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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: Impact of doping on bonding energy hierarchy; battery thermal management; more

Ben Welter - Friday, September 07, 2018

From Journal of Applied Physics:

Impact of doping on bonding energy hierarchy and melting of phase change materials

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Two zone model for mushy region of solid–liquid phase change based on Lattice Boltzmann method

From Applied Sciences:

Synthesis and Investigation of Thermal Properties of Highly Pure Carboxylic Fatty Esters to Be Used as PCM

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Fabrication of novel slurry containing graphene oxide-modified microencapsulated phase change material for direct absorption solar collector

From Buildings:

Potential of Thermal Energy Storage Using Coconut Oil for Air Temperature Control

From International Journal for Research in Engineering Application and Management:

Development of Phase Change Material/ Cooling Plate Coupled Battery Thermal Management System Using CFD

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A novel graphite-PCM composite sphere with enhanced thermo-physical properties

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Building-integrated solar thermal system with/without phase change material: Life cycle assessment based on ReCiPe, USEtox and Ecological footprint

From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:

Role of metallic foam in heat storage in the presence of nanofluid and microencapsulated phase change material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Heat and flow analysis of a water droplet on hydrophobic and hydrophilic phase change material

Patent application: Battery cell including phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180254533 (applicant LG Chem Ltd., Seoul, South Korea):

"The present invention provides a battery cell of a plate shape, including: an electrode assembly in which a separator is interposed between a positive electrode and a negative electrode, wherein the electrode assembly may be mounted on a receiving part; and sealing parts formed by heat fusion at an external side of the receiving part, wherein lateral sealing parts adjacent to one of the sealing parts at which an electrode terminal is positioned may closely contact an outer surface of the receiving part while being bent toward the receiving part of a battery case, and a phase change material (PCM) that is phase-changed in response to a thermal change may be added to surplus surfaces of the lateral sealing parts or to surplus spaces between the receiving parts and the bent lateral sealing parts."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180254533.pdf

Patent application: Cooling beach blanket

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180249849 (inventor Christopher Wilkinson, Brooklyn, N.Y.):

Beach cooling blanket patent drawing"A personal cooling system for controlling personal body temperature at the beach comprises a first layer having a first edge region defining a size and a shape of the first layer, the first layer comprising a cooling gel pack, wherein the gel pack has an outer surface and a plurality of compartments for storing a temperature-controlling ingredient therein; a second layer having a second edge region defining a size and a shape of the second layer; and an outside bag, to an inside surface of the outside bag the first layer and the second layer are attached. The second layer in the system further comprises a liquid dispenser that is embedded in the mesh material of the second layer. The actions of the cooling system and the dispenser can be controlled by a remote controller."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180249849.pdf

Patent application: Wall panel with phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180251986 (applicant Max Life LLC, Salisbury, N.C.):

Max Life wall panel patent drawing"A wall panel may have a layer made from magnesium oxide, a first insulation layer made from a two-part rigid urethane pour foam, and a second insulation layer made from a phase change material. The first insulation layer maybe chemically bonded to the magnesium oxide layer and may also be bonded to the phase change layer. The first insulation layer may be positioned between the second insulation layer and the magnesium oxide layer. The magnesium oxide layer may be a finished surface or a veneer layer may be applied to the magnesium oxide layer."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180251986.pdf

Patent application: Insulated chamber with packetized phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180252466 (applicant Caron Products and Services Inc., Marietta, Georgia):

"An insulated chamber having an interior region for storing items therein includes a phase change material to facilitate controlling the temperature of the interior region and the items. A heating device or cooling device may be used to melt or freeze the phase change material. The phase change material (PCM) may be in various locations such as the walls of the chamber in the form of packets or in the form of containers that serve as shelves and may be removable from the interior region. The packets may have recesses for receiving the items. The phase change material may be within capsules that may be within a liquid or a solid matrix. Controls may be provided to control humidity, oxygen, and carbon dioxide within the interior chamber."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180252466.pdf

PCM briefing: Ice Energy seeks distributors in Australia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia; Thermetrics' new manikin can measure PCM effects

Ben Welter - Friday, August 31, 2018

• In an interview with Energy Storage Report, CEO Mike Hopkins discussed Ice Energy's plans to distribute its ice-based thermal energy storage technology in Australia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In June, the California company announced a $40 million cash infusion from Argo Infrastructure Partners to finance the delivery of Ice Energy's residential and commercial thermal storage contracts.

Thermetrics manikin ANDIThermetrics says its new ANDI sweating thermal manikin has the "unrivaled ability" to measure both positive and negative heat flux and to respond to changing environmental conditions with "unprecedented" speed and accuracy. The new manikin was unveiled this week at the 12th International Meeting of Manikins and Modeling, hosted by the Swiss research institute Empa, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The manikin can be used to evaluate the thermal performance of apparel, blankets and seats, as well as quantify the cool-to-touch or warm-to-touch temperature-buffering effect in fabrics containing phase change materials. 

• New from LP Information: "2018-2023 Global Eutectic Phase Change Material Consumption Market Report"

• New from Research and Markets: "Phase Change Materials (PCMs) - A Global Market Overview"

• The journal Nature reports that India is cracking down on predatory journals, publications that "actively solicit manuscripts and charge authors hefty fees without providing the services they advertise, such as editing and peer review." 

• Life science laboratories are finding creative ways to reduce the amount of plastic they throw away, The Scientist reports. 

Sonoco ThermoSafe will hold its next Leading Minds Seminar Nov. 6-7 at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel Heathrow, London, England. Co-hosted by ELPRO, the seminar is a chance for pharmaceutical manufacturers, supply chain partners and government representatives to discuss temperature-assurance packaging and data monitoring in a collaborative environment.

Viking Cold Solutions says the thermal energy storage system the company installed at a 93,000-square-foot frozen food distribution center in Richmond, Calif., has reduced peak period energy consumption by up to 43 percent and reduced overall freezer energy consumption by 35 percent. Viking installed the system at the Dreisbach Enterprises warehouse earlier this year. Plastic panels filled with a proprietary salt hydrate are installed evenly throughout the warehouse atop the existing product racks. The PCM absorbs heat as it melts, allowing chillers to run less frequently and still keep the warehouse within a few degrees of the target temperature. The system also includes intelligent controls and sensors to optimize energy use and alert managers to temperature abnormalities, equipment failure and power outages.

10-star energy home features 600 kg of biobased PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, August 31, 2018

10 Star Home exterior

All new homes in Australia must meet energy efficiency standards set in the National Construction Code, which includes the option of complying with the 6 Star Standard. Stars are calculated using computer simulation at the design stage to assess thermal performance based on elements such as orientation, layout, materials, insulation and glazing. The more stars, the better the thermal performance.

Victoria’s first 10-star energy home, completed in 2017, is estimated to cost only $3 a year to heat, cool and light. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home features a 5kW photovoltaic solar roof, highly efficient LED lighting, cross-flow ventilation, industrial concrete floors, under-slab insulation, double-glazed windows and biobased phase change material in the walls and ceilings.

10 Star Home interiorThe 160-square-meter home was built by The Sociable Weaver of Melbourne in collaboration with Clare Cousins Architects. Natalie Woods, marketing manager at Sociable Weaver, answered questions about the project.

Q: The 10 Star Home has been described as “Australia’s first 10 star rated, carbon positive and zero waste home.” Is that accurate?

A: “The 10 Star Home is Victoria's first home to have a 10 star energy rating. We believe it to also be the first home in Australia to be carbon positive, 10 star rated, and built to zero waste and building biology principles.”

Q: What is the home’s status?

A: “The 10 Star Home is a permanent display home – this is so it can serve as an education resource to the public and to our industry peers. We also run our coastal office from the home, which means we can monitor the home's performance across all four seasons.”

Q: Has your company worked with PCM before? How did you hear about it?

A: “This is the first time we've used BioPCM in a build. It was recommended by our consultant Tim Adams at F2 Design.”

Q. Who supplied the PCM?

A: “The BioPCM was supplied by Phase Change Energy Solutions of Mitcham, Victoria.  The melt temperature range is 20-24C. It is contained in mats made of food-grade plastic.”

Q: How much PCM is used in the home?

A: “The ceiling is 162sqm at 2.7kg/sqm = 437kg and the walls 61sqm = 165kg.”

Q: Is PCM used in a mostly passive manner, assisted by natural ventilation with occasional help from ceiling fans?

A: “The 10 Star Home has been designed to maximum passive solar heating and natural cooling – this includes maximizing northerly sun through large north-facing double-glazed windows, thermal mass in concrete slab flooring and BioPCM insulation in the walls and ceiling.”

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from people who tour the house, and those who work in the office there?

A:When people walk into the 10 Star Home, often from the cold windy Victorian weather outside, they always remark how warm it is inside the home. The team who work in the home find the space is always a beautifully comfortable temperature inside, no matter what the weather is outside. We can't wait to use this innovative product in a client's home and see how it can benefit a family day-to-day.”

Q: What lessons have you learned that will help you improve your next 10-star home – and where will it be built?

A: “It took a long time to get the design of the home perfect to ensure the carbon positive and 10 Star energy rating, so this was definitely a lesson in patience for everyone involved – but it was well worth it! We're still using the current 10 Star Home as a showcase to industry and clients so don't have plans to build another one just yet, however it would be great to build one in another location in Australia to showcase how the 10 star energy rating can be achieved in different climates.”

Q: Have you since used PCM products in any other projects?

A: “We haven't used Bio-PCM in any of our latest projects but are hoping to use it again soon as we've found it to be so effective in the 10 Star Home.”

Patent application: Moisture wicking and cooling capsules having an outer shell comprising a siloxane

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 30, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180242665 (applicant Microtek Laboratories Inc., Dayton, Ohio):

Microtek cooling capsule patent drawing"Microcapsules or macrocapsules have a core composition that includes a phase changing material (PCM) encapsulated within a polymer wall with an outer shell having a siloxane tethered to an exterior surface of the polymer wall by a surfactant. The siloxane may form a crystalline or a sol-gel outer shell. Methods of making such capsules and textile fabrics and clothing incorporating such capsules include treating pre-formed capsules with a surfactant solution followed by treating with a compound containing a siloxane functional group. The surfactant connects or tethers the siloxane to the exterior surface of the polymer wall and the siloxane forms an outer shell of the capsules."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180242665.pdf

Patent application: Phase change materials and methods of regulating temperature

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 30, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180244971 (applicant Croda International PLC, Yorkshire, Great Britain):

"The present invention provides a phase change material composition comprising an ester of a linear alcohol which has at least 4 carbon atoms and a linear carboxylic acid which has at least 4 carbon atoms, wherein the total number of carbon atoms in the ester is in the range from 13 to 31. The invention also provides products including the phase change material composition and methods of regulating temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180244971.pdf

Research roundup: Shape-stable PCMs in building enclosures; eutectic fatty acid/damar gum; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

A review on applications of shape-stabilized phase change materials embedded in building enclosure in recent ten years

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Microencapsulation of eutectic and hyper-eutectic Al-Si alloy as phase change materials for high-temperature thermal energy storage

From Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics:

Thermal analysis and heat capacity study of polyethylene glycol (PEG) phase change materials for thermal energy storage applications

From Exergy for A Better Environment and Improved Sustainability:

Investigation of Thermal Characteristic of Eutectic Fatty Acid/Damar Gum as a Composite Phase Change Material (CPCM)

From Composites Part B: Engineering:

Fabrication, morphology and thermal properties of octadecylamine-grafted graphene oxide-modified phase-change microcapsules for thermal energy storage

From Chemical Engineering Transactions:

Study on the Temperature Characteristics of Phase-change Energy Storage Building Materials Based on ANSYS [pdf]

From International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies:

Free cooling using phase change material for buildings in hot-arid climate

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Experimental study on cold storage box with nanocomposite phase change material and vacuum insulation panel