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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: Noninvasive thermal stimuli for treatment of migraine

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

Migraine treatment patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190275287 (applicant University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn.):

"Methods, systems and devices for treating headaches, including migraines. In some variations these methods may include enhancing sleep, including enhancing the quality of sleep, reducing sleep onset time, increasing total sleep time, treating insomnia, and/or treating other neurological disorders by non-invasive temperature regulation of the frontal cortex prior to and/or during sleep. ... Treatment may be accomplished by sustained thermal regulation (warming or cooling) in an appropriate therapeutic range and time using one or more phase change materials."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190275287.pdf

Patent application: Substance delivery device with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 22, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190254797 (applicant TG Medwise Ltd., Hod HaSharon, Israel):

PCM collar patent drawing"A delivery device includes a collar device for wearing on an animal, a dosing probe disposed on the collar device for delivering a substance therefrom, an actuator configured to deliver the substance from the dosing probe through an opening formed in the dosing probe, a controller in communication with the actuator and configured to control delivery of the substance from the dosing probe, and a sensor in communication with the controller and configured to sense that the collar device is touching fur or skin of the animal and the dosing probe is directed towards fur or skin of the animal."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190254797.pdf

Patent application: PCM for medical and cosmetic applications

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 01, 2019

Alps South PCM patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190231598 (applicant Alps South LLC, St. Petersburg, Fla.):

"A garment using a phase change material that change phase from solid to liquid at a low or high temperatures situated within a gel matrix. The phase change material may be used after surgical procedures to reduce swelling, edema and bruising. The gel matrix allows the material of the present invention to maintain a conformable and elastic form at room temperature. This invention provides the novelty of a low or high temperature phase change material that is conformable to surfaces or volumes of varying geometry."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190231598.pdf

Novel PCM microspheres keep new therapy pack flexible when frozen

Ben Welter - Saturday, June 15, 2019

A novel phase change material developed by PureTemp LLC of Minneapolis is the key component of a new flexible therapy pack introduced at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in Orlando, Fla., last month.

Glacier Tek therapy packThe flexible PCM microspheres have a melt point of 18 degrees C and remain pliable when frozen. The flexible GlacierPacks, developed by Glacier Tek LLC of Minneapolis, are designed to provide targeted cooling relief for bruises, muscle strains, headaches and more. The patent-pending packs can be recharged in ice water in about an hour, hold their target temperature of 18 C for more than two hours and can be reused indefinitely.

The packs can be applied directly to skin without damaging tissue or causing discomfort. They can be used safely and effectively for longer periods than traditional ice packs or cold water immersion (CWI) treatments.

In research led by Dr. Malachy P. McHugh and Susan Y. Kwiecien of the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York, packs filled with PureTemp's biobased phase change material have been shown to provide a practical way to deliver prolonged post-exercise cooling and thereby accelerate muscle recovery.

A 2019 study, "Accelerated Recovery of Muscle Function in Baseball Pitchers Using Post-Game Phase Change Material Cooling," set out to examine the effectiveness of post-game PCM cooling on strength recovery in pitchers. Based on prior research (Kwiecien et al 2018 and Clifford et al 2018), it was hypothesized that PCM cooling would accelerate recovery. The flexible cooling packs were applied to the elbows and forearms of college pitchers after each had thrown 45 pitches. Pitchers in a control group received no PCM cooling treatment. The strength, soreness and creatine kinase levels of the athletes were then measured to gauge the effectiveness of the PCM cooling. CK is an enzyme released into the blood at elevated levels when there is muscle damage.

The researchers concluded that prolonged PCM cooling accelerated recovery of strength but did not affect soreness or CK levels. "The effect of PCM cooling of the medial elbow and forearm on grip strength recovery is very encouraging considering the role the wrist flexors play in dynamic stability of the elbow," the researchers wrote. 

"Can you believe it? A PCM that remains flexible when fully charged!" said RoxAnne Best, president of PureTemp and Glacier Tek. "I am really proud of our team for their commitment to bringing this technology to market. The consumer application possibilities are endless."

The therapy packs are available on Amazon and on the Glacier Tek website. A set of six packs retails for $229. Contact Glacier Tek to inquire about samples, volume discounts and custom configurations.

Patent application: Device and method for cooling living tissue

Ben Welter - Friday, June 14, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190175395 (applicant RecensMedical Inc., Ulsan, South Korea):

Tissue cooling device patent drawing"The present disclosure provides a device and a method for cooling living tissues for a medical purpose and other purposes. The cooling device comprises: a container configured to accommodate a cooling medium and thermally coupled with the cooling medium by directly contacting the cooling medium; a cooling generator configured to be thermally coupled with the container by a direct contact and thereby to provide cooling energy to the cooling medium; and a heat sink dissipating heat from the cooling generator. ... [The] heat transfer medium [116] may comprise a heat pipe or a vapor chamber and may include a pipe body and phase change material (PCM) provided inside the pipe body. The pipe body may be made of material having the high thermal conductivity so as to effectively transfer the heat from the cooling generating unit that is in contact with the heat transferring medium to the PCM therein."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190175395.pdf

Patent application: Devices and methods for thawing biological material

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190152676 (applicant Celularity Inc., Warren, N.J.):

"Provided herein are improved devices for thawing frozen biological material (e.g., cells). The devices described herein are designed to ensure that the container (e.g., tube or vial) which holds the frozen biological material to be thawed is consistently and thoroughly in contact with the source of heat and thus promotes rapid thawing of the biological material. ... [The apparatus comprises] (i) a sealed first compartment comprising material that undergoes a phase change when heated to a certain temperature, (ii) a plurality of compartments comprising a source of heat, and (iii) an additional plurality of compartments into which a plurality of containers containing frozen biological material can be placed, and (iii) a temperature controller that allows setting said certain temperature to 37° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190152676.pdf

Research roundup: High-conductivity nanomaterials; paper board packaging; battery thermal management; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 16, 2019

From Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental and numerical analysis of composite latent heat storage in cooling systems for power electronics

From Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology:

A robust, flexible superhydrophobic sheet fabricated by in situ growth of micro-nano-SiO2 particles from cured silicone rubber

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

High-conductivity nanomaterials for enhancing thermal performance of latent heat thermal energy storage systems

From Building Simulation:

Optimization and sensitivity analysis of design parameters for a ventilation system using phase change materials

From Journal of Packaging Technology and Research:

Thermal Analysis of Paper Board Packaging with Phase Change Material: A Numerical Study

From Energy Storage:

Thermal performance of battery thermal management system using composite matrix coupled with mini‐channel

From Phase Transitions:

A study on preparation and properties of carbon materials/myristic acid composite phase change thermal energy storage materials

From ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces:

Melamine Foam Supported Form-stable Phase Change Materials with Simultaneous Thermal Energy Storage and Shape Memory Property for Thermal Management of Electronic Devices

From International Conference on Thermal Engineering:

Performance Enhancement of Unitary and Packaged Air Conditioners With Phase Change Material
Performance Comparison of Different Phase Change Materials For Solar Cooking During off Sun Sunshine Hours
A Review on Enhancement of Thermophysical Properties of Paraffin Wax PCM With Nanomaterials
Nano-Enhanced PCMs for Low Temperature Thermal Energy Storage Systems and Passive Conditioning Applications

From Chemistry Select:

Designing Coconut Oil Encapsulated Poly(stearyl methacrylate‐co‐hydroxylethyl metacrylate) Based Microcapsule for Phase Change Materials

From Evolution in Polymer Technology Journal:

Enhancement of Thermo-Regulating Textile Materials Using Phase Change Material

From Materials Research Express:

Improved thermal characteristics of Ag nanoparticles dispersed myristic acid as composite for low temperature thermal energy storage

From Applied Energy:

On the performance of ground coupled seasonal thermal energy storage for heating and cooling: A Canadian context

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Thermal stability enhancement of d-mannitol for latent heat storage applications

Patent application: Cooling pack

Ben Welter - Friday, May 10, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190133819 (inventor Andrew John Mason, Mono, Calif.):

"Described are various embodiments of a cooling pack. In one such embodiment a cooling pack is provided for cooling a crotch region of a human while seated on a seating surface, the cooling pack comprising a tapered container for holding a cooling material therein, and defined by tapering upper and lower surfaces drawing into a tapered edge to be positioned between the crotch region and the seating surface in use, thereby providing cooling for the region."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190133819.pdf

Patent application: Eco-friendly ice pack to be easily separated and discharged

Ben Welter - Friday, May 03, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190128585 (inventors Jung Kyun Na and Seok Choi, Hwaseong-si, South Korea):

"Disclosed herein is an eco-friendly ice pack, which includes a water repellent material that maintains the shape of the ice pack and does not absorb a refrigerant, so that it can be easily separately discharged after use of the ice pack. In accordance with the present invention, the above and other objects can be accomplished by the provision of an eco-friendly ice pack including a refrigerant including a phase change material changing phase according to temperature, an outer case including the refrigerant and being formed by sealing in order to prevent the refrigerant from being discharged to the outside, and a water repellent supporter being disposed in the outer case, holding the shape of the ice pack to prevent the shape of the ice pack from being changed according to the shape of the refrigerant, and having water repellency to the refrigerant to avoid mixing with the refrigerant."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190128585.pdf

Patent application: Temperature-controlling vest for relieving menopause symptoms

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

Imanano cooling vest patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190117447 (applicant Imanano Inc., Lewes, Del.):

"The field of the invention relates generally to devices and methods for controlling the temperature of a human or non-human body. More specifically, the field of the invention may relate to wearable devices, which may be worn by a subject, which human or non-human, wherein the wearable device is in thermal communication with a portion of the subject's body containing brown adipose tissue and wherein the wearable device comprises a means for providing a constant or near constant temperature to the subject's body and therefore controls the temperature of the subject's body, by using a phase change material. The phase material transitions state at a predetermined temperature which may be higher or lower than the subject's exterior body temperature. The device and method are usable to control temperature-related effects of menopause, post menopause and drug induced thermoregulatory symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes and sleep disturbance."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190117447.pdf