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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: Beverage container with self-regulating thermal control member

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 16, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170325607 (applicant Pacific Market International LLC, Seattle, Wash.):

Beverage patent application drawing"A beverage container provided with a thermal regulation member having a sidewall extending through a beverage cavity of a container main body. The thermal regulation member contains an energy storage material that receives, stores, and transmits heat energy to and from a beverage in the beverage cavity to regulate its temperature. The energy storage material may initially absorb energy from a heated beverage having a temperature too hot for drinking, then transfers heat energy back into the beverage as it cools, keeping it within a comfortable temperature range for an extended period of time. The thermal regulation member may be selectively attachable to a stopper assembly that seals an upper opening of the beverage cavity. Alternatively, laterally extending attachment members may attach the thermal regulation member directly to a wall of the beverage cavity. ... The energy storage material [37] may be a phase change material that undergoes phase changes within and around temperature ranges that are comfortable for human consumption of beverages."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170325607.pdf

Patent application: Passively temperature controlled storage container for an automobile

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 16, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170328623 (inventor David Legare, Ava, N.Y.):

"Thermal protection for sensitive items stored for extended periods of time in a passenger vehicle is a requirement that has not been adequately addressed by the industry. A primary object of this invention therefore, will be to provide a convenient and versatile means for forming and integrating a storage container employing appropriate phase change materials to create a controlled temperature environment for heat-sensitive articles inside an automobile, truck, or other enclosed road vehicle. As such, the invention will afford protection where summer temperatures build up to levels inside the stationary vehicle which could exceed safe limits for heat sensitive items that might be stored in the vehicle for an extended period of time; ie an hour or more. An additional optional objective will be to further include a phase change material with a substantially lower melting point to protect sensitive items from freezing during the winter months."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170328623.pdf

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"

PCM mats will be put to the test in 'tiny house' at Colorado School of Mines

Ben Welter - Friday, November 10, 2017

The effectiveness of bio-based phase change material is being tested in a 200-square-foot “tiny house” under construction at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.

Katie Schneider, Colorado School of MinesKatie Schneider, a junior majoring in engineering physics, is chairing the two-year student project, which is scheduled for completion in May 2018.

Though its interior is incomplete, the Mines Tiny House was exhibited at last month’s team Solar Decathlon in Denver. Schneider said the project attracted interest from representatives of the energy and sustainability industry, as well as from other schools that might want to partner with the School of Mines for the next Solar Decathlon in 2020.

“It was a great experience for us to interact with others interested in what we're doing,” Schneider said, “and we got plenty of good ideas from the competitors as well.” 

Entries in the Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, are judged on energy efficiency, design, affordability and consumer appeal.

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas, one of 11 teams in this year’s decathlon, used a PCM product in the ceiling of its entry, a 990-square-foot home that won first place in the innovation category. Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne, Switzerland, was the overall winner.

The School of Mines team is installing ENRG Blankets donated by Phase Change Energy Solutions of Asheboro, N.C. The multi-layer polymer mats, shown above, contain plant-based PCM with a melt-freeze transition temperature of 23º C (73º F). The mats are designed to absorb, store and release energy to help keep living spaces at comfortable temperatures and reduce energy costs.

"We plan to put the PCMs in the ceiling first, between the insulation and our ceiling paneling," Schneider said. "We want to take temperature measurements with and without the PCMs to really test their effectiveness. Then we will possibly put them in the walls, especially near the wheel wells of the trailer because that is a vulnerable point of heat loss for the tiny house."

http://minestinyhouse.weebly.com

Patent application: Dishwasher drying system with thermal storage heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 09, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170319045 (applicant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Suwon-si, Republic of Korea):

"A dishwasher drying system includes an air inlet configured to receive hot, humid air from a tub of a dishwasher. The dishwasher drying system also includes an air outlet configured to discharge the air to an ambient environment outside the dishwasher. The dishwasher drying system further includes an air moving device configured to cause the air to move from the air inlet to the air outlet. In addition, the dishwasher drying system includes a thermal storage heat exchanger positioned within an airflow path of the moving air, the thermal storage heat exchanger configured to absorb heat and condense moisture from the moving air as the moving air contacts the thermal storage heat exchanger during a dishwasher drying cycle. ... The thermal storage heat exchanger can include a phase change material (PCM), a non-PCM, or both."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170319045.pdf

Patent application: Forced air thermal energy storage system

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 09, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170321912 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas):

Viking Cold Solutions patent drawing"A system including a chilled air generation system, a forced air convection system, one or more phase change material (PCM) modules, and a controller. The controller is configured to regulate the temperature of a facility by selectively utilizing the chilled air generation system and the forced air convection system based on multiple factors, which may include energy source type(s), relative costs of the energy from the source(s), availability of energy from the source(s), facility temperature, PCM module temperature, and/or temperature of goods stored within the facility, among other considerations. The controller may thus advantageously and cost-effectively control the periods of time during which the chilled air generation system is used and those during which the thermal energy stored in the PCM modules is used."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170321912.pdf

Patent application: Athletic activity monitoring device

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 09, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170324018 (applicant Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.):

Nike patent drawing"Aspects relate to an energy harvesting device adapted for use by an athlete while exercising. The device may utilize a mass of phase-change material to store heat energy, the stored heat energy subsequently converted into electrical energy by one or more thermoelectric generator modules. The energy harvesting device may be integrated into an item of clothing, and such that the mass of phase change material may store heat energy as the item of clothing is laundered."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170324018.pdf

Research roundup: Cascaded cold storage unit with multiple PCMs; evolution of global heat transfer coefficient; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Evolution of global heat transfer coefficient on PCM energy storage cycles [Energy Procedia]

Thermal performance analysis of a cascaded cold storage unit using multiple PCMs [Energy]

An experimental investigation of discharge/solidification cycle of paraffin in novel shell and tube with longitudinal fins based latent heat storage system [Energy Conversion and Management]

An alternative approach for assessing the benefit of phase change materials in solar domestic hot water systems [Solar Energy]

Organic-inorganic hybrid shell microencapsulated phase change materials prepared from SiO2/TiC-stabilized pickering emulsion polymerization [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Preparation of phase change material emulsions with good stability and little supercooling by using a mixed polymeric emulsifier for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Optimal design of PCM thermal storage tank and its application for winter available open-air swimming pool [Applied Energy]

Research roundup: Biocatalysts combined to make new PCMs; tankless solar heating system; dual PCM gypsum board; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 02, 2017

Combining biocatalysts to achieve new phase change materials. Application to non-edible animal fat [Molecular Catalysis]

Performance evaluation of dual phase change material gypsum board for the reduction of temperature swings in a building prototype in composite climate [Energy and Buildings]

Study on a tankless solar heating system using phase-change material plaster [Building and Environment]

Performance Enhancement of a Building-Integrated Photovoltaic Module Using Phase Change Material [Energy]

Low cracking ratio of paraffin microcapsules shelled by hydroxyl terminated polydimethylsiloxane modified melamine-formaldehyde resin [Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects]

Numerical and experimental research of cold storage for a novel expanded perlite-based shape-stabilized phase change material wallboard used in building [Energy Conversion and Management]

Comparative study in the identification of liquid to solid transition phase with DSC, Raman spectra analysis and chemiometrics methods applied to phase change materials used for icing-delay in civil engineering infrastructures [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thickness Determination of a Three-layer Wall with Phase Change Materials in a Chinese Solar Greenhouse [Procedia Engineering]

Experimental Study on Thermal Performance Improvement of Building Envelopes Integrated with Phase Change Materials in an Air-conditioned Room [Procedia Engineering]

Phase Change Humidity Control Material and its Application in Buildings [Procedia Engineering]

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