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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: Enclosure with a condensation-resistant interior surface

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 07, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170254503 (applicant Sabic Global Technologies BV, Netherlands):

Sabic headlamp patent application drawing"In an embodiment, an enclosure comprises walls forming the enclosure, wherein the enclosure comprises an internal space; an inhibiting element disposed in at least one wall, the inhibiting element having an internal inhibiting surface exposed to the internal space, wherein the inhibiting element has a transparency of greater than or equal to 20%; and a condensing element disposed in at least one other wall, the condensing element having an internal condensing surface exposed to the internal space; wherein at least one of the inhibiting element and the condensing element comprise a phase change material [84] configured to form a temperature differential between an internal inhibiting surface temperature and an internal condensing surface temperature over a temperature range."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170254503.pdf

PCM briefing: Dethleffs unveils solar-powered camper; ScienceDirect launches 'personalized recommendations'

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

ScienceDirect, the full-text research database from Elsevier, now offers a "personalized recommendations" feature. Registered users of the site are automatically enrolled in the service, which uses an adaptive algorithm to analyze a user's searches and then sends a list of three to five recommended articles to the user by e-mail each week. 

Ember Technologies' temperature-control coffee mug won a Silver IDEA Award in the kitchen and accessories category at the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in August. 

Dethleffs e-home motorhome• German camper manufacturer Dethleffs has unveiled a concept vehicle that runs on a 107-horsepower electric motor. 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. But of course its batteries recharge when the sun shines.

Gary Owens has been named president and chief executive officer at Mesa Laboratories Inc., succeeding John Sullivan, who has held the positions since 2009. 

Dulas Ltd., maker of solar-powered vaccine refrigerators, has completed a supply and training program in Myanmar under the auspices of the World Health Organization. Dulas delivered refrigeration units that feature phase change material, a 400W photovoltaic array and 132-liter vaccine storage capacity.

Pluss Advanced Technologies' MiraCradle infant cooling device, which uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia, is featured in an article in The Guardian this week. The device was launched commercially in 2014 and is now being used in more than 125 hospitals across India and three in South Africa. 

Dow Chemical and DuPont have completed their planned $130 billion merger to form DowDuPont. Shares of the merged company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "DWDP." 

Patent application: Heat exchanger and storage device

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170248375 (assignee BorgWarner Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich.):

"A product with a heat generating system, the product having a heat storage medium constructed and arranged to receive and store heat from the heat generating system wherein the product is constructed and arranged to trigger, extract, and use the stored heat, the heat storage medium receiving heat from the heat generating system during which heat storage in the heat storage medium increases at a first rate to a point where a phase change of the heat storage medium occurs and increases at a second rate during the phase change of the energy storage medium at a phase change temperature, the second rate being substantially higher than the first rate and wherein the extraction and use of heat by the product is triggered by a generator at a temperature that is lower than the phase change temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170248375.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: Temperature regulating polyurethane gels

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170210961 (applicant Technogel Italia, Vicenza, Italy): 

"A method for the production of a temperature regulating polyurethane gel composition and corresponding articles includes fatty acid esters as a phase change material (PCM) directly incorporated in the fluid phase of a polyurethane gel without encapsulation. The liquid or melted PCM is solved in the polyol component of the gel and is able to crystallize and melt within the gel structure reversibly. The polyurethane gels are under-crosslinked and include at least nominal three functional ethylene oxide-comprising alkylene oxide polyether polyol with 0 to 40% EO and an isocyanate with an effective functionality of from 1.5 to 3.5. The gels are useful in articles where the gel can be positioned close to the human body for temperature regulating purposes, and especially to improve the sleeping comfort of a resting person."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170210961.pdf

Patent application: Systems and methods for thermal battery control

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170210196 (applicant Ford Global Technologies, Dearborn, Mich.):

"Methods and system for operating a thermal storage device of a vehicle system are provided. In one example, a method comprises estimating a temperature of a thermal battery after the battery and coolant included therein have reached thermal equilibrium, and determining a state of charge of the battery based on the estimated temperature and one or more chemical properties of two phase change materials included within the battery. Specifically, the thermal battery may include two phase change materials with different melting points for providing thermal energy to warm coolant in a vehicle coolant system."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170210196.pdf

Patent application: Condenser cylinder adapted for use in an A/C cylinder

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170198952 (applicant Valeo Systemes Thermiques, Le Mesnil St. Denis, France):

Valeo cylinder patent drawing''The invention relates to a condenser receiver adapted to receive and house a fluid used in a cold loop of an air-conditioning system, said condenser receiver comprising an outer wall and an inner wall. The inner wall defines an inner space for housing a fluid, while the outer wall is provided on its outer surface with a plurality of ribs that increase the heat exchange between the fluid contained in the inner space and the ambient air outside the condenser receiver. ... According to a preferred mode of embodiment of the present invention, the component adapted to store and release a set amount of heat comprises a phase change material [14]."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170198952.pdf

Patent application: Automobile interior temperature stabilizer

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170184348 (inventor Roger Li-chung Wu, West Covina, Calif.):

"An automobile interior temperature stabilizer includes a holder adapted for placing within a vehicle cabin and a temperature stabilizing member which is made of latent heat material that absorbs and releases heat without rising in its temperature and is disposed in the holder, wherein the temperature stabilizing member has a threshold temperature range that the temperature stabilizing member is arranged for absorbing cabin heat within the vehicle cabin to cool down the vehicle cabin when an interior temperature of the vehicle is higher than the threshold temperature range, and the temperature stabilizing member is arranged for releasing stored heat to the vehicle cabin to warm the vehicle cabin when an interior temperature of the vehicle is lower than the threshold temperature range. ... The temperature stabilizing member, which is made of phase change material (PCM), will collect heat during the day (high temperature), and will release heat at night (low temperature) to provide an optimal cabin temperature, resulting in energy efficiency and cost saving."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170184348.pdf

Patent application: Temperature maintenance and regulation of vehicle exhaust catalyst systems

Ben Welter - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ford patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170157559 (applicant Ford Global Technologies LLC, Dearborn, Mich.):

"A vehicle exhaust system is provided and comprises a catalyst positioned in an exhaust passage of a vehicle. The catalyst is in the form of a washcoat supported on a substrate. The system includes a phase change material [52] located adjacent to the catalyst to maintain the temperature of the catalyst between engine shut-down and subsequent start-up as well as to regulate the temperature during engine operation. In some embodiments, the phase change material comprises particles of a metal or metal alloy encapsulated in a ceramic material. The metal or metal alloy is adapted to have a phase change that occurs within a temperature range wherein the catalyst is active."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170157559.pdf