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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: Lightweight, breathable, waterproof, soft shell composite apparel

Ben Welter - Monday, December 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170347730 (applicant Solid Water Holdings, Farmington, Maine):

"The apparel is constructed from various combinations of layers of materials with moisture transfer properties. A first liner of moisture transfer fabrics abuts a second layer of structural material such as open-cell foam. The second layer can abut a breathable membrane and/or an insulating material. ... The breathable moisture transfer composite system may be enhanced with Phase Change Technologies for additional thermal benefits and may be used as a single layer or composite layer in the moisture transfer system."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170347730.pdf

Patent application: Lubricating composition with phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, December 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170349850 (applicant Total Marketing Services, Puteaux, France):

"Disclosed is a monophasic lubricating composition including a base oil, an oil chosen from the polyalkylene glycols (PAG) and a phase-change material, in particular water. The monophasic lubricating composition can be used, in particular, for lubricating a vehicle engine. It has improved thermal performance relative to the lubricant compositions of the prior art. It also helps reduce fouling of the engine parts."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170349850.pdf

Patent application: Thermally insulated VIP sandwich shipper

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 9828165 (applicant Sonoco Development Inc., Hartsville, S.C.):

"A thermally insulated VIP sandwich shipper for a temperature sensitive payload is provided. The shipper comprises an outer shell, an inner shell and vacuum insulated panels sandwiched therebetween. The outer shell and the inner shell may be unitary rigid structures made of an expanded foam material and comprising a bottom having a perimeter and sides extending from the bottom perimeter and terminating in a rim. The inner shell rim may be spaced from the outer shell rim to define a gap, the gap being sealed to create an enclosed space within which the vacuum insulated panels are located. Each vacuum insulated panel may be oriented substantially orthogonally to at least one adjacent vacuum insulated panel and have an edge that abuts the adjacent vacuum insulated panels."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/9828165.pdf

Patent application: Non-combusting smoking article with thermochromatic label

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170340008 (applicant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Winston-Salem, N.C.):

"A smoking article is disclosed herein. The smoking article includes a shell defining an interior space, a consumable substance within the interior space, a heat source effective to increase the temperature of at least a portion of the shell, and a label attached to at least a portion of the shell. The label includes a base film, a cover film, and a temperature dependent material disposed between the base film and the cover film. The temperature dependent material is configured to transition between a first appearance and a second appearance responsive to the increase of the temperature of at least a portion of the shell. ... In some embodiments, the temperature dependent material may be a reversible thermochromatic ink or a reversible phase change material that may transition from a colored, opaque cool state to a substantially transparent warm state to effect the change in appearance. "

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170340008.pdf

Patent application: Free cooling in high humidity environments

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170347499 (applicant Amazon Technologies Inc., Seattle, Wash.):

Amazon patent drawing"A data center includes heat producing components and an air handling system that provides reduced relative humidity air to cool the heat producing components. The air handling system includes a thermal storage unit [section shown at right] that removes thermal energy from incoming air under a given set of ambient air conditions and releases thermal energy into incoming air under another set of ambient air conditions. Under the given set of ambient air conditions, the thermal storage unit cools the incoming air and causes water vapor to condense out of the incoming air. Under the other set of ambient air conditions, the thermal storage unit releases thermal energy into the incoming air, thus heating the incoming air. ... [The] thermal storage unit may include a phase change material such as a paraffin wax, salt solution, an inorganic phase change material, or other suitable material with a high heat of fusion."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170347499.pdf

Patent application: Rubber or elastomer compositions and processes for their manufacturing

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170342240 (applicant Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research Dresden, Germany):

"The present invention is concerned with the field of polymer chemistry and relates to rubber or elastomer compositions as can be used for vehicle tires, and to a method for the production of the rubber or elastomer compositions. The object of the invention is that in particular the elastic modulus of the compositions can be adapted depending on the temperature and/or the application conditions, and is a cost-effective and easily implemented method for the production of the compositions. The object is attained by rubber or elastomer compositions that contain at least one rubber or elastomer matrix and at least 20 to 150 phr of a phase change material in solid or liquid form."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170342240.pdf

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

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