Phase Change Matters RSS


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 We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.




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]

Research roundup: Cenospheres in concrete; form-stable composites with polyacrylic; rice bran distilled fatty acid; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Numerical studies on thermal and electrical performance of a fully wetted absorber PVT collector with PCM as a storage medium [Renewable Energy]

Integrating phase change materials into concrete through microencapsulation using cenospheres [Cement and Concrete Composites]

Testing and performance analysis of micro encapsulated rice bran distilled fatty acid [International Journal of Computer Aided Engineering and Technology]

Enhanced thermal management with microencapsulated phase change material particles infiltrated in cellular metal foam [Energy]

Thermal performance study of form-stable composite phase change material with polyacrylic [AIP Conference Proceedings]

Design and Preparation of Carbon Based Composite Phase Change Material for Energy Piles [Materials]

Single-walled carbon nanotube for shape stabilization and enhanced phase change heat transfer of polyethylene glycol phase change material [Energy Conversion and Management]

Applications of Nanocomposite-Enhanced Phase-Change Materials for Heat Storage [Materials Science Forum]

Fatty acids and related phase change materials for reliable thermal energy storage at moderate temperatures [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

A study of a eutectic salt of lithium nitrate and sodium chloride (87–13%) for latent heat storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Thermal stabilization and permanent deformation resistance of LWA/PCM-modified asphalt road surfaces [Construction and Building Materials]

Inspired by nature: PCM capsules shaped like red blood cells show promise in study

Ben Welter - Monday, April 03, 2017

Capsules fabricated for use in Chinese study

Phase change material used in latent thermal energy storage systems must, of course, be encapsulated. The stiff containers, often made of high-density polyethylene, come in a variety of familiar shapes. The two most common are cylinders and spheres. Fins and dimples can be added to improve melting and solidification rates.

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China say they have identified a better shape. They found it in the circulatory systems of mammals.

Red blood cells, or RBCs, are filled with hemoglobin, not PCMs, and their purpose is to deliver oxygen, not thermal energy. Still, the researchers wondered, is the distinctive biconcave shape conducive to more effective heat transfer?

In a paper recently accepted for publication in Applied Thermal Engineering, “Thermal performance analysis of a novel PCM capsule in red blood cell shape,” Xiwen Cheng and Xiaoqiang Zhai described their investigation, in which they compared the RBCs with four other shapes by experimental and simulation methods. 

All five tested shapes – RBCs, spheres, cylinders, drums and ring-shaped capsules – were sized to contain 25.5 grams of PCM (capric acid, lauric acid, palmitic acid). The sphere’s interior diameter was 40 mm. The shell material was nylon 12 with a thickness of 1.5 mm.

The researchers found that the RBC-shaped capsule performed significantly better than the other shapes. The average charging rate of the RBC capsule, for example, was twice as fast as that of the sphere. 

Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions’ chief science officer, who was not involved in this research, said he was intrigued by the results. "Until good alternatives are established to increase the thermal conductivity of the PCMs themselves,” he said, “novel designs such as these, which increase surface area, are welcome developments."

PCM briefing: Trump budget 'just not correct' on ARPA-E; Croda's Kevin Bozec among panelists at Plant Based Summit

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ice Energy and Horizon Solar Power have completed the installation of a solar-plus-ice-battery-storage system at Palm Springs Cultural Center in California’s Coachella Valley. The system, which replaced an aging HVAC system, comprises 73.6 kW of solar panels and five Ice Bear 30s.

• The Trump administration's budget blueprint is "just not correct" about the function of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, its former director said this week. The blueprint eliminates all ARPA-E funding "because the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies." But agency was created just for stages of research and development that the private sector does not finance, said Ellen Williams, the agency's director from 2014 until January 2017.

Dow Chemical and DuPont won the blessing of the European Union for their $130 billion merger by agreeing to sell substantial assets, including key research and development activities.

• The global PCM market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 19.9 percent over the next five years, according to a new market research from Mordor Intelligence, "Global Phase Change Material Market-Segmented by Material Type, Product Type, Application, and Geography-Trends and Forecasts (2017-2022)." 

Kevin Bozec, marketing coordinator at Croda, is among the presenters at the Plant Based Summit in Lille, France, April 25-27. He will discuss Crodatherm phase change materials in a session on new materials. To register for the conference and trade show, visit

GSA Business offers a closer look at the leadership transition at Alexium International Group Ltd., the company that took its flame-retardant material and PCM-based cooling fabrics to commercial markets in 2016. 

Research roundup: Capsule in shape of red blood cell; helical fin; graphene-enhanced enhanced myo-inositol; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thermal performance analysis of a novel PCM capsule in red blood cell shape [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental demonstration, modeling and analysis of a novel latent-heat thermal energy storage unit with a helical fin [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Preparation, characterization and thermal properties of fatty acid eutectics/bentonite/expanded graphite composites as novel form–stable thermal energy storage materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Parametric study and approximation of the exact analytical solution of the Stefan problem in a finite PCM layer in a steady periodic regime [International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis, characterization and applications of microencapsulated phase change materials in thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

Graphene nanoplatelets enhanced myo-inositol for solar thermal energy storage [Thermal Science and Engineering Progress]

Research roundup: Fast charging with expanded graphite; rebar corrosion in PCM-enhanced concrete; hybrid cooling vest; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fast charging of thermal energy storage systems enabled by phase change materials mixed with expanded graphite [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis and characterization of a narrow size distribution nano phase change material emulsion for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Analysis of the effects of use of thermal energy storage device (TESD) in solar air heater [Alexandria Engineering Journal]

Experiment and simulation of thermal management for a tube-shell Li-ion battery pack with composite phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Novel model for the prediction of SSLE temperatures and crystallization paths of any mixture containing palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid [Thermochimica Acta]

A review on recent advancements in photovoltaic thermal techniques [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A comparative study on corrosion behavior of rebar in concrete with fatty acid additive as phase change material [Construction and Building Materials]

Novel phase change materials based on fatty acid eutectics and triallyl isocyanurate composites for thermal energy storage [Journal of Applied Polymer Science]

Optimal cooling intervention for construction workers in a hot and humid environment [Building and Environment]

Patent application: Integrated multi-chamber heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Monday, March 27, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170082371 (applicant Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, N.Y.):

"A one-piece heat exchanger manufactured using an additive manufacturing process is described. The heat exchanger includes a plurality of channels formed therein. At least some of the plurality of channels may be configured to provide structural support to the heat exchanger to reduce its weight. Different coolant media may be used in a first set and a second set of the plurality of channels to provide different types of cooling in an integrated one-piece heat exchanger structure. ... [A] phase change material coolant (e.g., paraffin that changes state between a solid and a liquid) may provide both steady state cooling using the fluid coolant channels and transient cooling using the phase change material coolant channels to effectively provide cooling for a component or components that generate both steady state heat and occasional, transient, spikes in heat."

Research roundup: PCM compatibility with metals, plastic; desiccant packet for cooling vest; paraffin viscosity; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 23, 2017

Investigation of the corrosive properties of phase change materials in contact with metals and plastic [Renewable Energy]

Preparation and thermal properties of SAT-CMC-DSP/EG composite as phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A numerical study on the usage of phase change material (PCM) to prolong compressor off period in a beverage cooler [Energy Conversion and Management]

Abilities and limitations of thermal mass activation for thermal comfort, peak shifting and shaving: A review [Building and Environment]

Corrosion effect of phase change materials in solar thermal energy storage application [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A review for phase change materials (PCMs) in solar absorption refrigeration systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Sodium nitrate – Diatomite composite materials for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Innovative PCM-desiccant packet to provide dry microclimate and improve performance of cooling vest in hot environment [Energy Conversion and Management]

Heat transfer study of phase change materials with graphene nano particle for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Energy performance evaluation of heat-storage gypsum board with hybrid SSPCM composite [Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry]

Empirical equation to estimate viscosity of paraffin [Journal of Energy Storage]

Yearly energy performance of a photovoltaic-phase change material (PV-PCM) system in hot climate [Solar Energy]

Research roundup: Microcapsule-based composites; porous cellulose acetate films; underfloor heating; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Experimental study on effective thermal conductivity of microcapsules based phase change composites [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Multi-objective RSM Optimization of Fin Assisted Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage System Based on Solidification Process of Phase Change Material in Presence of Copper Nanoparticles [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Buildings cooling: An experimental study of phase change materials storage for low-energy buildings [2017 International Conference on Communication, Control, Computing and Electronics Engineering ]

Aluminum Mesh and Phase-Change Characteristics of n-Octadecane for Thermal Energy Storage [Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer]

Analytical analysis of latent heat thermal energy storage model for solar thermal power plants [14th International Bhurban Conference on Applied Sciences and Technology]

Analysis of graphene-encapsulated polymer microcapsules with superior thermal and storage stability behavior [Polymer Degradation and Stability]

Experimental and numerical investigations on the thermal performance of building plane containing CaCl2·6H2O/expanded graphite composite phase change material [Applied Energy]

Fabrication and characterization of porous cellulose acetate films by breath figure incorporated with capric acid as form-stable phase change materials for storing/retrieving thermal energy [Fibers and Polymers]

In-situ preparation of a shape stable phase change material [Renewable Energy]

Proposal of a PCM Underfloor Heating System Using a Web Construction Method [pdf] [International Journal of Polymer Science]

PCM briefing: Sasol introduces Parafol 17; CIC Energigune seeks scientific director for energy storage group

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

• In a LinkedIn post, the chemicals giant Sasol has announced the development of a new phase change material, Parafol 17. The product has a melting range of 20-22º Celsius. Potential applications include building/construction and the transportation of temperature-sensitive goods. The company says the new PCM is commercially available, but it is not yet listed on the company's websites.

CIC Energigune is seeking candidates for the position of scientific director in its energy storage group, which is focused on the research of systems that can store heat from medium to high temperatures. The research center, based in Spain's Basque Country, also has a leadership opening in the TES group's device, prototype and testing area. 

• Want to learn how your company can include sustainability in its business goals? Stanford University's Center for Professional Development is offering a free webinar, "The Pursuit of Sustainability," at 11 a.m Pacific time March 14. 

GreenCE is offering an online course titled "Inspiration Green: Biomimicry, Climate & Culture." The course, sponsored by T. Stern Sustainability of Seattle, will cover strategies used in high-performance buildings to reduce environmental impact and earn LEED credits. The cost: $35.

• New from Transparency Market Research: "1-Tetradecanol Market - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2024"

Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted the results of an industry survey on the "current and future state" of clinical trial supplies. Half of those surveyed said they planned to adopt new supply chain technology within the next two years.