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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: Method and apparatus for absorbing thermal energy

Ben Welter - Friday, October 27, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170268829 (applicant Rini Technologies Inc., Oviedo, Fla.):

"The subject invention pertains to a method and apparatus for storing thermal energy. The subject thermal energy storage apparatus can function as a heat absorber in a cooling system. A cooling system can incorporate a cooling cycle that utilizes thermal energy storage and has two coolant loops. The primary cooling loop acquires the waste heat from a heat source, such as an electronic device, by heat transfer to the primary coolant via, for example, a sensible heat process (where sensible heat is heat absorbed or transmitted by a substance during a change in temperature which is not accompanied by a change of state) or by evaporating the primary coolant through a latent heat phase change process. The waste heat absorbed by the primary coolant is transferred to the host material of the heat absorber. The subject invention uses a high thermal conductivity host material to house a lower thermal conductivity phase change material, in order to achieve a thermal energy absorber that has a high effective thermal conductivity."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170268829.pdf

Patent application: Capacitor assembly and related method of forming

Ben Welter - Monday, June 19, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170169948 (assignee General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

"A capacitor assembly, comprising: a housing; a plurality of capacitors disposed within the housing; a thermally conductive article disposed about at least a portion of a capacitor body of the capacitors, and in thermal contact with the capacitor body; and a heat sink disposed within the housing and in thermal contact with at least a portion of the housing and the thermally conductive article such that the heat sink is configured to remove heat from the capacitor in a radial direction of the capacitor assembly. ... In some embodiments ... the heat sink may be formed of the phase change material or the heat sink may include the phase change material that is combined with one or more thermal conductive materials."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2017/0169948.html

Patent application: PCM for cooling enclosed electronic components for solar energy collection

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170005615 (applicant GlassPoint Solar Inc., Fremont, Calif.):

"The present technology is directed generally to phase change materials for cooling enclosed electronic components, including for solar energy collection, and associated systems and methods. In particular embodiments, a system directs warm air through an airflow path in thermal communication with a phase change material to liquefy the phase change material and cool the air. The system also directs the cool air into thermal communication with electronic components to cool the electronic components via conduction and/or convection."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170005615.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management of electrochemical device

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160226114 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

"This disclosure provides casings and materials for the thermal management and protection of an electrochemical cell. The casing may also comprise a composite polymeric material for electrochemical cell thermal management, the composite polymeric material comprising a crosslinked polyether polyol phase change material configured to be in physical contact with at least a portion of an electrochemical cell."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160226114.pdf

Research roundup: Energy storage technology review; U-shaped thermosyphon; multi-walled carbon nanotubes; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Energy storage in the energy transition context: A technology review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Analysis and design of a drain water heat recovery storage unit based on PCM plates [Applied Energy]

Numerical simulation of the heat transfer characteristics of a U-shaped thermosyphon containing a PCM suspension [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Solidification of a PCM with Nanoparticles in Triplex-Tube Thermal Energy Storage System [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental and computational evaluation of phase change materials for handheld computing [IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems]

Experimental investigation of transient thermal response of phase change material embedded by graphene nanoparticles in energy storage module [IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems]

Numerical study on the melting thermal characteristics of a microencapsulated phase change plate [Numerical Heat Transfer, Part A: Applications: An International Journal of Computation and Methodology]

Thermal property investigation of multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) embedded Phase Change Materials (PCMs) [IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems]

Low-grade heat collection from a latent heat thermal energy storage unit [IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems]

Performance enhancement of fin attached ice-on-coil type thermal storage tank for different fin orientations using constrained and unconstrained simulations [Heat and Mass Transfer]

Patent application: Systems, structures and materials for electronic device cooling

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 21, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160212841 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

"An electronic device having one or more components that generate heat during operation includes a structure for temperature management and heat dissipation. The structure for temperature management and heat dissipation comprises a heat transfer substrate having a surface that is in thermal communication with the ambient environment and a temperature management material in physical contact with at least a portion of the one or more components of the electronic device and at least a portion of the heat transfer substrate. The temperature management material comprises a polymeric phase change material having a latent heat of at least 5 Joules per gram and a transition temperature between 0 degree C and 100 degree C, and a thermal conductive filler."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160212841.pdf

Research roundup: Hot water storage tank; narrow-disperse macrocapsules; magnesium sulfate heptahydrate/urea resin; more

Ben Welter - Monday, March 21, 2016

On the Behavior of Different PCMs in a Hot Water Storage Tank against Thermal Demands [Materials]

Design, controlled fabrication and characterization of narrow-disperse macrocapsules containing Micro/NanoPCMs [Materials & Design]

Synthesis and Characterization of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material of Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate/Urea Resin via Emulsion Polymerization Method [5th International Conference on Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer]

The Lattice Boltzmann Investigation for the Melting Process of Phase Change Material in an Inclining Cavity [5th International Conference on Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer]

Confined Jet Array Impingement Cooling Using NEPCM Nanofluids [5th International Conference on Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer]

Research roundup: Performance enhancement of PCM latent heat storage system; analysis of TES adsorber unit; more

Ben Welter - Friday, March 11, 2016

A review of performance enhancement of PCM based latent heat storage system within the context of materials, thermal stability and compatibility [Energy Conversion and Management]

Modeling and parametric analysis of an adsorber unit for thermal energy storage [Energy]

Natural convection melting in a high temperature flat plate latent heat storage system: Parameter study of enclosure dimensions [pdf] [Innostorage]

Scaling and super-cooling in heat storage harvesting devices [Microsystem Technologies]

Research roundup: Sodium stearoyl lactylate as stabilizer; oscillating heat-pipe battery; paraffin nanocomposite; more

Ben Welter - Monday, December 14, 2015

Thermal behavior of paraffin-nano-Al2O3 stabilized by sodium stearoyl lactylate as a stable phase change material with high thermal conductivity [Renewable Energy]

Thermal performance of phase change material/oscillating heat pipe-based battery thermal management system [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

Preparation and thermal performance of paraffin/nano-SiO2 nanocomposite for passive thermal protection of electronic devices [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A comparative study on PCM and ice thermal energy storage tank for air-conditioning systems in office buildings [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Economic impact of integrating PCM as passive system in buildings using Fanger comfort model [Energy and Buildings]

Phase Change Matters briefing: Innovative smartphone screen; the TES equipment market; California's storage push

Ben Welter - Monday, November 30, 2015

Bodle Technologies, an Oxford University spin-out, has created a smartphone screen that uses phase change material to drastically reduce battery drain while still offering a vivid display in bright sunlight.

ReportsnReports has released new research on the global market for thermal energy storage equipment through 2021. Calmac, Caldwell Energy and Chicago Bridge and Iron are among the key manufacturers profiled. 

• Ice storage pioneer CALMAC shares its view on why California committed itself to "wider implementation of energy storage technologies both on the grid and behind the meter."