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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.




Research roundup: Heat transfer enhancement of PCMs; CuO/palmitic acid composite; cooking applications; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Investigation of thermal performance by applying a solar chimney with PCM towards the natural ventilation of model house under Climate of Thailand
Study of Solar– PCM Walls for domestic hot water production under the tropical climate of Thailand
Improved Performance of Composite Phase Change Material for Thermal Energy Storage
Experimental investigation on freezing/melting characteristics of two different phase change materials
Review on Heat Transfer Enhancement of Phase Change Materials (PCMs)
Experimental Investigation of Improved Thermal Characteristics of Al2O3/Barium Hydroxide Octa Hydrate as Phase Change Materials (PCMs)
Improved Thermal Energy Storage Behavior of CuO/Palmitic acid Composite as Phase Change Material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

An Experimental Investigation of the Melting Process of a Bio-based Nano-PCM filled Vertical Cylindrical Thermal Energy Storage System

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental investigation of the effects of mass fraction and temperature on the viscosity of microencapsulated PCM slurry

From Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering:

Rapid thermal cycling of three phase change materials (PCMs) for cooking applications

From 3rd Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference:

Use of Wood/Phase Change Material Composite in the Building Envelope for Building Thermal Control and Energy Savings

PCM briefing: DowDuPont shifts to small-scale R&D projects; Viking Cold Solutions has opening for business development manager

Ben Welter - Monday, June 04, 2018

Arktek vaccine carrierWired takes a close look at Arktek, "the Ebola vaccine's high-tech thermos." The World Health Organization is using the PCM-equipped container to transport the temperature-sensitive vaccine to wherever it's needed, whatever the conditions. The container is designed keep payloads colder than -65 C for five days.

• With an eye toward increased profits, CEO Edward Breen says DowDuPont is moving away from large-scale R&D projects in favor of less risky initiatives of $30 million or less.

Viking Cold Solutions has posted an opening for a business development manager for the Northeastern United States.

ASHRAE has published a new standard describing a methodology to apply building energy modeling throughout the design process. ASHRAE Standard 209-2018 defines minimum requirements for providing energy design assistance using building energy simulation and analysis.

Pelican BioThermal is opening its first Canadian drop point for the Credo on Demand rental program. The new drop point, at ATS Healthcare headquarters in Toronto, offers customers an additional location to return temperature-control pallet and bulk shippers. 

Phase change composite shows potential to double AC compressor efficiency

Ben Welter - Friday, June 01, 2018

Using a phase change composite material, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a novel thermal energy storage system that has the potential to downsize conventional air-conditioner compressors by 50 percent and double compressor efficiency during off- and mid-peak hours.

The research is described in a paper titled “Design and optimization of a hybrid air conditioning system with thermal energy storage using phase change composite,” recently accepted for publication in Energy Conversion and Management. One of the authors, Said Al-Hallaj, a research professor of chemical engineering at UI-Chicago and CEO of AllCell Technologies LLC, answered a few questions by e-mail.

Q: Who led the research team, and how long did the project take?

A: “It is an ongoing project since 2015 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I work as a Research Professor of Chemical Engineering, and part of the PhD thesis for my graduate student Ahmed Aljehani.”

Q: Who funded the project? 

A: “Ahmed has a scholarship from his government in Saudi Arabia and we get technical support from our industry partners NETenergy and AllCell Technologies LLC.”

Q: Who supplied the PCM?

A: “I believe it is n-tetradecane (C14H30) PCM that we bought from a distributor and not sure about actual source.”

28 slabs of phase change composite materialQ: What is its peak melting point? 

A: “4-6 degrees Celsius.”

Q: What is its thermal storage capacity?

A: “180 kJ/kg (78% PCM, 22% graphite).”

Q: Describe the benchtop PCC/TES system size, components and functionality.

A: “The actual 4 kWh PCC-TES structure is made of 28 slabs of PCC [right]. The whole PCC-TES structure is thermally insulated with building insulation materials. Each slab represents a graphite structure that has been soaked into n-tetradecane for at least 24 h until impregnated with n-tetradecane. The slabs are numbered from top to bottom; top being number 1. The second component is the copper tubes or the copper coils, which pass back and forth in between the 28 slabs. The copper tubes enter the PCC-TES structure from the top and exits from the bottom of the structure.”

Q: Is the concept intended mainly for commercial AC systems, or could it be adapted for residential use?

A: “It should work for both, but commercial AC applications are more economically beneficial due to rate structure and peak demand requirements.”

Q: What are the next steps in developing this concept?

A: “NETenergy, our technology commercialization partner, is partnering with National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a major OEM to build and test a full-scale prototype at NREL facilities in the next year or so.”

Research roundup: Nanofluid-based PCMs; microencapsulation of n-alkanes; finned solar PV PCM; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 31, 2018

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Glycolysis of Advanced Polyurethanes Composites containing Thermoregulating Microcapsules

From Applied Thermal Engineering:
From Applied Energy:

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

From Chemical Engineering Science:

Research roundup: Thermoelectric generator system; solar chimney; novel thermal management system for lithium-ion battery pack; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 18, 2018

From Energy:

Protection and Thermal Management of Thermoelectric Generator System Using Phase Change Materials: An Experimental Investigation
Performance analysis of a novel thermal management system with composite phase change material for a lithium-ion battery pack

From Solar Energy:

Efficient energy storage technologies for photovoltaic systems
The experimental appraisement of the effect of energy storage on the performance of solar chimney using phase change material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Improving thermal management of electronic apparatus with paraffin (PA)/expanded graphite (EG)/graphene (GN) composite material
Experimental exploration of incorporating form-stable hydrate salt phase change materials into cement mortar for thermal energy storage

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:

Numerical investigation of thermal and optical performance of window units filled with nanoparticle enhanced PCM

From Applied Energy:

Cost estimation and sensitivity analysis of a latent thermal energy storage system for supplementary cooling of air cooled condensers
Influence of design on performance of a latent heat storage system at high temperatures

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Preparation and investigation of distinct and shape stable paraffin/SiO2 composite PCM nanospheres

From Energy and Buildings:

Parametric Analysis of Using PCM Walls for Heating Loads Reduction

Research roundup: Comb-like polymeric phase change materials; energy-storing concrete; building-integrated solar thermal; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 09, 2018

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Thermal and electrical management of photovoltaic panels using phase change materials – A review

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermal performance and shape-stabilization of comb-like polymeric phase change materials enhanced by octadecylamine-functionalized graphene oxide

From Energy:

Front tracking in modelling of latent heat thermal energy storage: Assessment of accuracy and efficiency, benchmarking and GPU-based acceleration

From Construction and Building Materials:

Mechanical behavior, energy-storing properties and thermal reliability of phase-changing energy-storing concrete

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 Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:

Magnetically stirring enhanced thermal performance of phase change material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Numerical comparison between single PCM and multi-stage PCM based high temperature thermal energy storage for CSP tower plants

Research roundup: HDPE graphite composite; PCM-integrated PV modules; solar domestic hot water tank with PCM in the mantle; more

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

From Particuology:

High density polyethylene (HDPE) — Graphite composite manufactured by extrusion: A novel way to fabricate phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy:

Life cycle costing as a bottom line for the life cycle sustainability assessment in the solar energy sector: A review

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Improving the thermal regulation and efficiency enhancement of PCM-integrated PV modules using nano particles
Climatic behaviour of solar photovoltaic integrated with phase change material

From Energy and Buildings:

Thermal performance assessment and improvement of a solar domestic hot water tank with PCM in the mantle
Fabrication and characterization of fatty acid/wood-flour composites as novel form-stable phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

Possibility of using PCMs in temperature control and performance enhancements of free stand and building integrated PV modules
Performance evaluation of nano-enhanced phase change materials during discharge stage in waste heat recovery

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Microencapsulated n-eicosane PCM suspensions: Thermophysical properties measurement and modeling

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Numerical investigation of different PCM volume on cold thermal energy storage system

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Methods of heat transfer intensification in PCM thermal storage systems: Review paper

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A Review on Thermal Management Methods for Robots

Research roundup: Solar absorption cooling systems; air-PCM storage unit; cement slurry; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Performance enhancement of solar absorption cooling systems using thermal energy storage with phase change materials [Applied Energy]

Experimental validation of an air-PCM storage unit comparing the Effective Heat Capacity and Enthalpy methods through CFD simulations [Energy]

Controlling the heat evaluation of cement slurry system used in natural gas hydrate layer by micro-encapsulated phase change materials [Solar Energy]

Thermal properties and thermal conductivity enhancement of composite phase change material using sodium acetate trihydrate–urea/expanded graphite for radiant floor heating system [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Study on heat-transfer mechanism of wallboards containing active phase change material and parameter optimization with ventilation [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Life Cycle Assessment of Innovative Materials for Thermal Energy Storage in Buildings [Procedia CIRP]

Research roundup: Microcapsule with SiO2-TiO2 hybrid shell; finned rectangular enclosures; glazed roof with PCM; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Synthesis and properties of phase change microcapsule with SiO2-TiO2 hybrid shell [Solar Energy]

Experimental investigation of melting behaviour of phase change material in finned rectangular enclosures under different inclination angles [Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science]

Phase change material based cooling of photovoltaic panel: A simplified numerical model for the optimization of the phase change material layer and general economic evaluation [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Influence of glazed roof containing phase change material on indoor thermal environment and energy consumption [Applied Energy]

Thermal field and heat storage in a cyclic phase change process caused by several moving melting and solidification interfaces in the layer [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

A phase change microactuator based on paraffin wax/expanded graphite/nickel particle composite with induction heating [Sensors and Actuators A: Physical]

Patent application: Heat storage material

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 05, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180094180 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"The invention relates to a material including a support consisting of a porous composite material including at least one polymer phase forming a binder based on at least one polymer selected from thermoplastic polymers, elastomers, and elastomer thermoplastics, and at least one filler selected from thermally conductive fillers, the pores of the support consisting of the porous composite material being partially or entirely filled with at least one phase-change material. The invention also relates to a method for producing said material."