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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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From Italy to Singapore by bicycle, with a little help from PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

Italian couple celebrate completion of 18,000-kilometer ride to Singapore

They made it! The Italian couple who embarked on a 17,550-kilometer bicycle trek last June arrived in Singapore last week. Chiara Ricciardi and Riccardo Rocchi began the yearlong journey, dubbed "Piece of Cake," to raise awareness about diabetes. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and requires a daily dose of insulin. She used Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. 

Their latest Facebook post: "385 days. 21 countries. Bottom line: with type 1 diabetes, you can do it. But also ... We've learned that the world is a better place than they say, people help and help you. ... The engine is overrated, time is the biggest luxury of the 21st century."

http://www.forapieceofcake.com/en/

Research roundup: Graphite particle fillers; sodium nitrate microcapsules; domestic space heating in UK; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Effect of temperature and graphite particle fillers on thermal conductivity and viscosity of phase change material n-eicosane [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermal stability of sodium nitrate microcapsules for high-temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Phase change materials to meet domestic space heating demand in the UK - A numerical study [Journal of Fluid Flow, Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis of three-dimensional graphene aerogel encapsulating n-octadecane for enhancing phase-change behavior and thermal conductivity [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

A recyclable thermochromic elastic phase change oleogel for cold compress therapy [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Patent application: Docking station for an ultrasound probe

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

GE ultrasound probe patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170172542 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

"A docking station for electrically charging and managing a thermal condition of an ultrasound probe [302] is presented. The docking station includes a first charging unit magnetically coupled to an induction unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to charge at least one battery in the ultrasound probe. Further, the docking station includes a first cooling unit thermally coupled to a thermal unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to dissipate heat from the ultrasound probe. ... In one example, one of the ports that facilitate the replacement of the thermal units may be positioned at the bottom surface [310] of the probe [302]. As the new thermal unit [308] is used to replace the thermal unit [306], the new thermal unit may also be referred to as a replaceable thermal unit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170172542.pdf

Patent application: Person support system with cooling features

Ben Welter - Monday, June 05, 2017

U.S. patent 20170135884 (applicant Hill-Rom Services Inc., Batesville, Ind.):

Hill-Rom patient support system patent drawing"Embodiments provide a person support system including support pads having cooling features. According to one embodiment, a person support system may include a longitudinal frame comprising at least one side rail. A support pad may be positioned on the longitudinal frame. The support pad may comprise a thermally conductive core portion comprising a support matrix and at least one thermally conductive element. ... The thermally conductive core portion may be constructed from different phase change materials (or even different combinations of phase change materials) to achieve different degrees of cooling."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170135884.pdf

PCM replacement cap keeps insulin pens at the right temperature

Ben Welter - Monday, June 05, 2017

VIVA insulin cap

Insulin pens must be kept between 15° and 30° Celsius to ensure safe and effective injection. An Israeli company has developed a cap that combines phase change material with monitoring electronics to keep these pens from overheating in hot environments.

TempraMed’s first-generation Vivi Cap1 fits over any type of insulin pen and adjusts constantly to keep the insulin at the higher end of room temperature. When the device is exposed to temperatures above 29° C, the bio-based PCM begins to absorb heat and change from solid to liquid. When the ambient temperature falls below 28° C, the PCM starts to return to its solid state, allowing it to regain its heat-absorbing property. A push of a button at the base allows the user to confirm that the insulin is at the proper temperature.

“We are not aware of similar products that are available on the market,” said Ron Nagar, TempraMed president and CEO. “Until now, most commonly used products for ‘keeping insulin cool’ use water evaporation technology, which requires frequent user intervention, and is not effective in closed bags (where medication is commonly carried) or in humid environments.

“With the insulation and PCM we use, we offer very compact solutions (slightly larger than current insulin pen cap) which can maintain the proper conditions for time durations that are typically longer than the exposure expected during daytime or when outdoors, and allow recovery during the night or when back indoors, without user intervention.”

TempraMed is based in Tel Aviv with an office in Washington State. The products are manufactured in Israel.

The FDA- and CE-registered Vivi Cap1 is available now on the company’s website, www.my-vivi.com, at a cost of $49.90. The next generation of Vivi products will be available in the fall: Vivi Epi for epinephrine pens; Vivi Vial for insulin vials; and Vivi Cool 8° C and Vivi Vial 8° C for storing insulin at lower temperatures.

Nagar said TempraMed is working with several distributors to make the products widely available, including retail chains.

http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/insulin-cooling-tempramed-giveaway

PCM briefing: Italian cyclists reach Cambodia; new HQ for Cold Chain Technologies

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chiara RicciardiRiccardo Rocchi and Chiara Ricciardi, the Italian couple who began an 18,000-kilometer bike ride last June to raise awareness about diabetes, have reached Cambodia. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and needs a daily dose of insulin. She is using Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. The pair topped the 14,000-kilometer mark last week. They've pedaled across 18 countries, averaging 47 km per day. They hope to arrive at their final destination, Singapore, by June.

• With German Chancellor Angela Merkel on hand, Viessmann officially opened its $53 million research and development center in Allendorf this month. Viessmann, maker of the Ice Store heating and cooling system, says the Viessmann Innovation Center will employ 100 people and represents the biggest single investment in the company's 100-year history. 

Cold Chain Technologies, which is celebrating it 50th anniversary this year, has moved its headquarters to Franklin, Mass.

Ben VanderPlas of Sonoco ThermoSafe and Chris Anderson of Cardinal Health are among the speakers scheduled for next month's Temperature Controlled Logistics in Biopharmaceuticals USA conference in Princeton, N.J. 

• The global market for green and bio polyols, valued at $2.6 billion in 2015, is projected to reach $4.7 billion by 2021, according to new research from MarketsandMarkets.

• Australian start-up 1414 Degrees recently raised AUD $2.5 million in private funding, most of which will go toward installing a molten silicon thermal storage system at a hydroponic farm.

Peli BioThermal is among 50-plus companies to receive a 2017 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. The company was recognized for achievement in temperature-assured shipping of pharmaceuticals. The award winners are invited to attend a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth

Patent application: Fecal incontinence device

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 20, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170105827 (Renew Medical Inc., Foster City, Calif.):

Renew Medical Inc. patent drawing"A device for treating fecal incontinence in a subject is provided. The device includes a plug configured for positioning mostly within an anal canal of the subject. ... A phase change material can also be used in stem portion 12 and optionally cap portion 14; the material can be stiff under room temperature and soft at body temperature. Plug 10 can be filled with such a material and deformed while molten (e.g. by stretching the plug from its ends) to as to form a more deliverable structure with reduced cap portion diameter when the material sets. Once in the body, the material melts and plug 10 assumes its natural configuration providing the anchoring and sealing necessary for treating fecal incontinence."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170105827.pdf

PCM briefing: California utility will buy up to 100 Ice Bears for residential use; Malouf unveils new graphite-PCM pillow

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Ice Energy will join forces with the Southern California Public Power Authority to provide up to 100 Ice Bear 20 cooling units for residential use within utility's 12 member territories in 2017. Installations will begin in June. The Ice Bear 20 stores cooling energy during off-peak hours by freezing water in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the company says, the stored ice delivers up to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent. The new deployment is designed to demonstrate the Ice Bear 20's grid value to utilities. The units will be installed in single-family homes chosen by Ice Energy based on site visits. Homes that need 4-, 5- or 6-ton air-conditioning systems replaced are the likely targets. The utilities pay for the Ice Bears; it's unclear at this point who will pay installation costs. If all 100 Ice Bear 20s are purchased, the total cost to the utilities will be $1.33 million (not including installation).

Malouf CarbonCool pillow• Bedding maker Malouf's new CarbonCool Plus OmniPhase pillow combines the temperature-regulation properties of graphite and microencapsulated phase change material. "At the molecular level," Furniture Today reports, "the material inside the capsules changes from a solid to a liquid when the temperature is high and vice versa when the temperature is low. This continuous cycle is designed keep the pillow surface between 87 and 91 degrees, which research shows is the ideal skin temperature range for deep sleep." The queen size shown here retails for $299.99.

• New from Absolute Reports: "United States Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market By Manufacturers, States, Type And Application, Forecast To 2022"

SPX Flow's new FLEX Series refrigerated air dryer uses phase change material to tightly regulate temperatures and reduce compressor cycling.

Prongo insulin bagPluss Technologies' PronGo bag, introduced last year for consumers to transport frozen and chilled food and beverages, is  now being promoted as a way to keep insulin at the right temperature for up to 10 hours. The 3-liter bag comes with two sets of PCM cooling packs. It's available on Amazon.in for about $52. In an interview with Express Pharma, company director Samit Jain talked about the Prongo and another new product, Celsure, a passive shipper designed to keep pharma products "at the right temperature for 96 hours and beyond at the tropical temperatures that countries like India, South East Asia and Africa have."

1414 Degrees, the Australian company that has developed a way to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, is now scaling up the technology and plans to launch the first commercial systems this year. Executive Chairman Kevin Moriarty said the company is waiting for AusIndustry, a division of Australia's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, to sign off on the 10MWh project in February so manufacture can begin.

Patent application: Systems, devices and methods for bodily fluid sample transport

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170020425 (applicant Theranos Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.):

Theranos patent drawing"Bodily fluid sample transport systems, devices, and method are provided. In at least one embodiment described herein, methods are provided for the physical transport of small volumes of bodily fluid in liquid form from one location to another location. By way of nonlimiting example, the samples are collected in liquid form at a collection site, transported in liquid form, and arrive at an analysis site in liquid form. In many embodiments, the liquid form during transport is not held in a porous matrix, wicking material, webbing, or similar material that prevents sample for being extracted in liquid form at the destination site. ... In one embodiment, the thermal control material may be but is not limited to embedded phase change material (PCM) material that maintains the temperature at a prior, or desired temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170020425.pdf

Research roundup: Encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles; 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 26, 2017

New hybrid nanofluid containing encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles in propylene glycol-water mixture: Potential heat transfer fluid for energy management [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal properties and stabilities of the eutectic mixture: 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid as a phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Adaptability research on phase change materials based technologies in China [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Design of a Low cost Non Electrical Type Baby Incubator for Developing Country [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research]