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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.

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 bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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Patent application: Fecal incontinence device

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 20, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170105827 (Renew Medical Inc., Foster City, Calif.):

Renew Medical Inc. patent drawing"A device for treating fecal incontinence in a subject is provided. The device includes a plug configured for positioning mostly within an anal canal of the subject. ... A phase change material can also be used in stem portion 12 and optionally cap portion 14; the material can be stiff under room temperature and soft at body temperature. Plug 10 can be filled with such a material and deformed while molten (e.g. by stretching the plug from its ends) to as to form a more deliverable structure with reduced cap portion diameter when the material sets. Once in the body, the material melts and plug 10 assumes its natural configuration providing the anchoring and sealing necessary for treating fecal incontinence."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170105827.pdf

Patent application: Form-stabilized phase change compositions

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 06, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170096590 (applicant Smart PCM Patent Holdco LLC, Loveland, Colo.):

"Provided herein are form stabilized phase change materials and methods of their manufacture. Form stabilized phase change material compositions comprise porous particulate carriers impregnated with at least one phase change material. The particulate carriers are of a specific size range depending on the density and loading capacity of the particles. Exemplary carriers include expanded perlite with a particle size of greater than approximately 0.5 millimeters. In some examples, the products may have phase change material at 40% or more of the final composition by volume. Additionally, methods of manufacturing the form stabilized phase change materials are provided, and exemplary building materials and shipping containers are provided."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170096590.pdf

Patent application: Temperature-control pallet cover

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 06, 2017

CCT pallet cover patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170096283 (applicant Cold Chain Technologies Inc., Holliston, Mass.):

"A pallet cover suitable for use in covering at least a portion of a payload on a pallet and a kit for use in making the pallet cover. In one embodiment, the pallet cover includes a top wall, a front wall, a rear wall, a left side wall, and a right side wall, wherein the walls are detachably joined to one another. Each of the top wall, the front wall, the rear wall, the left side wall, and the right side wall includes a first fabric sheet and a second fabric sheet, the first and second fabric sheets being joined together to form a plurality of pockets. Each pocket [37] may removably receive a temperature-control member containing a phase-change material. At least one of the top wall, the front wall, the rear wall, the left side wall and the right side wall includes a plurality of detachably joined portions."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170096283.pdf

Patent application: Thermoregulating shawl and method of making same

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170086522 (Welspun India Ltd., Mumbai, India):

"A shawl article configured for thermoregulation, the shawl article comprising: an elongate panel having a first end, a second end spaced from the first end along a first direction, and opposed side edges spaced apart with respect to each other along a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction, the elongate panel including a plurality of warp yarns that extend along the first direction. ... The plurality of weft yarns include phase change yarns, wherein the phase change yarns comprise at least about 50% by weight of the shawl."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170086522.pdf

Patent application: Adhesive thermal gasket with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thermal gasket patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170089648 (applicant Jones Tech, Cupertino, Calif.):

"An adhesive-thermal gasket, including: a body of thermally conductive material having a set of openings formed through the body; and an adhesive disposed into each opening for holding together a heat-generating component and a heat-dissipating structure as the body thermally couples the heat-generating component to the heat-dissipating structure. ... The body [16] can be formed from a thermal pad, a thermal phase-change material, a graphite thermal interface material, etc."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170089648.pdf

Patent application: Flexible PCM sheet materials

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170087799 (applicant Smartpolymer GmbH, Rudolstadt, Germany):

"The invention relates to flexible PCM sheet materials having a high latent thermal energy storage density for the purpose of heat management. The flexible PCM sheet material includes a flexible supporting structure and phase-change-material elements arranged thereon separately in a specific geometry. The phase-change-material elements are geometrically defined structures composed of polymer-bound phase-change material. The flexible PCM sheet materials are characterized by a high latent heat storage capacity and optimized thermal conductivity, are dimensionally stable even in the event of temperature changes and after phase transitions, can be rolled, folded, wound, or cut to size without problems, and can be transported, stored processed, or used in a single layer or in multiple layers."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170087799.pdf

Patent application: Three-layer vessel with phase change material

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3-layer vessel patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170071381 (inventors Weng Hua Ze and Ke Wang, Quanxi Town, China):

"A three layer vessel has: a vessel body; a first liner connected to the vessel body and configured within the vessel body; an outside gap formed between the first liner in the vessel body, the outside gap is at least partially evacuated to a lower pressure than atmospheric air pressure; a second liner connected to the vessel body and configured within the first liner; an inside gap formed between the first liner in the second liner; a thermal conductive fluid held within the inside gap; a vessel body rim is formed on the vessel body with the vessel body connects to the first liner. ... An inner space [19] is formed between the vacuum space between the internal spacing, which is filled with thermal conductive fluid. ... The thermal conductive fluid is a phase change material that changes phase between liquid and solid phases."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170071381.pdf

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."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170082371.pdf

Patent application: Composite foam and methods of preparation and use

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170072604 (applicant Empire Technology Development LLC, Wilmington, Del.):

"Composite foams having cells containing shape-stabilized phase change material (ss-PCM) particles are described. Composite foams may be made by contacting a plurality of ss-PCM particles and one or more pre-polymer reactants, wherein each ss-PCM particle can form a nucleation site for foam cell generation. The composite foams may be used in regulating the temperature of an article wherein the foam undergoes a phase transition as the surrounding temperature of the article approaches the foam's phase transition temperature. The thermostatic material may exchange heat with the article during the phase transition, resulting in regulation of the temperature of the article. The composite foams may be used as a thermostatic packaging material having a cavity for storing goods."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170072604.pdf

Patent application: Methods for making low remnant free formaldehyde microcapsules

Ben Welter - Friday, March 10, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170065956 (applicant Microtek Laboratories Inc., Dayton, Ohio):

"Methods for producing microcapsules begin by preparing an emulsion of a surfactant, core material, and water, followed by the addition of a crosslinking agent and a melamine formaldehyde prepolymer, which is subsequently polymerized. The crosslinking agent is added before the melamine formaldehyde prepolymer, with a first addition or a second addition of a melamine formaldehyde prepolymer, or is divided for addition with both a first addition and a second addition of melamine formaldehyde prepolymer."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170065956.pdf