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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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Aerospace manufacturer seeks PCM for use in heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Monday, August 20, 2018

An aerospace/defense contractor in Bengaluru, India, is looking for a noncorrosive phase change material with high thermal conductivity and a heat storage capacity of 280 joules per gram. Rangsons Defence Solutions Pvt. Ltd. says the PCM will be used in a heat exchanger the company is developing for an aerospace application.

This document describes the heat exchanger and lists the properties of the required PCM:

Specifications for PCM heat exchanger

Contact Sivaram Subramanian, an associate mechanical engineer at Rangsons Defence Solutions, for additional information on the heat exchanger. His e-mail address is sivarams@rangsons-ds.com.

Patent application: Use of PCMs to delay icing or to cause de-icing in wind-driven generators

Ben Welter - Sunday, August 19, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180230972 (applicant Gamesa Innovation & Technology, S.L., Sarriguren, Spain):

"The invention relates to the use of phase change materials (PCMs) to delay icing or to cause de-icing in different wind-driven power generator elements. The invention also relates to the method for delaying icing or causing de-icing in different wind-driven power generator elements based on the use of phase change materials (PCMs), said method comprising: a) obtaining the PCMs, and b) incorporating the PCMs obtained into different wind-driven power generator elements."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180230972.pdf

Patent application: Method and system for phase change material component cooling

Ben Welter - Monday, August 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180216894 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.)

"A transient cooling system includes a first phase change material (PCM) element and a second PCM element. The first PCM element includes a first PCM, a first surface, and a second surface, the first surface complementary to a surface to be cooled. The second PCM element includes a second PCM and a third surface in thermal contact with the second surface. The first PCM and the second PCM may have different thermal characteristics."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180216894.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management device using phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, June 04, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180149437 (applicant Boeing Co., Chicago, Ill.):

"A device manages thermal energy applied to a composite patch on a structure having a heat sink. The device includes an enclosure configured to be placed on the structure overlying the composite patch, and a phase change material within the enclosure for absorbing the thermal energy."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180149437.pdf

Patent application: Passive thermal system comprising heat pipe and PCM for use in space

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 24, 2018

WorldVu Satellites patent drawing
U.S. patent application 20180134416, (applicant WorldVu Satellites Ltd., Arlington, Va.):

"A passive thermal system for use in a satellite and other aerospace applications includes a container having a heat-pipe working fluid disposed in a first chamber and a Phase Change Material (PCM) disposed in a second chamber that substantially surrounds the first chamber. The first chamber contains a wick for transporting the heat-pipe working fluid. The exterior of the first chamber has fins, etc., that extend into the PCM for heat spreading and increased interface area."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180134416.pdf

Patent application: Electronic device with protective shield containing PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180124945 (applicants French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and Airbus Operations SAS, France):

"An electronic device includes an electronic component and a protective shield including a phase change material having a phase change temperature of between 20 degrees C. and 90 degrees C., an antivibration gel having hyperelastic and/or viscoelastic behavior at 20 degrees C., and a separation barrier positioned so as to separate the phase change material and the antivibration gel. The antivibration gel is positioned, at least partly, in contact with the electronic component, and has a thermal conductivity of greater than 1 W/mK at 20 degrees C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180124945.pdf

Patent application: Support tool for composite parts

Ben Welter - Monday, October 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170291404 (applicant Boeing Co., Chicago, Ill.):

"Systems and methods are provided for forming composite parts. One embodiment is an apparatus that includes a forming tool. The forming tool includes a body, which includes an exterior that defines a shape for forming a laminate that will be cured into a composite part. The body also includes elements of phase change material that provide rigidity to the body below a threshold temperature, and that exhibit a phase change above the threshold temperature causing the body to become pliable. Further, the body includes flexible material that encloses the elements of phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170291404.pdf

Paraffin-enhanced concrete shows promise in melting ice, snow

Ben Welter - Monday, September 25, 2017

PCM LWA video

Dr. Yaghoob Farnam has spent four years combining concrete and phase change material in various ways in a quest to develop a durable paving material that can melt ice and snow. 

Farnam, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Engineering, has previously measured the effectiveness of paraffin oil and methyl laurate, materials that have relatively high heat storage capacity (about 130 to 170 joules per gram) and a suitable phase transformation temperature (about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius). Both showed promise when contained in plastic tubes embedded in concrete. But the paraffin oil proved to be far more effective than methyl laurate in concrete made of lightweight aggregate infused with the PCMs. Chemical reactions between the methyl laurate and materials in the cement rendered that PCM ineffective and also appeared to cause cracks in the concrete.

In his latest paper, published in Cement and Concrete Composites, Farnam's research team focused on paraffin oil. The team used concrete slabs to compare two methods of deploying the PCM. Steel pipes filled with paraffin and sealed with PVC caps were embedded in one slab. A second slab was made of porous lightweight aggregate infused with paraffin. A third slab, containing no paraffin, served as a reference point. Each slab was sealed in an insulated container and then covered with about 5 inches of shaved ice.

DrexelNow describes what happened in two tests:

"With temperatures inside the boxes held between 35-44 degrees Fahrenheit, both of the paraffin-treated slabs were able to completely melt the snow within the first 25 hours of testing, while the snow on the reference sample remained frozen. The slab with the paraffin-filled tubes melted the snow slightly faster than the one composed of paraffin-treated aggregate. Farnam suggests that this is because the paraffin inside the tubes is able to solidify more quickly — thus releasing its energy — because of the regular diameter of the pipes. While the diameter of the pores of the aggregate vary in size.

"But in the group’s second experiment, in which the ambient air temperature in the box was lowered to freezing before the snow was added, the paraffin-treated aggregate was more effective than the embedded pipes. This is because the capillary pore pressure delayed the freezing of the paraffin, thus allowing it to release its heat energy over a longer period of time." 

The research is of particular importance to the airline industry, which has a keen interest in finding cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to clear runways of ice and snow. The Federal Aviation Administration has supported Farnam's work with nearly $500,000 in grants through its PEGASAS program.

Farnam says additional research is needed to better understand how the addition of PCM affects pavement durability, skid resistance and long-term stability.  

http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2017/September/self-melting-concrete-roads/

PCM briefing: A baby manikin that sweats; a salt and antifreeze TES system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

Alphabet Inc.'s secretive development lab is developing a system for storing renewable energy in tanks filled with salt and antifreeze. "The system takes in energy in the form of electricity and turns it into separate streams of hot and cold air," Bloomberg reports. "The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze, a bit like a refrigerator. ... Flip a switch and the process reverses. Hot and cold air rush toward each other, creating powerful gusts that spin a turbine and spit out electricity when the grid needs it. Salt maintains its temperature well, so the system can store energy for many hours, and even days, depending on how much you insulate the tanks."

Thermetrics baby manikinThermetrics LLC has introduced an 11-zone thermal baby manikin that features a thermally conductive carbon-epoxy shell, a “sweating skin system” and internal heater elements and temperature sensors. Nicknamed “Ruth,” the manikin can be used to evaluate the thermal properties of clothing, diapers, bedding, car seats and strollers.

Axiom Exergy and Ice Energy are on a list of 25 companies notable for developing innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption in commercial and industrial buildings.  

Croda International has announced the acquisition of Enza Biotech AB, a research enterprise established as a spin-out company from Lund University in Sweden.

AkzoNobel has announced the winners of its 2017 Imagine Chemistry initiative, recognizing and supporting efforts to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and to uncover sustainable opportunities for the company’s specialty chemicals business. Among the winners is Industrial Microbes of Emeryville, Calif., for its work on the biocatalysis of ethylene to ethylene oxide.

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins and Magnum CAES CEO Richard Walje will be among the speakers at the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego next week. 

ONE Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M., has selected Acme Aerospace to provide lithium ion battery systems to be used in ONE’s “Project Canada” aircraft. The Acme system features a proprietary phase change material to improve battery performance.

Reuters reports that Dow Chemical and DuPont are seeing increased benefits in developing sustainable "green" products, as the chemical giants seek new areas of growth and build a stronger connection with millennials.

TemperPack, a Virginia-based manufacturer of sustainable packaging for perishable goods, has raised $10 million in an investment round that will help it further expand operations and add jobs.

Digital strategies “will have a significant impact on many areas of the chemical industry, with the potential to change value chains, lead to higher productivity and more innovation, and create new channels to market,” according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis.

• The Bioencapsulation Research Group has posted the program for the 3rd Latin-America Symposium on Microencapsulation, to be held in Chile Nov. 27-29.

1414 Degrees, the Australian startup that has developed a way to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, has posted openings for a chief financial officer and an energy storage and power network system analyst.

• New from QY Research: "Global Inorganic Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market Research Report 2017"

• New from Future Market Insights: "Energy Harvesting Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2014 - 2020" and "Chilled Water Storage System Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 – 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017 – 2027"

ThermoSafe ChillTechSonoco ThermoSafe has launched a new range of reusable, universal solutions for the pharmaceutical and biologics markets. ChillTech is a pre-qualified range of 2°C to 8°C PCM systems providing temperature control from two days up to six days for payloads from 4L to 40L. The range uses Laminar Medica’s ChillPhase paraffin phase change material.

• A new reference manual for the oleochemical industry is now available. "Fatty Acids: Chemistry, Synthesis, and Applications" presents new information on industrially important fatty acids including detailed descriptions of fatty acid crystallization, enzymatic synthesis and microbial production.

Pluss Advanced Technologies has received a 50 lakh grant (about $78,000 USD) under India’s Millennium Alliance Program to promote the use of the company’s MiraCradle cooling device in hospitals and neonatal care units across India. The device uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia in newborns. 

• Why haven't phase change materials taken off in the UK construction industry? Ian Biggin of Phase Energy Ltd., which is developing novel shape-stabilized technologies, says the industry needs to address what he calls the "4Ps": price, performance, proof and promotion.

Patent application: Heat and humidity removal unit for a self-contained breathing apparatus

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170143933 (applicant Paragon Space Development Corp., Tucson, Ariz.):

"This disclosure relates to a regenerable, heat-abating, humidity-neutralizing, carbon dioxide removal system for a self-contained breathing apparatus. The self-contained breathing apparatus can include a carbon dioxide removal unit that scrubs carbon dioxide out of exhaled air from a user to provide humidified, scrubbed exhaled air. The self-contained breathing apparatus can further include a heat and humidity removal unit that is configured to receive the humidified, scrubbed exhaled air, and is configured to remove water vapor and heat associated with the water vapor from the humidified, scrubbed exhaled air in order to provide cooled, dehumidified inhalation air. The cooled, dehumidified air can be supplemented with oxygen and returned to the user at a comfortable temperature. In some implementations, the heat and humidity removal unit can replace conventional heat exchange and energy storage units, including heat exchange and energy storage units that use phase change materials."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170143933.pdf