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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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PCM briefing: Registration open for PCM 2018 in Quebec; MIT finds new way to mix oil, water

Ben Welter - Friday, November 10, 2017

• Registration is open for PCM 2018, the 12th IIR Conference on Phase Change Materials and Slurries for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. The conference will be held May 21-23, 2018, in Orford, Québec. Topics will include thermal energy storage; thermophysical and rheological properties of PCMs and slurries; and transport phenomena and time-dependent behavior of PCMs and slurries.

MIT researchers have developed a new way to mix oil and water and create an emulsion that remains stable for long periods — no shaking required.

• Registration is open for "Towards a Sustainable Solution to Melt Snow and Ice on Concrete Pavement: Use of Phase Change Materials, a presentation by Dr. Yaghoob Farnam, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. Farnam will discuss his research on the use of PCM-enhanced concrete to inhibit the buildup of snow and ice on pavement. The program will be held Nov. 30 in King of Prussia, Penn.

• "Innovative Thoughts" blogger Harvey Wade visited the 3M Customer Innovation Centre in Bracknell, U.K., last month to find out how the big company sustains its innovative edge. Lesson No. 1: 3M listens to its customers. "They don’t guess what the customer needs," Wade writes, "they invest their time to know their needs, discovering the big problems that they can try to solve." 

BMW PCM Ride jacketBMW's 2018 Motorrad collection includes the latest version of the PCM Ride jacket, featuring microencapsulated phase change material that "adapts permanently and smartly to the current temperature."

Peli BioThermal has opened a service center in Brussels, Belgium, to handle its Credo line of reusable temperature-controlled packaging. 

Ember Technologies' newest temperature-control product, a $79 ceramic mug with an active heating system, contains no phase change material. The company's first product, a PCM-lined travel tumbler, sells for $150.

Grace Hsia, founder and CEO of Warmilu, a Michigan startup that makes an infant warming blanket, talks about the stresses and rewards of building a company from scratch. "I find my body will sometimes crash," Hsia told Crain's Detroit Business, explaining how 90-hour workweeks have led to bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis. "I've been trying to get more sleep, which is tough."

The preliminary program has been released for the fifth Building Enclosure Science & Technology conference, known as BEST5. It will take place April 15-18 in Philadelphia. 

• The American Chemical Society has won its lawsuit against Sci-Hub, a widely used pirate site for scientific papers that was established in 2011 by former neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan.

• New from Intellectual Research Partners: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) systems Market By Technology (Molten salt, Phase change materials, Water based, Electric thermal and Solar) End User Application (Air Conditioning, Cold Storage, Power Storage, Process Cooling) Region (North America, Europe, APAC) Forecast To 2023"

Patent application: Hyperthermia therapy mask

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 02, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170312122 (applicant First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China):

Patent drawing of hyperthermia mask"The present invention relates to a hyperthermia mask used in the field of medical appliances. The hyperthermia mask of the present invention comprises a mask surface body and a tensioning belt, the mask surface body is made of phase change fibers or the mask surface body is filled with the phase change fibers; the phase change fibers are composed of hollow fibers and phase change materials filled into the hollow fibers; and the phase change materials have a phase change temperature of 40° C. to 55° C. The hyperthermia mask of the present invention is prepared based on phase change heat storage, is convenient to use and has a good hyperthermia effect."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170312122.pdf

PCM briefing: Thermal storage capacity on the rise; clinical trial for prosthetics liner

Ben Welter - Friday, October 27, 2017

• Thermal energy storage exceeds the capacity of battery storage now in operation, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Greentech Media reports that a recent resurgence in concentrated solar power development promises to increase that advantage.

• New from QYResearch Group: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Market Size, Status and Forecast 2022"

• New from Persistence Market Research: "Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020"

Alpha SmartTemp liner• The effectiveness of a PCM-infused prosthetics liner made by Ohio Willow Wood Co. will be put to the test in a two-year clinical trial. The liner is designed to absorb heat and reduce sweating where a prosthesis meets skin. The study, funded by a $140,000 Department of Defense grant, will be conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and Widener University.

• Registration is open for "2-8°C Solutions: Design variables and constraints," the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe's temperature assurance packaging series. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, and Lisa Barbieri Moher, North American head of distribution packaging and graphics at Sanofi, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Nov. 14.

Sonoco ThermoSafe's development of the LD7 Quarter PMC pallet shipper won first place for Excellence in Collaboration at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Global Forum in Chicago last month. ThermoSafe's ChillTech reusable PCM system was runner-up in the Excellence in Technological Innovation category.

In a recent interview with Innovation in Textiles, CEO Dirk Van Hyning of PCM-maker Alexium International discussed U.S. efforts to curb the use of halogenated flame retardants.

PCM briefing: Solar-powered micro cold rooms; Axiom Exergy's jazz connection

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

• The German company Covestro is providing technology for use in solar-powered micro cold rooms in India. The cold rooms employ phase change material to keep produce cool until it can be transported from farm to market. Eight hundred units will be built in the Indian state of Telangana over the next two years. 

• In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Anthony Diamond talks about the musical connection he shares with Axiom Exergy co-founder Amrit Robbins. They met as undergrads at Stanford University. "I play saxophone, he’s actually a trumpet player," Diamond said. "He was like, the best jazz trumpet player on campus. So whenever I had a gig, I would call him, and vice-versa. We had an opportunity to collaborate a lot within that context. I knew that I worked really well with him and we were a really great team."

• Heat battery maker Sunamp Ltd. is one of 15 European scaleups selected to give presentations in California next week at Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley

Pelican BioThermal has opened a service center in Puerto Rico. The center will serve as a depot for the company’s Credo on Demand rental program and enable customers to receive and return reusable temperature controlled packaging systems.

Facebook has announced that its cloud campus in Odense, Denmark, will be connected to a neighborhood district heating system. The company expects the system will warm 6,900 homes.

Evelyn Wang, director of MIT’s Device Research Laboratory and an internationally recognized leader in phase change heat transfer on nanostructure surfaces, has been named associate department head of operations in the school's Department of Mechanical Engineering.  

Long-Qing Chen, professor of engineering science, mechanics and mathematics at Penn State University, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany. Chen will work with Jürgen Rödel, professor of materials science and engineering at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, on areas of mutual interest, including multiferroic thin films and phase change materials.

MIT researchers are taking a look at 3,000-year-old technology that could help reduce the use of fossil fuels. Under the proposal, electric resistance heaters would convert excess electricity into heat. The heat would be stored in a large mass of firebricks, which can retain heat for long periods if they are enclosed in an insulated casing. The heat could be used directly for industrial processes, or it could feed generators that convert it back to electricity when the power is needed.  

PCM briefing: Dethleffs unveils solar-powered camper; ScienceDirect launches 'personalized recommendations'

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

ScienceDirect, the full-text research database from Elsevier, now offers a "personalized recommendations" feature. Registered users of the site are automatically enrolled in the service, which uses an adaptive algorithm to analyze a user's searches and then sends a list of three to five recommended articles to the user by e-mail each week. 

Ember Technologies' temperature-control coffee mug won a Silver IDEA Award in the kitchen and accessories category at the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in August. 

Dethleffs e-home motorhome• German camper manufacturer Dethleffs has unveiled a concept vehicle that runs on a 107-horsepower electric motor. The "e.home" features 334 square feet of thin solar panels and a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79° F. Fully equipped, its driving range on a full charge is just over 100 miles. But of course its batteries recharge when the sun shines.

Gary Owens has been named president and chief executive officer at Mesa Laboratories Inc., succeeding John Sullivan, who has held the positions since 2009. 

Dulas Ltd., maker of solar-powered vaccine refrigerators, has completed a supply and training program in Myanmar under the auspices of the World Health Organization. Dulas delivered refrigeration units that feature phase change material, a 400W photovoltaic array and 132-liter vaccine storage capacity.

Pluss Advanced Technologies' MiraCradle infant cooling device, which uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia, is featured in an article in The Guardian this week. The device was launched commercially in 2014 and is now being used in more than 125 hospitals across India and three in South Africa. 

Dow Chemical and DuPont have completed their planned $130 billion merger to form DowDuPont. Shares of the merged company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "DWDP." 

Research roundup: Flexible PCMs with high thermal conductivity; treatment for exercise-induced muscle damage; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thermal sensitive flexible phase change materials with high thermal conductivity for thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

The efficacy of cooling with phase change material for the treatment of exercise-induced muscle damage: pilot study [Journal of Sports Sciences]

Form-stable phase change material based on Na2CO3·10H2O-Na2HPO4·12H2O eutectic hydrated salt/expanded graphite oxide composite: The influence of chemical structures of expanded graphite oxide [Renewable Energy]

Structure and Thermal Performances of Paraffin/Diatomite Form-stable Phase Change Materials [Chinese Journal of Materials Research]

Patent application: Polymeric prosthetic and orthotic devices with heat and hardness control

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231788 (applicant Ohio Willow Wood Co., Mount Sterling, Ohio):

"Prosthetic liners, prosthetic sockets and prosthetic suspension sleeves, as well as orthotic components, having enhanced thermally conductivity and/or enhanced heat absorption capabilities. Such components may be used in various combinations to create assemblies and systems that are operative to better transfer heat away from and/or absorb heat produced by residual or intact limbs of a user."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231788.pdf

Patent application: Thermal locking mechanism for a medication delivery device

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170224929 (applicant Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, Ind.):

"A medication injection device includes a housing and a needled syringe supported by the housing. The needle syringe has a plunger and a volume containing medication. The medication injection device further includes an expelling mechanism operably coupled to the plunger. Additionally, the device includes a thermal locking mechanism  operably coupled to the expelling mechanism, comprising a material which is solid when the device is refrigerated and transitions to a liquid or gel-like state at a phase-change temperature when the device is taken out of refrigeration and warms up together with the contained drug to a temperature which is suitable for performing an injection."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170224929.pdf

Patent application: Multifunctional temperature self-regulating film and face mask

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231884 (applicant Handy Technology, Zhuhai, China):/p>

"The present invention [below] discloses a multifunctional temperature self-regulating multilayer film, from outside to inside comprising at least: a carrier layer loaded with functional material, and a thermal-insulation layer directly contacted with the skin; wherein the carrier layer loaded with functional material has a sealed cavity sealed with a flexible water-impermeable material, the sealed cavity is at least loaded with a refrigerating or heat-generating chemical material; wherein thermal-insulation layer is made of a material having waterproof and thermal-insulation properties. The present multilayer film can be manufactured into a face mask or eye mask for use on facial skin. ... [The] the sealed cavity is loaded with a solid-liquid phase change material which generates heat when the material changes from liquid to solid, and an actuating means which is used to trigger an exothermic state of the solid-liquid phase change material."

Handy mask patent drawing

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231884.pdf

Patent application: Self-managed portable hypothermia system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

Portable hypothermia system drawingU.S. patent application 20170209304 (inventors Michael and Laura Zumbrunnen, Rochester, Minn.):

"A non-user assisted, portable, entirely self-managed capable hypothermia device to eliminate hair loss caused by the side effects of certain chemotherapy treatments or to reduce the metabolic rate of ischemic tissue along with the severity of swelling is disclosed. The device consists of a conformal cap system, a thermally conductive liquid located between the body part to be cooled and the cap system, thermal transfer fluids, phase change materials, thermally insulated cooler, physical measuring devices, mechanical and electrical components, a ‘smart’ user interface device, a battery, and an uninterruptible power controller."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170209304.pdf