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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: Cooling circuit and method on a vehicle

Ben Welter - Friday, October 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180291798 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"A temperature management system on a vehicle cooling circuit using a heat transfer liquid, the circuit comprising a path for circulating the liquid and, arranged on the path: in series, a means for circulating the liquid along the path, an engine for moving the vehicle, whose components are to be placed in a heat exchange relationship with the liquid, and a heat exchanger having an inlet and an outlet for said liquid in order to place this liquid in a heat exchange relationship with another fluid within the exchanger, mounted on a first leg, between the inlet and the outlet of the heat exchanger, a heat store into which said liquid can enter and from which it can exit, and valves positioned so that liquid arriving from the engine flows toward the heat exchanger and/or the heat store, the heat store being a latent heat storage and thermal energy release unit containing at least one volume: enclosing elements made of phase change material (PCM) for storing and releasing the thermal energy contained in said liquid in view of a heat exchange with this liquid (9), and around which is installed a thermal barrier comprising at least one first layer containing a phase change material and which is surrounded by one second layer containing a porous thermally insulating material to thermally isolate said volume from the outside."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180291798.pdf

Patent application: Thermal device for a fluid, with baffles, and associated circuits

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hutchinson thermal device patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180238635 (applicant Hutchinson, Paris, France):

"A thermal device comprising a fluid circulation circuit in which the fluid circulates over time at different temperatures, and a thermal store and heat exchanger arranged on said circuit and enclosing an interior volume in which the fluid circulates, and in which are arranged elements that store and release thermal energy, of PCM type, in contact with the fluid, for heat exchanges. The interior volume of the store and heat exchanger is provided with baffles."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180238635.pdf

Related:

U.S. patent application 20180238636: Unit for storing thermal energy

Patent application: Multi-mode cabin heating system with dual heating source

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mahle cabin heating system patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180236843 (applicant MAHLE International GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany):

"A heating system for an automotive passenger cabin includes a blower fan generating an air flow; a first heater core downstream of the blower fan; a second heater core downstream of the first heater core; a coolant loop with a first branch and a second branch, wherein the first heater core is disposed in the first branch and the second heater core is disposed in the second branch; a change-over valve arrangement having a first setting establishing fluid communication between the first and second heater cores by connecting the first and second branches in two locations on opposite sides of the first and second heater cores. The change-over valve arrangement has a second setting separating the fluid communication between the first and second heater cores by disconnecting the first and second branches. The second branch or both the first and the second branch are connectable to a PCM heater."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180236843.pdf

Patent application: Vehicle seating assembly

Ben Welter - Sunday, August 19, 2018

Ford patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180229632 (applicant Ford Global Technologies LLC,  Dearborn, Mich.):

"A vehicle seating assembly comprises a body with a center portion and four corner portions and a seating surface. A supporting layer is disposed below the body. A thermal transfer node is disposed in the body. The thermal transfer node includes a heat sink and a thermoelectric device. The heat sink is located between the seating surface and the thermoelectric device. The heat sink and the thermoelectric device are configured to draw heat away from the heating surface. A fluid moves proximate the thermal transfer node and into the supporting layer to draw heat away from the thermal transfer node. A phase change material is disposed between the seating surface and the heat sink."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180229632.pdf

Research roundup: Dynamic behavior of PCM-27; Al2O3, SiO2 and TiO2 nano-inclusions; coacervation microencapsulation; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 14, 2018

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

An experimental and a numerical analysis of the dynamic behavior of PCM-27 included inside a vertical enclosure: Application in space heating purposes

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Thermal conductivity enhancement in organic phase change material (phenol-water system) upon addition of Al2O3, SiO2 and TiO2 nano-inclusions

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental and numerical investigations of nano-additives enhanced paraffin in a shell-and-tube heat exchanger: A comparative study
Three-dimensional numerical and experimental investigation of the behavior of solar salts within thermal storage devices during phase change

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Formulation of a model predictive control algorithm to enhance the performance of a latent heat solar thermal system
Performance assessment of a new hydrogen cooled prismatic battery pack arrangement for hydrogen hybrid electric vehicles

From Carbohydrate Polymers:

Chitosan composite microencapsulated comb-like polymeric phase change material via coacervation microencapsulation

From Renewable Energy:

Analytical Considerations on Optimization of Cascaded Heat Transfer Process for Thermal Storage System with Principles of Thermodynamics

From Proceedings of Microscopy & Microanalysis 2018:

In-Situ TEM Observation of Crystallization in Phase-Change Material

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Fraunhofer LBF develops composite PCM to lower dashboard temperature

Ben Welter - Monday, August 13, 2018

Structure of Fraunhofer's Smart Cover Panel.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF in Darmstadt, Germany, have developed a new phase change composite material designed to reduce the surface temperature of dashboards in vehicles. 

Springer Professional of Germany has a good summary [translated from the German original]:

"The composite is suitable for a temperature phase transition and consists of a carrier material made of polyethylene, which can store energy. The filler graphite, on the other hand, ensures rapid heat dissipation. In a cyclic process of heating and cooling phases, the scientists were able to achieve a temperature reduction of 46 percent or 41 degrees Celsius compared to a conventional polypropylene-talc compound dashboard."

Fraunhofer, of course, offers a more detailed look [also translated from German]:

"To demonstrate the benefits of the new material, the scientists built this component into the dashboard of an electric vehicle to subsequently create a cycle of heating and cooling phases. The cooling was provided by Peltier elements. These electrothermal transducers are in turn cooled by external fans. The energy for Peltier elements and coolers comes from an additional 12 V battery powered by photovoltaic power.

"The energy released during the phase transition was used by the LBF researchers to switch on the Peltier elements only for a certain period of time. In this way, the fans do not have to constantly run at maximum power. By appropriate regulation, the cooling system is coupled to the temperature in the material. This should lead to a higher life expectancy of the electronic components. Thanks to a clever setting of the starting point of the working group, the Smart Cover Panel is controlled by the sunlight itself. This means that cooling only starts in hot summer days, and in winter the coveted warmth stays in the dashboard."

https://www.lbf.fraunhofer.de/de/presse/presseinformationen/phase-changing-material-mehr-komfort-und-reichweite-elektromobilitaet.html

Patent application: Cooling system for vehicle interior surfaces

Ben Welter - Sunday, August 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180222517 (applicant Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Erlanger, Ky.):

"A vehicle component includes a first volume of phase change material and a second volume of phase change material spaced apart from the first volume of phase change material. The first volume of phase change material contains a greater mass of phase change material than the second volume of phase change material. The component also includes a thermally-conductive structure in direct contact with both the first volume of phase change material and the second volume of phase change material, so as to facilitate heat transfer between the first volume of phase change material and the second volume of phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180222517.pdf

Patent application: Fuel cell freeze protection device and system

Ben Welter - Monday, August 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180219237 (applicant Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich.)

"A fuel cell system including a fuel cell stack, a coolant loop and a thermal battery. The coolant loop is configured to flow a coolant liquid therethrough. The thermal battery includes a phase change material configured to absorb heat generated by the fuel cell stack or coolant liquid and to latently store the heat during a first mode of operation the fuel cell system."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180219237.pdf

Related:

Vehicle occupant cooling system (applicant Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Erlanger, Kentucky)

Solar-powered concept camper uses PCM to keep passengers comfortable

Ben Welter - Monday, July 02, 2018

Dethleffs' e.home concept camperDethleffs GmbH & Co.'s solar-powered concept camper, introduced last year, is one of four winners in the transportation category of the German Innovation Award 2018. The "e.home" features 334 square feet of thin solar panels and a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79° F. Fully equipped, its driving range on a full charge is just over 100 miles.

Christoph Gawalleck, technical director at Dethleffs, oversaw the two-year development of the e-home. He answered a few question via email:

Q: Describe the phase change material used in the vehicle.

A: “The PCM is Micronal from BASF. But BASF sold this business unit to Microtek Laboratories in May 2017. It is a paraffin. The melting point is 26°C, the solidification takes place at 23° C.”

Cross section of PCM panel used in Dethleffs e.homeQ: How is the PCM contained?

A: “The PCM is in aluminum plates that are shaped like corrugated cardboard [right]. So the heat can be passed very quickly to the PCM. The plate contains 4 kilograms of Micronal per square meter.”

Q: How much PCM is used in the camper?

A: “Approximately 35 kilograms.”

Q: Have you collected data on how well the PCM manages temperatures in the camper? Has it met expectations?

A: “The vehicle was at many shows last year, so the tests are still running at the moment.”

Q: What was the development team's great challenge?

A: “The biggest challenge was to get access to the battery capacity of the vehicle in addition to the solar cells.”

Q: Are there plans to commercialize the e.home camper?

A: “The vehicle was meant to present our ideas to customers and match them with their wishes. Of course, various individual elements, such as connectivity, will be incorporated into production vehicles.”

Q: Are there plans to use PCM technology in other Dethleffs campers?

A: “This is not known until the tests have been completed.”

Patent application: System and method of heat management for vehicle

Ben Welter - Monday, June 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180156146 (applicants Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., Seoul, South Korea):

"A system of heat management of a vehicle may include a cooling line in which coolant cooling an engine flows therethrough; an exhaust heat retrieving apparatus for retrieving heat of exhaust gas discharged from a combustion chamber of the engine through operation fluid; a heat storage apparatus which stores heat of exhaust gas retrieved by the exhaust heat retrieving apparatus using the operation fluid and includes phase change material; a coolant heat exchanger in which heat stored in the heat storage apparatus and the coolant are heat-exchanged; a driving information detector for detecting a driving information including a temperature of the coolant and a temperature of the phase change material; and a controller for controlling the temperature of the coolant through the exhaust heat retrieving apparatus or the heat storage apparatus based on the temperature of the coolant and the temperature of the phase change material when the vehicle starts."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180156146.pdf

Related patent applications:

Method and system for exhaust heat recovery (Ford Global Technologies)
HVAC systems for electrically powered vehicles (BorgWarner Inc.)