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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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RAL members are invited to spread the word on PCM quality standards

Ben Welter - Friday, October 25, 2019

One of the challenges faced by PCM manufacturers is a negative perception of the material fed by occasional reports of PCM systems that do not perform as well as expected. To address that concern, the RAL Quality Association PCM is recommending that member companies inform potential customers about the performance standards established by RAL. Potential customers may not be aware that such standards exist.

While RAL certification of PCM products and systems is available, the objective of the RAL recommendation is not to suggest to customers that RAL certification is required, but rather to increase awareness that standards exist to distinguish between good and bad quality products.

An excerpt from the association's letter to members:

"The Quality Association PCM (Gütegemeinschaft PCM e.V.) was founded to develop meaningful and transparent quality specifications for phase change materials, monitor compliance with these specifications and award the RAL Quality Mark Phase Change Materials to those products that do comply. The overall objective is to build up customer confidence in phase change materials and to make sure that the products live up to the customers´ expectations with regards to performance and longevity. ...

"In order to achieve full customer satisfaction and raise confidence in our technology, we recommend pointing to the criteria laid down in Quality Assurance RAL-GZ 896 whenever you participate in a tender or talk to potential clients. It is the customers´ decision if they want to apply these criteria, but they should be aware of them at least. The latest version of RAL-GZ 896 is available to the public on our website (https://www.pcm-ral.org/pcm/en/quality-testing-specifications-pcm/)."

The RAL Quality Association PCM was established in 2004 to develop standards for the PCM industry. Members include Axiotherm, Microtek Laboratories, Rubitherm, Croda Europe, va-Q-tec, PCM Technology, Global-Systems Europe, Sasol, Sunamp, Pluss Advanced Technologies and PureTemp LLC. The association will hold its next meeting Nov. 5 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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Patent application: Latent-heat storage body microcapsules

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190300770 (applicant National University Corp., Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan):

Hokkaido microcapsule patent drawing"In the present invention, after a primary coating film is formed by boehmite treatment of the surface of a core particle in a solution comprising Al ions, a secondary coating film is formed by cooling the solution to the supersaturation temperature of the Al ions to cause deposition of a hydroxide of aluminum on the surface of the primary coating film, and an Al oxide film is formed on the surface of the core particle by heat treating the secondary coating film in an oxidizing atmosphere. Consequently, the shell is thickened by the amount of secondary coating film formed, so that the cyclic strength of the capsule can be secured and the composition change of the PCM in the production process is remarkably suppressed."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190300770.pdf

Research roundup: Passive cooling in buildings; honeycomb carbon fibers; leak-free aggregates; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

From Applied Energy:

Passive cooling through phase change materials in buildings. A critical study of implementation alternatives

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Honeycomb carbon fibers strengthened composite phase change materials for superior thermal energy storage

From e-Polymers:

Fabrication and characterization of conductive microcapsule containing phase change material

From Construction and Building Materials:

Preparation and characterization of nano-SiO2/paraffin/PE wax composite shell microcapsules containing TDI for self-healing of cementitious materials
Development of leak-free phase change material aggregates
Behavior of cementitious mortars with direct incorporation of non-encapsulated phase change material after severe temperature exposure

From Advanced Functional Materials:

Engineering the Thermal Conductivity of Functional Phase‐Change Materials for Heat Energy Conversion, Storage, and Utilization

From Journal of Energy Storage:

A numerical investigation of the effects of metal foam characteristics and heating/cooling conditions on the phase change kinetic of phase change materials embedded in metal foam
Applications of combined/hybrid use of heat pipe and phase change materials in energy storage and cooling systems: A recent review
Innovative composite sorbent for thermal energy storage based on a SrBr2·6H2O filled silicone composite foam

From ACS Applied Nano Materials:

Concentrated Ag Nanoparticles in Dodecane as Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

From Materials Research Express:

Preparation of 1-dodecanol microcapsules with cellulose nanofibers-modified melamine-formaldehyde resin as a potential phase change material

From IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science:

Optimisation of Parameters in Thermal Energy Storage System by Enhancing Heat Transfer in Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Thermal transport properties at interface of fatty acid esters enhanced with carbon-based nanoadditives

From Journal of Solar Energy Engineering:

Using a Novel Phase Change Material-Based Cooling Tower for a Photovoltaic Module Cooling

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation on micro-scale phase change material based on sodium acetate trihydrate for thermal storage

From RSC Advances:

A novel forced separation method for the preparation of paraffin with excellent phase changes

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental characterisation of a novel thermal energy storage based on open-cell copper foams immersed in organic phase change material

PCM briefing: Acumen invests in Promethean Power Systems; Viking Cold wins Cleanie award

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

• Social venture capital investor Acumen has invested an undisclosed amount in Promethean Power Systems Inc., which makes PCM-based refrigeration systems for cold-storage and milk chilling applications in off-grid and partially electrified areas of developing countries. Jiten Ghelani, chief executive of Promethean, which is based in Boston, Mass., and Pune, India, said the investment would help the company accelerate the adoption of its products across India and other markets, and also expand its cooling-as-a-service offerings. 

Air New Zealand pillow• Two new consumer products featuring temperature-control fabrics from Outlast Technologies hit the market recently: A pillow designed to improve the quality of sleep for passengers on Air New Zealand's long-haul flights and a Calloway pullover designed to keep golfers cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston, Texas, won a Platinum Cleanie Award last month for a PCM-based storage and demand management project in Massachusetts. The Cleanie Awards, presented at this year's North America Smart Energy Week in Salt Lake City, Utah, recognize companies and individuals shaping the clean-tech and renewable energy industries. The Viking Cold project involved the installation and commissioning of TES systems to store refrigeration energy and facilitate 1.3 MW of energy demand reduction across eight customer facilities, including the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Sonoco ThermoSafe of Arlington Heights, Ill., has introduced a new temperature-controlled box rental service. "The new Orion r product line is based on the existing ChillTech product," said Ben VanderPlas, manager of engineering and product management at Sonoco. "We’ve made changes to make the product more reusable (added EPP) and have increased the VIP insulation. The PCMs remain the same, using paraffin-based materials. ChillTech was developed by Laminar Medica in the UK prior to their acquisition and integration into the ThermoSafe business. Solutions will exist for 2-8, 15-25 and frozen temperatures."

Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted an opening for a Senior Account Manager Europe, to be based in Netherlands.

Microtek Laboratories Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, has introduced a new line of PCM-equipped pouches and panels for use in temperature-controlled shipping.

Patent application: Controlled release dual-walled microcapsules

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190282989 (applicant Encapsys LLC, Appleton, Wis.):

"A method of forming dual melamine/acrylic walled microcapsules having improved physical properties and release control as well as the microcapsules formed by the process wherein the capsule wall is formed by the use of select (meth)acrylate monomers and/or oligomers and/or select self-condensing melamine resins."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190282989.pdf

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: Battery-cooling heat sink provided with PCM capsule

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190288351 (applicant LG Chem Ltd., Seoul, South Korea):

"A battery module including a battery-cooling heat sink having a PCM capsule. The battery-cooling heat sink provides a uniform temperature of a cooling fluid flowing through the battery module using a PCM capsule, minimizes a temperature variation of the cooling fluid over the entire area of the heat sink formed in the battery module, and prevents the temperature at a cooling fluid outlet of the heat sink from being higher than that of a cooling fluid inlet."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190288351.pdf

Patent application: Reduced permeability microcapsules

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190275490 (applicant Trucapsol LLC, Bethlehem, Penn.):

Trucapsol patent drawing"Disclosed is a composition including controlled release particles, wherein each of the controlled release particles includes: (a) a core including at least one hydrophobic active ingredient; and (b) a wall at least partially surrounding the core and including: (i) an outer layer including a copolymer of polyacrylamide and polyacrylate; (ii) an intermediate layer under the outer layer and including a polyurea; (iii) an inner layer under the intermediate layer and including an acrylate copolymer; and optionally (iv) an optional outer layer above the outer layer and including a quaternary amine containing moiety, wherein the inner layer is a mesh and the controlled release particles are effective to retain the at least one hydrophobic active ingredient upon exposure to water and effective to release the at least one hydrophobic active ingredient in response to friction. A method for preparing the composition is also disclosed."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190275490.pdf

Research roundup: Mesoporous silica; nanoencapsulation of oleic acid PCM; flexible crosslinking; more

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Facile functionalized mesoporous silica using biomimetic method as new matrix for preparation of shape‐stabilized phase‐change material with improved enthalpy
Binary mixtures of fatty alcohols and fatty acid esters as novel solid‐liquid phase change materials

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Phase change material with flexible crosslinking for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Nanoencapsulation of oleic acid phase change material with Ag2O nanoparticles-based urea formaldehyde shell for building thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

Enhanced properties of diatomite-based composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Energy:

Perspectives for short-term thermal energy storage using salt hydrates for building heating
Design and construction of mesoporous silica/n-eicosane phase-change nanocomposites for supercooling depression and heat transfer enhancement
Numerical investigations on performance of phase change material Trombe wall in building

From Energy and Buildings:

Potential of energy flexible buildings: evaluation of DSM strategies using building thermal mass
Numerical analysis in a full-scale thermal energy storage tank with dual PCM capsules

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental determination and fractal modeling of the effective thermal conductivity of autoclave aerated concrete (AAC) impregnated with paraffin for improved thermal storage performance
Preparation and characterization of new nano-particle mixed as thermal storage material
Numerical investigation on integrated thermal management for a lithium-ion battery module with a composite phase change material and liquid cooling

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Fatty Amines/Graphene Sponge Form-Stable Phase Change Material Composites with Exceptionally High Loading Rates and Energy Density for Thermal Energy Storage

From MATEC Web of Conferences:

Thermal conductivity of aerated concrete (AC) composites containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials [pdf]
Overheating mitigation in buildings: a computational exploration of the potential of phase change materials [pdf]

From Solar Energy:

Experimental study on the thermal performance of capric acid-myristyl alcohol/expanded perlite composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Graphitization as efficient inhibitor of the carbon steel corrosion by molten binary nitrate salt for thermal energy storage at concentrated solar power
A strategy for designing microencapsulated composite phase change thermal storage materials with tunable melting temperature

From Institute of Electronics and Information Engineers 2019 Summer Conference:

Thermal Management System in Electric vehicle Battery Pack Using Phase Change Material

From Materials Chemistry and Physics:

Preparation and thermal properties of n-eicosane/nano-SiO2/expanded graphite composite phase-change material for thermal energy storage

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

Simulative optimization on energy saving performance of phase change panels with different phase transition temperatures

From Thermochimica Acta:

The stability and thermophysical properties of a thermal fluid containing surface-functionalized nanoencapsulated PCM

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Functionalized mesoporous silica as matrix for shape-stabilized phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Synthesis and characterization of microencapsulated sodium sulfate decahydrate as phase change energy storage materials

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Prototype latent heat storage system with aluminum-silicon as a phase change material and a Stirling engine for electricity generation

From Journal of Solar Energy Engineering:

Experimental Investigation and Numerical Modeling of Room Temperature Control in Buildings by the Implementation of Phase Change Material in the Roof
Suitability Assessment and Experimental Characterization of Phase Change Materials for Energy Conservation in Indian Buildings

PCM briefing: Viking Cold is finalist for innovation award; Sonoco launches sustainable packaging initiative

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

Viking Cold Solutions is a finalist for an Energy Storage of North America Innovation Award. The behind-the-meter thermal energy storage systems up for the award are part of an Eversource demand management program in Massachusetts. 

A thermal storage project in Northamptonshire, England, is expected to provide 47 new homes with hot water and heat via renewable energy sources such as solar power. The borehole technology, developed by Caplin Solar of Leicester, stores heat in the ground in warmer months for later use in colder periods.

• Packaging giant Sonoco of Hartsville, S.C., has announced the creation of its EnviroSense sustainable packaging initiative. EnviroSense products are designed to incorporate a number of elements associated with more sustainable packaging, including optimized package-to-product ratio; increased use of recycled and recyclable content; fiber sourcing; compostability; and the use of bio-based materials.

• Registration is open for Sonoco ThermoSafe's next Leading Minds Seminar, "Collaborative Learning that FUELS Your Temperature Sensitive Healthcare Products," to be held Nov. 14 in Amsterdam. The seminar is designed for European supply chain, logistics, quality and packaging professionals responsible for the protection and management of temperature sensitive healthcare clinical supplies and finished products. 

Hydrostor, a Canadian developer of advanced compressed air energy storage projects, has announced the closing of $37 million (USD) in growth financing. Hydrostor has three projects in operation or under construction in Canada and Australia 

• A projected tripling of heat-related deaths in the United Kingdom over the next 30 years will require a drastic rethinking of ways to cool buildings, a parliamentary select committee warns. “The risk of overheating in terms of minimising risks to health and safety of occupants should be enshrined into regulations for new build homes and retrofits," the Environmental Audit Committee said. "This should be considered alongside an integrated review of energy efficiency and ventilation, and be included in the government’s planned Future Homes Standard, to include improvement in the measurement of current and future overheating risk and prioritise passive cooling measures.”

• The most entertaining obituary of a self-taught chemist you will read this month. Rest in peace, Joe Heller.