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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: Thermal energy storage apparatus with PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, January 19, 2018

Neothermal patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180017337 (applicant NeoThermal Energy Storage Inc., Timberlea, Canada):

"A thermal energy storage apparatus is disclosed. The apparatus includes a base and fluid flow plates which cooperate with the base to define a cavity; a phase change material contained within the cavity; an extendable extension spring [40] at least partially contained within the phase change material [14]; and end plates which cooperate with the fluid flow plates to define fluid flow channels. Inlet and outlet ports allow for the ingress and egress of a heat exchange fluid into the fluid flow channels. In operation, the extension of the extendable extension spring induces solidification of at least a portion of the phase change material from a supercooled liquid state to a solid state, releasing thermal energy, allowing for the transfer of thermal energy across the fluid flow plates from the phase change material to the heat exchange fluid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180017337.pdf

Patent application: Capsules having surfactant tethered outer shells

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180009996 (applicant Microtek Laboratories Inc., Dayton, Ohio):

"Microcapsules are disclosed that have a core composition encapsulated within a polymer wall, and an inorganic shell connected to an exterior surface of the polymer wall by a surfactant. The inorganic shell has a cation attracted to the surfactant and an anion or anion equivalent chemically bonded to the cation to form the shell or has the metal portion of a metal-containing compound attracted to the surfactant to form the shell. The shell may comprise a Ca, Mg, or Ag metal compound. The shell may be a graphene oxide-metal compound."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180009996.pdf

Patent application: Encapsulated PCM and thermal battery

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180010862 (Valeo Systemes Thermiques, Le Mesnil Saint-Denis, France):

Valeo patent drawing"The present invention relates to an encapsulated phase-change material comprising a phase-change material (3) contained within a tube (5), said tube being made of plastic and that it has a sealing weld (9) at least at one of its ends. ... The presence of sealing welds allows good sealing and also reduces the risk of leakage of phase-change material notably when the latter is in the liquid phase."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180010862.pdf

Patent application: Heating water with refrigerant and PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180010822 (applicant Rheem Manufacturing Co., Atlanta, Ga.):

"An apparatus for heating water has a tank for storing water and an air conditioning system that defines a refrigerant flow path through which refrigerant flows. The refrigerant flow path passes through a heat exchanger so that refrigerant heat is contributed to the tank. The heat exchanger houses a phase change material. A controller controls operation of the water heating apparatus."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180010822.pdf

Patent application: Breast prostheses with phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 04, 2018

U.S. patent application 20170367850 (applicant American Breast Care LP, Marietta, Ga.):

Breast prosthesis patent drawing"In a method of making a breast prosthesis for use by a wearer having a body temperature, a plurality of dissolvable beads is placed into an open back of a breast-shaped mold. The open back of the mold is sealed. A suspension of an uncured silicone rubber liquid [332] and a plurality of phase change material pellets [334] is injected into the mold around the beads. The uncured silicone rubber is allowed to cure, thereby forming a breast shape. The phase change material has a latent heat of fusion at a melting point so as to remove heat from the wearer when the body temperature is at least at the melting point. The breast shape is removed from the mold and the dissolvable beads are dissolved from the breast shape."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170367850.pdf

Patent application: Thermal battery with encapsulated PCM

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 03, 2018

U.S. patent application 20170370655 (applicant Valeo Systems Thermiques, Le Mesnil St. Denis, France):

"The present invention relates to a thermal battery comprising an enclosure comprising a fluid inlet and outlet and comprising within it an encapsulated phase-change material in the form of at least one tube, at least one tube being wound in a spiral within the enclosure."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170370655.pdf

Patent application: Absorbent article with microencapsulated PCM

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20170360620 (applicant First Quality Retail Services, Great Neck, N.Y.):

"An absorbent article is provided with microencapsulated phase change material (microPCM) particles that are embedded in and/or coated onto a layer of the absorbent article that includes a resilient sheet of an open-cell foam. The foam layer is disposed such that it is in contact with or is in proximity to the user. The microPCM particles absorb heat generated during use of the absorbent article to reduce the contact temperature on the inside of the absorbent article and improve the comfort of the user. To maximize comfort, the phase change temperature of the microPCM particles may be an average normal body temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170360620.pdf

Patent application: Thermal energy storage and heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20170363368 (applicant EnergyNest AS, Billingstad, Norway):

"Thermal energy storage and heat exchanger, distinctive in that it comprises: a number of hardened concrete thermal energy storage elements; a housing, into which said elements have been arranged; an active heat transfer and storage medium in the volume between said elements and said housing, in the form of either: a stagnant liquid or phase change material, or a dynamic fluid arranged to flow in the volume between said elements and said housing; at least one means for delivery of thermal energy to the thermal energy storage; at least one means for taking out thermal energy from the thermal energy storage; and thermal insulation."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170363368.pdf

Patent application: Beverage container and heat transfer pad

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Patent drawing of beverage container

U.S. patent application 20170360227 (applicant John Robert Mumford, Oakville, Calif.):

"A beverage container includes a base, a stem, and a bowl. The base has a base lateral dimension parallel to the horizontal supporting plane. The stem extends upwardly from a stem lower end coupled to the base to a stem upper end. The stem has a heat pipe extending between the stem lower end and the stem upper end. The stem has a stem lateral dimension smaller than the base lateral dimension. The bowl is coupled to the stem upper end and extends upwardly of the stem. The bowl defines a liquid chamber having an upper opening. ... 

"Heat sink [128] can have any configuration suitable for withdrawing heat from beverage container. In the illustrated embodiment, heat sink is formed as a coaster including a body that houses phase change material [328], and a high thermal conductivity contact plate."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170360227.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management of linear motor

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170355568 (applicant Otis Elevator Co., Farmington, Conn.):

"The present disclosure relates generally to a propulsion system for an elevator having a first motor portion mounted to one of an object to be moved and a stationary structure and a second motor portion mounted to the other of the object to be moved and the stationary structure, the first motor portion having at least one coil. ... The cooling member may be a heat exchanger disposed between two coils of the first motor portion. ... The heat exchanger may include a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170355568.pdf