a paper published last month in Nature's Scientific Reports. 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05310-3

Patent application: Building integrated PV roofing assemblies with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 17, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170237387 (SolarCity Corp., San Mateo, Calif):

"A solar roof assembly, comprising: a support material covering a portion of a roof surface; a plurality of standing seam metal roof pans arranged in columns on the roof deck over the support material at a first height above the roof surface; a plurality of support pans arranged in columns on the roof surface adjacent to at least one column of standing seam metal roof pan, each support pan comprising a pair of standing seams running a length of each side edge thereof and having a plurality of ridges and valleys and between each side edge; a plurality of photovoltaic modules arranged end to end in columns over the plurality of support pans on the plurality of ridges. ... The solar roof assembly [may include] a heat storage material positioned between at least one pairing of the photovoltaic modules and support pans, wherein the heat storage material comprises at least one compartment having a phase change material can transition from a first phase to a second phase at a transition temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170237387.pdf

Patent application: Pressure plate with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 17, 2017

ABB patent application drawingU.S. patent application 20170234389 (Applicant ABB Technology Ltd., Zurich, Switzerland):

"A pressure plate for a friction coupling such as a clutch or brake system is disclosed in the present application. The pressure plate includes one or more pockets with a phase change material disposed therein [76]. The phase change material operates to absorb and release heat when the friction coupling cycles between activation and deactivation so as to minimize a maximum temperature of the pressure plate."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170234389.pdf

Research roundup: Stearyl alcohol/ HDPE /expanded graphite composite PCM; perlite-based PCM wallboard; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 17, 2017

Improved thermal properties of stearyl alcohol/high density polyethylene/expanded graphite composite phase change materials for building thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

Development and thermal performance of an expanded perlite-based phase change material wallboard for passive cooling in building [Energy and Buildings]

Numerical and experimental investigation of an insulation layer with phase change materials (PCMs) [Energy and Buildings]

Polyurethane foams with microencapsulated phase change material: Comparative analysis of thermal conductivity characterization approaches [Energy and Buildings]

Flammability assessment of Phase Change Material wall lining and insulation materials with different weight fractions [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal analysis of nanoparticle-enhanced phase change material solidification in a rectangular latent heat storage unit including natural convection [Energy and Buildings]

A portable solar-powered air-cooling system based on phase-change materials for a vehicle cabin [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal performance and economic evaluation of a newly developed phase change material for effective building encapsulation [Energy Conversion and Management]

Fabrication of three-dimensional metal-graphene network phase change composite for high thermal conductivity and suppressed subcooling phenomena [Energy Conversion and Management]

Researches of composite phase change material cooling/resistance wire preheating coupling system of a designed 18650-type battery module [Applied Thermal Engineering]

The impact of the heating/cooling rate on the thermoregulating properties of textile materials modified with PCM microcapsules [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Fatty acids/1-dodecanol binary eutectic phase change materials for low temperature solar thermal applications: Design, development and thermal analysis [Solar Energy]

An Experimental Evaluation of Direct Flow Evacuated Tube Solar Collector Integrated with Phase Change Material [Energy]

Heat capacities of some sugar alcohols as phase change materials for thermal energy storage applications [Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics]

Patent application: Meat tenderizing using substrate with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170215439 (applicant Empire Technology Development, Wilmington, Del.):

"A meat tenderizing device is provided for meat tenderizing. The device can include a substrate having at least one structural reinforcing member. The substrate may be elastomeric, and may have a body of a material that is non-conductive. The structural reinforcing member can be longitudinally aligned to inhibit longitudinal shortening or longitudinal contraction of the device. The device can provide radial or lateral compression to maintain a longitudinal length or longitudinal stretching of meat contained therein. The substrate can include a conductive material distributed therein that is thermally or electrically conductive. The structural reinforcing member can be positioned so as to control stretching of the substrate. The device can also include a phase change member on a surface of at least a portion of the substrate. The phase change member can include a phase change hydrogel that is liquid at lower temperatures and a gel at higher temperatures."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170215439.pdf

Patent application: High strength microcapsules

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170216161 (applicant Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio):

"According to the present disclosure, high strength microcapsules suitable for the encapsulation of hydrophobic core materials, especially phase change materials, are formed through an oil-in-water microencapsulation process in which the hydrophobic material is encapsulated in a polymer shell comprising the reaction product of one or more ethylenically unsaturated monomers which is wholly or partially soluble in the core material (the “core monomers”)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170216161.pdf