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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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Research roundup: PCM compatibility with metals, plastic; desiccant packet for cooling vest; paraffin viscosity; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 23, 2017

Investigation of the corrosive properties of phase change materials in contact with metals and plastic [Renewable Energy]

Preparation and thermal properties of SAT-CMC-DSP/EG composite as phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A numerical study on the usage of phase change material (PCM) to prolong compressor off period in a beverage cooler [Energy Conversion and Management]

Abilities and limitations of thermal mass activation for thermal comfort, peak shifting and shaving: A review [Building and Environment]

Corrosion effect of phase change materials in solar thermal energy storage application [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A review for phase change materials (PCMs) in solar absorption refrigeration systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Sodium nitrate – Diatomite composite materials for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Innovative PCM-desiccant packet to provide dry microclimate and improve performance of cooling vest in hot environment [Energy Conversion and Management]

Heat transfer study of phase change materials with graphene nano particle for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Energy performance evaluation of heat-storage gypsum board with hybrid SSPCM composite [Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry]

Empirical equation to estimate viscosity of paraffin [Journal of Energy Storage]

Yearly energy performance of a photovoltaic-phase change material (PV-PCM) system in hot climate [Solar Energy]

Patent application: PCMs comprising alkanolamides and diesters and methods of making and using them

Ben Welter - Monday, February 20, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170044414 (applicant Entropy Solutions LLC, Plymouth, Minn.):

"This invention generally relates to thermoregulation and temperature stabilization, thermal protection and insulation, and nucleating agents. In particular, in alternative embodiments, provided are organic phase change materials comprising diesters and alkanolamides. In alternative embodiments, provided are Phase Change Material (PCMs) compositions comprising diesters and alkanolamides, and methods for making and using them. In alternative embodiments, the Phase Change Material (PCMs) compositions are used for thermal energy management, including energy storage and/or temperature stabilization, in various applications such as building, automotive, packaging, garment and footwear, textiles, fabrics, synthetic fibers, foods, microcapsules and other energy storage systems."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170044414.pdf

PCM briefing: New denim features phase change material; Sasol 'back on the expansion trail'

Ben Welter - Monday, February 06, 2017

• Thinking about attending BiobasedWorld 2017 in Cologne, Germany, this month? Sorry, the trade show was canceled a few months ago due to the industry's "challenging economic environment." A related show is on the horizon: Bio-Based Live Europe in Amsterdam, May 31-June 1. The focus will be on "Process Innovation and Technology" and "Sustainable Products." Speakers include Freek Snieders, managing director, Croda International; and Jean Luc Dubois, scientific director, Arkema.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory takes a look at how University of Michigan researchers used a Cray XK7 Titan supercomputer to study melting in two-dimensional systems. Deeper understanding of the process, Oak Ridge says, "could yield insights into surface interactions in materials important to technologies like solar panels, as well as into the mechanism behind three-dimensional melting." 

• The cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will be offered at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in San Diego in May. The all-day session on May 25 will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging. The conference agenda is available for download.

Biznews.com reports that chemicals giant Sasol is "back on the expansion trail, seeking out suitable acquisitions."

• Among the new fabrics on display at the Munich Fabric Start trade show this week: Cordura denim combined with Schoeller phase change material. 

• The University of the West of England has installed two Monodraught Cool-Phase hybrid units in the university's Estates Management Office in Bristol. Monodraught says its PCM-equipped systems have been shown to "use up to 90% less energy than traditional a/c systems."  

• The 12th Conference on Advanced Building Skins, scheduled for Oct. 2-3 in Bern, Switzerland, has issued a call for papers. Possible topics include financial models, new products, advanced design and building performance. The deadline is Feb. 10. 

Pelican BioThermal has announced that its new passive pallet shipper system, CrÄ“do Cargo, is now available to rent or buy. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

Research roundup: Nano-sized phase change emulsions; porous triamide-linked polymers; thermoregulation of fabric; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 19, 2017

Preparation and characterization of nano-sized phase change emulsions as thermal energy storage and transport media [Applied Energy]

Largely enhanced thermal conductivity of poly (ethylene glycol)/ boron nitride composite phase change materials for solar-thermal-electric energy conversion and storage with very low content of graphene nanoplatelets [Chemical Engineering Journal]

Effect of an increased thermal contact resistance in a salt PCM-graphite foam composite TES system [Renewable Energy]

Experimental investigation on potential of a concentrated photovoltaic-thermoelectric system with phase change materials [Energy]

PEG encapsulated by porous triamide-linked polymers as support for solid-liquid phase change materials for energy storage [Chemical Physics Letters]

Morphological characterization and applications of phase change materials in thermal energy storage: A review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review]

Preparation and thermal properties of short carbon fibers/erythritol phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

Preparation and properties of fatty acid eutectics/expanded perlite and expanded vermiculite shape-stabilized materials for thermal energy storage in buildings [Energy and Buildings]

Thermoregulation in Thermo-regulating Fabric: An Overview [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific Research in Science, Engineering and Technology]

Budding engineers ride their PCM idea to state tournament

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Even with windows open, dogs left in hot cars are in danger of overheating. Ten schoolchildren from Fox Valley Christian Academy in Neenah, Wis., have developed a winning solution: a rubber-and-foam mat filled with biobased phase change material.

The team is one of thousands participating in FIRST LEGO League, an international competition designed to get elementary and middle school students interested in science and technology. This year’s theme, “Animal Allies,” challenged students to bridge the gap between humans and animals through scientific research and robotics design.

The Fox Valley students, ages 8 to 13, began their work in September and decided to find a way to keep dogs cool in hot cars. Their research led them to a variety of PCM options. Because the application involves pets, the students chose to focus on nontoxic material for use in their “LayCool” device.

The final design stacks PCMs with three different transition temperatures atop the rubber mat: Ice in plastic blocks at the base, then two Entropy Solutions formulations – PureTemp 18 and PureTemp 23 – contained in film pouches. The PCM core is surrounded by foam and a fabric cover. The “LayCool” concept includes a temperature-sensing collar that sends a text message to the dog’s owner when heat approaches dangerous levels.

“The team really liked that the PCMs were nontoxic, safe, biodegradable,” said adviser Scott Wenzel, a parent of two team members. “You never know when your dog will try to eat the LayCool. We also loved the fact that the PCMs were encased in a mat, which we were able to cut to size and place in the LayCool.”

Wenzel, a technical leader in formulation science at Kimberly-Clark, described the prototyping process as collaborative: “Ideas were gathered on the best way to layer PCMs to keep cool the longest and try to keep dog comfortable.”

The collaborative effort is paying off. The team won first place in the research category in two competitions, including last month’s sectional tournament, where Fox Valley beat 47 other teams. They earned a trip to the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 26 in Janesville, Wis.

PCM briefing: Seasonal TES with concentrated sodium hydroxide; increased preference for biobased chemicals

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

• Swiss researchers say they have developed a system that can capture heat during summer and then later use it during winter. The system uses concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the thermal storage medium and a collection of readily available components to capture, convert and release heat energy on demand. "The stored heat can also be transported elsewhere in the form of concentrated sodium hydroxide solution, which makes it flexible to use,” said Benjamin Fumey of the Empa research institute.

• The market research firm Technavio has identified the use of phase change material as a trend in the development of battery thermal management systems for electric vehicles.

Sure Chill's long-term passive cooling device, designed to maintain vaccines in a temperature range of 2° to 8°C for 10 days or more without the need for grid-based electricity, received high marks in a PATH field test in Senegal. 

• Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 Reaxys PhD Prize. The international competition is open to Ph.D. students or recent graduates conducting innovative research in synthetic chemistry. Forty-five finalists will be selected based on originality of research, rigor of methodology, quality of published work and supervisor's letter of recommendation. The finalists will present their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium. Three winners will then be selected and receive $2,000. The application deadline is March 13. 

• Thanks to a slowdown in China and Japan, new investment in clean energy fell to $287.5 billion worldwide in 2016, down 18 percent from 2015's record high,  Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports.

An increased preference for biobased chemicals and other environmentally friendly alternatives will significantly affect the growth prospects of the global petrochemicals market in the next few years, Transparency Market Research reports.

• New from QYResearch: "China Inorganic Phase Change Materials Market Research Report 2017"

• U.K.-based Dulas Ltd. is delivering more than 300 of its VC150SDD solar refrigerators to Nigeria. The refrigerators use a paraffin-based phase change material to keep vaccines in a safe temperature range..

Rehau Akademie is offering a free webinar (in German) on Building Information Modeling on Jan. 26.

• In an interview with Business Quarter, Sunamp founder Andrew Bissell talks about how partnering with the University of Edinburgh helped his company overcome challenges associated with phase change materials.

Lexo tumbler uses material developed by University of Missouri professor

Ben Welter - Monday, January 09, 2017

Lexo PCM tumblerThe heat transfer experts at ThermAvant Technologies, founded in 2007 by two University of Missouri engineering professors, have developed a wide range of oscillating heat pipes, liquid cold plates and other thermal management solutions. Now the Columbia, Mo., company has introduced a stainless steel tumbler that uses biobased phase change material to keep hot beverages at the optimal temperature.

The Lexo tumbler features three layers of 18/8 stainless steel and a BPA-free plastic lid. The 10-ounce version is selling for $37.95; a 16-ounce version will sell for $39.95. By comparison, Joeveo's 16-ounce Temperfect mug, available for preorder on Indiegogo, sells for $40. Ember Technologies' new Wi-Fi enabled temperature-adjustable mug, which employs PCM and a battery-powered heating system, sells for $149.95. 

All three mugs use PCM to absorb the initial heat of coffee or tea and bring it to the optimal drinking temperature.

“Our mug takes about two minutes to cool to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal drinking temperature, and it stays there for up to eight hours,” said Dr. Bill Ma, the C.W. LaPierre Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the University of Missouri's College of Engineering.

http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2017/0105-new-coffee-mug-holds-liquids-at-optimal-temps-for-8-hours-leads-to-patent-for-mu-engineer/

Research roundup: Dicarboxylic acid eutectic mixture; viscosity, heat capacity of fatty acids; cool colored coating; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 04, 2017

A novel medium-temperature form-stable phase change material based on dicarboxylic acid eutectic mixture/expanded graphite composites [Solar Energy]

Empirical equations for viscosity and specific heat capacity determination of fatty acids [Journal of Energy Storage]

Cool colored coating and phase change materials as complementary cooling strategies for building cooling load reduction in tropics [Applied Energy]

Experimental Study on Specific Heat of Concrete at High Temperatures and Its Influence on Thermal Energy Storage [Energies]

Investigations on the thermal stability, long-term reliability of LiNO3/KCl – expanded graphite composite as industrial waste heat storage material and its corrosion properties with metals [Applied Energy]

Colorado's first certified passive house 'has gone well past expectations'

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Colorado's first certified International Passive House is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains north of Denver. The 1,200-square-foot MARTaK house, designed by architect and author Andrew Michler, is used primarily as an off-the-grid workspace. The structure has now been occupied continuously for six months. Has it met Michler's energy expectations?

MARTaK passive house photo by Andrew Michler"Yes," Michler says, "it's gone well past my expectations. ... We haven't turned on the heating system this year." 

A solar array shared with a neighboring home provides all electrical power and most of the heating, with a propane-powered hydronic system serving as backup. Passive House Planning Package software was used to find the most efficient mix of insulation, windows and shading. Natural, nontoxic and recycled materials are used throughout the house. 

Biobased phase change material with a melt point of 23º C is used to help even out temperature spikes. The PCM is contained in 500 square feet of ENRG Blankets made by Phase Change Energy Solutions. Most of the material is installed a south-facing interior wall. 

Is it possible to measure the PCM's impact on overall performance?

"That's the question that I haven't found anybody able to answer," Michler says. "It's more about experiential. It's hard to isolate the PCM performance. There's no good modeling software for this. ...

"Overheating has been the biggest issue with passive houses, and we're seeing some anecdotal success with PCMs. We had a really warm fall, and the PCM did seem to level out the interior temperature, leveling out at 78 degrees Fahrenheit."

Has Michler used PCM in other projects? "No, this is the first. I do have interest in trying it again."

http://www.archello.com/en/project/martak-passive-house

U.S. patent: Rootzone heating for energy conservation using latent heat storage

Ben Welter - Monday, December 12, 2016

U.S. patent 9,510,515 (inventor Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Hoover, Ala; assignee Entropy Solutions LLC, Plymouth, Minn.):

U.S. patent image of root zone with micro PCMs"A plant pot or a plant container comprising: a phase change material (PCM) or a composition comprising a PCM, wherein the plant pot or plant container is formed from or has as part of its structure or has as a structural component comprising the PCM or composition comprising the PCM, and a sufficient amount of PCM is provided in or part of the plant pot or plant container to maintain a root zone environment having a consistent temperature environment or optimal temperature environment for a plant's root system growth or maintenance, and wherein the PCM or the composition comprising the PCM: (a) is positioned in as part of the plant pot or plant container to be approximate to, close to, in contact with, or substantially in contact with, the plant root system or a soil, or (b) is present as part of or as a structural component of the plant pot or plant container, in an amount sufficient to maintain a root zone environment having a consistent temperature environment or optimal temperature environment for the plant's root system growth or maintenance."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/9510515.html