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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: Microencapsulation process

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 20, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170165627 (assignee Encapsys LLC, Appleton, Wis.):

"A microencapsulation process in which wall forming materials in a dispersed phase are polymerized to form a seed microcapsule after which an initiator or catalyst in the continuous phase is initiated or activated to effect, in whole or in part, full polymerization of the wall forming material of the dispersed phase. ... Most especially the microcapsule according to the present teachings have a phase change material as the core material. Suitable phase change materials are typically known hydrocarbons that melt at a temperature of between -30° C. and 150° C."

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html ...

Research roundup: PCM-assisted night purge ventilation; dispersed metallic nanoparticles; crystallohydrates; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nanoencapsulated crystallohydrate mixtures for advanced thermal energy storage [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

Hexadecane-in-water emulsions as thermal-energy storage and heat transfer fluids: Connections between phase-transition temperature and period of hexadecane droplets dispersed in hexadecane-in-water emulsions and characteristics of surfactants [Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects]

Evaluating the Performance of American Change Phase Paraffin Cooling Vest and Iranian Spadana Gel Ice Cooling Vest on the Perceptual and Physiological Strain Score Index in Hot and Humid Working Conditions of Assaluyeh in Iran [International Journal of Occupational Hygiene]

Development of thermal enhanced n-octadecane/porous nano carbon-based materials using 3-step filtered vacuum impregnation method [Thermochimica Acta]

The impact of phase change materials assisted night purge ventilation on the indoor thermal conditions of office buildings in hot-arid climates [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal energy harvest in the discharge of CO2 semi-clathrate hydrate in an emulated cold storage system [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Melting dynamics of a phase change material (PCM) with dispersed metallic nanoparticles using transport coefficients from empirical and mean field models [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Comparative assessment of thermal comfort with insulation and phase change materials utilizations in building roofs and walls [pdf] [Advanced Materials Proceedings]

Fabrication and properties of graphene oxide-grafted-poly(hexadecyl acrylate) as a solid-solid phase change material [Composites Science and Technology]

Research roundup: Shape-stabilized PCM in epoxy matrix; myristyl alcohol/metal foam for solar thermal storage; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 01, 2017

Illustration of shape-stabilized PCM in epoxy matrix

Novel shape stabilized phase change material based on epoxy matrix with ultrahigh cycle life for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thermal and electrical performance of a PV module integrated with double layers of water-saturated MEPCM [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Investigation on thermal and mechanical characteristics of concrete mixed with shape stabilized phase change material for mix design [Construction and Building Materials]

Thermal properties and thermal conductivity enhancement of composite phase change materials using myristyl alcohol/metal foam for solar thermal storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Experimental and Numerical Study on Energy Performance of Buildings Integrated with Phase Change Materials [Energy Procedia]

Evaluation on Performance of a Phase Change Material Based Cold Storage House [Energy Procedia]

Using Phase Change Materials to Reduce Overheating Issues in UK Residential Buildings [Energy Procedia]

Effect of Supercooling on the Solidification Process of the Phase Change Material [Energy Procedia]

Experimental Investigation of a Spiral Tube Embedded Latent Thermal Energy Storage Tank Using Paraffin as PCM [Energy Procedia]

Investigation of specific heat and latent heat enhancement in hydrate salt based TiO2 nanofluid phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Modeling and investigation of high temperature phase change materials (PCM) in different storage tank configurations [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Lauric acid/modified sepiolite composite as a form-stable phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Clay Science]

Patent application: System for energy consumption reduction and cost savings in a building

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170146251 (applicant Stasis Group Inc., Woodland, Calif.):

"A system for obtaining energy consumptions, savings and cost reduction in structures adapted for human habitation which includes the utilization of a plurality of mats including phase change material encapsulated within first and second layers of plastic material [3.6, above] having heat transfer capability disposed within the plenum area above a ceiling of a room within a building with the amount of phase change material contained within each mat being between 0.5 lbs. and 0.67 lbs. per square foot. ... [The] solid to liquid transition point for said phase change material is from 72° F. to 76° F. and the liquid to solid transition point for said phase change material is from 71° F. to 68° F."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170146251.pdf

PCM briefing: Outlast introduces Xelerate fabric; Warmilu signs 2 distributors

Ben Welter - Friday, May 19, 2017

Drawing of Outlast Xelerate

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric. The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Warmilu, maker of the IncuBlanket infant warmer, reports that is on track for $300,000 in total 2017 sales after signing two distributors for Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia: Relief for Africa Foundation and Maternova. The IncuBlanket, which has been successfully tested in clinical trials in India, uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours. CEO Grace Hsia says the device recently cleared its first regulatory filing with Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Axiom Exergy has won a Gold Stevie for Energy Innovation in the 15th annual American Business Awards. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" enables supermarkets and food warehouses to store thermal energy at night when power is cheaper. The system, which uses salt-based phase change material, reduces peak power usage by up to 40 percent.

• Registration is open for IFAI's Expo 2017, set for Sept. 27-29 in New Orleans. The Industrial Fabrics Association International show will feature sessions on smart fabrics, military procurement, biomimesis and green certification.   

Pelican BioThermal has introduced a new Series 22 Universal system for its Credo brand of shippers. The system uses a dual PCM coolant system designed to be operational throughout the year.

National Law Review offers a fresh overview of green chemistry laws across the United States. "State chemical control regimes," the authors conclude, "are likely to increase cost and foster confusion about chemical safety, which is one reason that Congress agreed to modernize TSCA by adopting LCSA."

Monodraught's Cool-phase ventilation and cooling system was among the finalists honored at the National CSR Awards in London this week. The hybrid system, which won a "One to Watch" award, uses PCMs to store and release thermal energy, providing a free cooling load and reducing energy and maintenance costs.

• The agenda has been released for the 15th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 25-29 in Chicago. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Bloomberg BNA is offering a free webinar June 12: "Reviewing New Chemicals under Amended TSCA: Impact on Innovation." 

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric (shown below). The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Research roundup: Crystallization of salt hydrates in polymeric foam; Glauber's salt; cetyl alcohol/HDPE composites; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 18, 2017

Numerical study on melt fraction during melting of phase change material inside a sphere [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Crystallization of inorganic salt hydrates in polymeric foam for thermal energy storage application [Journal of Energy Storage]

Evaluating the passive and free cooling application methods of phase change materials in residential buildings: A comparative study [Energy and Buildings]

Microstructure and thermal properties of cetyl alcohol/high density polyethylene composite phase change materials with carbon fiber as shape-stabilized thermal storage materials [Applied Energy]

Screening alternatives for producing paraffinic phase change materials for thermal energy storage in buildings [International Journal of Energy Research]

Various Applications of Phase Change Materials: Thermal Energy Storing Materials [pdf] [International Journal of Emerging Research in Management]

Preparation and thermal properties of Glauber’s salt-based phase-change materials for Qinghai–Tibet Plateau solar greenhouses [International Journal of Modern Physics B]

Numerical analysis on the energy storage efficiency of phase change material embedded in finned metal foam with graded porosity [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Passive cooling potential in buildings under various climatic conditions in India [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

BASF sells Micronal PCM line to Microtek Labs

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Microtek Laboratories of Dayton, Ohio, today announced it has signed a contract to purchase BASF's Micronal line of microencapsulated phase change material. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Micronal logoThe Micronal line, introduced in 2004, includes six paraffin-based PCMs offered in liquid and powder form, with melt points ranging from 21° C to 26° C. Microencapsulated PCMs are used for thermal regulation in building and construction products, mattresses, textiles and packaging applications. Micronal is key component of building products such as Knauf wallboard and National Gypsum's ThermalCORE panels. 

Manufacturing of Micronal products will be transitioned to Microtek’s Dayton production facility by the end of the year. Microtek has taken ownership of all Micronal inventory and will begin working with Micronal customers on May 23.

“This is great addition to Microtek’s product line, creating a real advantage for customers who already have a defined manufacturing/coating process requiring a specific type of phase change product in their formulation,” said Randall Lane, Microtek’s chief strategy officer. “Microtek’s mission has always been to provide innovative solutions to enhance product performance for our customers. Adding Micronal to the product line allows Microtek to remain the world leader in microencapsulated PCM products.”

BASF, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, said the sale will allow its dispersions and pigments division to focus on its core business, "dispersions and additives in the field of raw materials used in construction chemicals." BASF said the sale does not include Ludwigshafen production assets or employees.

Microtek, founded in 1985, is a privately held company focused on phase change material and microencapsulation services. It introduced its Nextek line of PCM capsules in 2016.

https://www.basf.com/en/company/news-and-media/news-releases/2017/05/p-17-225.html

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005136/en/Microtek-Laboratories-Announces-Acquisition-Micronal-Product-Line

U.S. patent applications: Packing, packaging and encapsulation

Ben Welter - Friday, April 28, 2017

Method of packing a temperature-sensitive product

U.S. patent application 20170115046 (applicant Packaging Technology Group Inc., Fall River, Mass.):

PCM packaging patent drawing"A method of packing a temperature sensitive product utilizes a temperature controlled product shipper that includes a phase change material bladder which can be filled at the point of packaging. The temperature sensitive product is contained within a product box or master case, which is in turn packed inside an insulated liner and an outer box. The PCM bladder fits between the master case and the insulated liner and is filled with a preconditioned flowable PCM at the point of packing just before closing the box for shipment."

Convection-based temperature-assured packaging system

U.S. patent application 20170113868 (applicant Sonoco Development Inc., Hartsville, S.C.):

"A packaging system for a temperature sensitive payload is provided. The system includes side panels and end panels forming a product compartment. Cooling layers within the product compartment are located below and above the products. Channel members located between the side panels and the payload and between the end panels and the payload create vertical channels having rectangular cross sectional areas for convective air movement. ... In a refinement each of the bottom cooling layers comprises multiple refrigerant components arranged edge to edge to form a layer within the packaging system. Each refrigerant component may comprise a phase change material (such as water) and a protective outer container."

Encapsulation

U.S. patent application 20170113200 (applicant Encapsys LLC, Appleton, Wis.):

"An improved process of making a benefit agent delivery particle and an improved microcapsule made by such process are disclosed. The process comprises the steps of providing a first composition of water phase 1, water phase 2 and water phase 3. Water phase 1 comprises water and an initiator; water phase 2 comprises water, a water-soluble or dispersible amine(meth)acrylate or hydroxyl(meth)acrylate and a multifunctional (meth)acrylate. Water phase 3 comprises water, and carboxyalkyl(meth)acrylate and a base or quarternary ammonium acrylate."

Research roundup: Waste heat extraction; thermal sintering Pickering emulsion-based colloidosomes; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Micro-encapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurries: Characterization and building applications [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Coupling waste heat extraction by phase change materials with superheated steam generation in the steel industry [Energy]

Large-scale high-temperature solar energy storage using natural minerals [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Hierarchical nano-activated silica nanosheets for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Microencapsulation through thermal sintering Pickering emulsion-based colloidosomes [Soft Matter]

Preparation of polyurea microcapsules containing phase change materials in a rotating packed bed [RSC Advances]

Dynamic measurement of the thermal conductivity of phase change materials in the liquid phase near the melting point [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Investigation of Energy Performance in Conventional and Lightweight Building Components with the use of Phase Change Materials (PCMS): Energy Savings in Summer Season [Procedia Environmental Sciences]

Novel synthesis of cobalt/poly vinyl alcohol/gamma alumina nanocomposite for catalytic application [Applied Physics A]

Research roundup: Solar PCM storage wall system; novel caprylic acid/nonanoic acid mix; double glazing units; more

Ben Welter - Monday, April 17, 2017

Experimental study of a modified solar phase change material storage wall system [Energy]

A novel binary mixture of caprylic acid/nonanoic acid as latent heat storage for air conditioning and cooling [Energy and Buildings]

A General Method for Retrieving Thermal Deformation Properties of Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials or Other Particulate Inclusions in Cementitious Composites [Materials and Design]

Effect of PCM thickness and melting temperature on thermal performance of double glazing units [Journal of Building Engineering]