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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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Research roundup: PCM compatibility with metals, plastic; desiccant packet for cooling vest; paraffin viscosity; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 23, 2017

Investigation of the corrosive properties of phase change materials in contact with metals and plastic [Renewable Energy]

Preparation and thermal properties of SAT-CMC-DSP/EG composite as phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A numerical study on the usage of phase change material (PCM) to prolong compressor off period in a beverage cooler [Energy Conversion and Management]

Abilities and limitations of thermal mass activation for thermal comfort, peak shifting and shaving: A review [Building and Environment]

Corrosion effect of phase change materials in solar thermal energy storage application [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A review for phase change materials (PCMs) in solar absorption refrigeration systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Sodium nitrate – Diatomite composite materials for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Innovative PCM-desiccant packet to provide dry microclimate and improve performance of cooling vest in hot environment [Energy Conversion and Management]

Heat transfer study of phase change materials with graphene nano particle for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Energy performance evaluation of heat-storage gypsum board with hybrid SSPCM composite [Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry]

Empirical equation to estimate viscosity of paraffin [Journal of Energy Storage]

Yearly energy performance of a photovoltaic-phase change material (PV-PCM) system in hot climate [Solar Energy]

Research roundup: 2 promising PCM candidates; calcium carbonate shell; thermocapillary effects; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Thermal properties characterization of two promising phase change material candidates [Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry]

Self-assembly synthesis and properties of microencapsulated n-tetradecane phase change materials with calcium carbonate shell for cold energy storage [ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering]

Thermal Analysis of a Thermal Energy Storage Unit to Enhance a Workshop Heating System Driven by Industrial Residual Water [Energies]

Effect of a low-cost parabolic reflector on the charging efficiency of an evacuated tube collector/storage system with a PCM [Solar Energy]

Numerical study on free-surface jet impingement cooling with nanoencapsulated phase-change material slurry and nanofluid [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Heat transfer performance and melting dynamic of a phase change material subjected to thermocapillary effects [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Evaluation and optimization of melting performance for a latent heat thermal energy storage unit partially filled with porous media [Applied Energy]

Carbon nanotube/paraffin/montmorillonite composite phase change material for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Synthesis and thermal properties of novel solid-solid phase change materials with comb-polyurethane block copolymer structure for thermal energy storage [Thermochimica Acta]

Synthesis and Properties of Polyurethane/Coal-Derived Carbon Foam Phase Change Composites for Thermal Energy Storage [Acta Physico-Chimica Sinica]

Research roundup: Encapsulation techniques for inorganic PCM; effects of flake graphite nanoparticles; more

Ben Welter - Monday, February 13, 2017

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

A review on encapsulation techniques for inorganic phase change materials and the influence on their thermophysical properties
Phase equilibrium in the design of phase change materials for thermal energy storage: State-of-the-art

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Investigating the impact of Cp-T values determined by DSC on the PCM-CFD Model
Performance of a Finned, Latent-Heat Storage System for Solar Thermal Power Application

From Applied Energy:

Impact of periodic flow reversal of heat transfer fluid on the melting and solidification processes in a latent heat shell and tube storage system
The effects of flake graphite nanoparticles, phase change material, and film cooling on the solar still performance
A quick-fix design of phase change material by particle blending and spherical agglomeration

From Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers:

Phase-change heat transfer in a cavity heated from below: The effect of utilizing single or hybrid nanoparticles as additives

From Energy:

Field evaluation of microencapsulated phase change material slurry in ground source heat pump systems

From Renewable Energy:

Numerical studies on thermal and electrical performance of a fully wetted absorber PVT collector with PCM as a storage medium
Glass encapsulated phase change materials for high temperature thermal energy storage

From SAE World Congress Experience:

Integration and Validation of Thermal Energy Storage System for Electric Vehicle Cabin Heating

From Engineering Technology International Conference 2016:

Preparation and characterization of form-stable paraffin/polycaprolactone composites as phase change materials for thermal energy storage

Technically speaking, PCM-infused lingerie line radiates an air of mystery

Ben Welter - Monday, February 13, 2017

Giapenta's beautiful new line of PCM-infused lingerie features soft, breathable mesh, delicate appliques and natural, moisture-wicking fabrics. As far as technical details, though, the brand’s founder is leaving much to the imagination.

Giapenta modelThe Florida startup, which launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to cover costs of its first production run, says the TempPro fabric used in the lingerie “proactively” pulls heat away to cool the body. Giapenta’s message to consumers:

“Just as you start to get warm, the phase changing materials in the fabric actively pull heat away from your body. Overheating and sweating are reduced. If you do start to get cold, stored heat is released back to you, when you need it the most.”

The company was founded by Kris Strouthopoulos, who managed Sleep Number mattress and bedding stores for 10 years. That’s where she became familiar with temperature-regulating fabrics and materials.

“Women especially would always come up to me to tell me how amazing and life changing the fabric was for them,” she said. “I always thought that if they were getting such an amazing benefit from this technology all night long, why not get the same effects during the day from their undergarments? So that is how we initially got into the lingerie industry and built a team dedicated to infusing technology and smart design solutions into garments to help improve the lives of others.”

TempPro fabric illustrationShe and her sister, Marketing VP Elena Strouthopoulos, have been working on the brand for two years. The Kickstarter campaign met its modest target of raising $25,000 in just one day, putting the company on a path to complete the production run in Canada by April and ship the first orders in May.

I contacted Kris Strouthopoulos to learn more about the TempPro fabric, which the company says is used throughout the line. What type of phase change material is used? What is its melt point? How is it encapsulated? She politely declined to answer any questions of a technical nature, saying such information is proprietary. Fair enough. We'll leave that to your imagination.

PCM briefing: California utility will buy up to 100 Ice Bears for residential use; Malouf unveils new graphite-PCM pillow

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Ice Energy will join forces with the Southern California Public Power Authority to provide up to 100 Ice Bear 20 cooling units for residential use within utility's 12 member territories in 2017. Installations will begin in June. The Ice Bear 20 stores cooling energy during off-peak hours by freezing water in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the company says, the stored ice delivers up to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent. The new deployment is designed to demonstrate the Ice Bear 20's grid value to utilities. The units will be installed in single-family homes chosen by Ice Energy based on site visits. Homes that need 4-, 5- or 6-ton air-conditioning systems replaced are the likely targets. The utilities pay for the Ice Bears; it's unclear at this point who will pay installation costs. If all 100 Ice Bear 20s are purchased, the total cost to the utilities will be $1.33 million (not including installation).

Malouf CarbonCool pillow• Bedding maker Malouf's new CarbonCool Plus OmniPhase pillow combines the temperature-regulation properties of graphite and microencapsulated phase change material. "At the molecular level," Furniture Today reports, "the material inside the capsules changes from a solid to a liquid when the temperature is high and vice versa when the temperature is low. This continuous cycle is designed keep the pillow surface between 87 and 91 degrees, which research shows is the ideal skin temperature range for deep sleep." The queen size shown here retails for $299.99.

• New from Absolute Reports: "United States Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market By Manufacturers, States, Type And Application, Forecast To 2022"

SPX Flow's new FLEX Series refrigerated air dryer uses phase change material to tightly regulate temperatures and reduce compressor cycling.

Prongo insulin bagPluss Technologies' PronGo bag, introduced last year for consumers to transport frozen and chilled food and beverages, is  now being promoted as a way to keep insulin at the right temperature for up to 10 hours. The 3-liter bag comes with two sets of PCM cooling packs. It's available on Amazon.in for about $52. In an interview with Express Pharma, company director Samit Jain talked about the Prongo and another new product, Celsure, a passive shipper designed to keep pharma products "at the right temperature for 96 hours and beyond at the tropical temperatures that countries like India, South East Asia and Africa have."

1414 Degrees, the Australian company that has developed a way to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, is now scaling up the technology and plans to launch the first commercial systems this year. Executive Chairman Kevin Moriarty said the company is waiting for AusIndustry, a division of Australia's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, to sign off on the 10MWh project in February so manufacture can begin.

Swiss symposium on thermal energy storage draws 135 participants

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TES economics, microencapsulation and new materials were among the topics at this year's Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage in Lucerne.

The symposium, held Jan. 20 at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, drew 135 participants. Prof. Dr. Jörg Worlitschek, who organized the gathering, described the feedback from participants as “really positive.”

The 5th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage will be held on Jan. 26, 2018. Here’s a brief look at a few of this year’s presentations:

Dr. Luisa CabezaThermal Energy Storage: Possibilities and Outlook: Luisa F. Cabeza, right, University of Lleida, Spain, provided an overview of the basic principals and benefits of TES and offered an up-to-date look at strategic research priorities for sensible TES, latent TES and thermochemical storage.

Development of Latent Heat Transportation Systems with Various PCM: Hiroshi Suzuki, Ruri Hidema and Yoshiyuki Komoda, Kobe University, Japan, examined the process of microencapsulating PCM in a silica hard shell. Their conclusion: The material shows great promise for a variety of applications.

Thermoplastic Heat Storage Materials for Diverse Applications: Stefan Reinemann, head of plastics research at TITK, Germany, described the development of a PCM compound in which liquid paraffin is bound in a polymeric network structure. These PCM polymer storage granules have a “large heat transfer area,” melting ranges from -4 to 82 degrees C and a heat capacity of up to 180 joules per gram. The granules can be used in textiles, household appliances, building materials and prosthetics.

A Simple Tool for the Economic Evaluation of Thermal Energy Storage: Christoph Rathgeber, ZAE Bayern, Center for Applied Energy Research, Germany, presented two formula-driven ways to make a rough estimate of the economic viability of an energy storage for a specific application: Top-down (following the assumption that the costs of energy supplied by the storage should not exceed the costs of energy from the market) and Bottom-up (focusing on the realized storage capacity costs of existing storages). Among “long-term storages for building applications,” the analysis found that seasonal thermal storage is only economical via large hot water systems. Among “short-term storage for industrial applications,” the analysis found that ice storage systems are cost effective, and other technologies (such as mobile storage using sodium acetate trihydrate) are getting close. For more on this work, see http://tinyurl.com/tes-economic-evaluation.

https://www.hslu.ch/en/lucerne-school-of-engineering-architecture/research/kompetenzzentren/thermische-energiesysteme-und-verfahrenstechnik/thermische-energiespeicher/cctevt-sstes/cctevt-sstes-2017/

PCM briefing: Long-haul cyclists reach Myanmar; papers sought for symposium on waste heat

Ben Welter - Friday, January 27, 2017

Riccardo Rocchi and Chiara RicciardiRiccardo Rocchi and Chiara Ricciardi,  the Italian couple who began an 18,000-kilometer bike ride in June to raise awareness about diabetes, have reached Myanmar. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and needs a daily dose of insulin. She is using Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. The pair topped the 10,000-kilometer mark this week. They've pedaled across 16 countries, averaging 44 km per day. "We just realized that maybe we forgot to make a postcard from Nepal," the pair said in a Facebook post from Myanmar. "We might consider to cycle back to do it." Their final destination is Singapore.

• Organizers of a one-day symposium at Brunei University on the efficient use of waste heat have issued a call for abstracts. The symposium, "Heat Recovery and Efficient Conversion and Utilisation of Waste Heat," will be held April 20, 2017. Abstracts must be submitted by Jan. 31.

Pelican BioThermal has completed a $1.65 million expansion of the manufacturing facilities at its U.S. headquarters in Plymouth, Minn. The company now has 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the Minneapolis suburb, up from 54,000 square feet. The expansion will support production of single-use temperature-controlled shippers in the United States.

Weise's Outlast Houston motorcycle jacket• New from Weise Motorcycle Clothing: The Outlast Houston, a fully armored waterproof jacket with a removable lining that features Outlast phase change material to regulate temperature. 

Serta is touting “breakthrough cooling technology” in the new version of its iComfort memory foam mattresses. Phase change material is embedded in the fabric and on the surface of the gel memory foam.

• The United Kingdom plans to spend £28 million ($35 million) on reducing the cost of energy storage, advancing demand side response technologies and improving energy efficiency measures for industry. Up to one-third of the money will be spent on a competition to reduce the cost of energy storage, including thermal storage.

• The EU-funded Heat4Cool research project is developing a novel retrofit planning tool to help retrofit companies, architects, manufacturers, building administrators and residents weigh the potential benefits of three main technologies: gas and solar thermally driven adsorption heat pumps; PV-assisted DC-powered heat pumps connected to advanced modular PCM heat and cold storage systems; and energy recovery from sewage water with high performance heat exchangers. You are invited to help in this effort by completing a five-minute survey online.

• A Florida startup is calling its PCM-infused TempPro fabric “a gamechanger for luxury lingerie.” Giapenta, which launched a Kickstarter campaign this week, uses the temperature-regulating fabric in its line of bras, panties and sleep masks. The campaign has already met its modest target of raising $25,000. I've contacted the company and hope to have technical details on TempPro in time for next week's newsletter..

Research roundup: Encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles; 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 26, 2017

New hybrid nanofluid containing encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles in propylene glycol-water mixture: Potential heat transfer fluid for energy management [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal properties and stabilities of the eutectic mixture: 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid as a phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Adaptability research on phase change materials based technologies in China [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Design of a Low cost Non Electrical Type Baby Incubator for Developing Country [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research]

Research roundup: Inorganic PCMs for thermal storage; battery thermal management; α nano alumina; more

Ben Welter - Friday, December 16, 2016

A review on current status and challenges of inorganic phase change materials for thermal energy storage systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Development of Phase Change Materials for Refrigerated Transportation of Fruits and Vegetables [International Conference on Computational Modeling, Simulation and Applied Mathematics]

Numerical study on solid–liquid phase change in paraffin as phase change material for battery thermal management [Science Bulletin]

Comparative study of two weir type cascade solar stills with and without PCM storage using energy and exergy analysis [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal conductivity enhancement of treated petroleum waxes, as phase change material, by α nano alumina: Energy storage [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Research roundup: Lightweight mortars; eutectic salt property prediction; magnetite; more

Ben Welter - Monday, December 12, 2016

From International High-Performance Built Environment Conference:

Thermal energy storage enhancement of lightweight cement mortars with the application of phase change materials

From Dublin Institute of Technology:

Mechanical and Thermal Evaluation of Different Types of PCM-concrete composite panels

From Energy and Buildings:

Thermophysical properties of n-tetradecane@polystyrene-silica composite nanoencapsulated phase change material slurry for cold energy storage

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Microencapsulated phase change materials for enhancing the thermal performance of Portland cement concrete and geopolymer concrete for passive building applications

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Thermal energy storage characteristics of poly(styrene-co-maleic anhydride)-graft-PEG as polymeric solid–solid phase change materials
Natural magnetite for thermal energy storage: Excellent thermophysical properties, reversible latent heat transition and controlled thermal conductivity

From Applied Energy:

MPCM with high heat capacity chart
Microencapsulated phase change materials with high heat capacity and high cyclic durability for high-temperature thermal energy storage and transportation
Highly stable graphite nanoparticle-dispersed phase change emulsions with little supercooling and high thermal conductivity for cold energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

Thermal analysis of molten ternary lithium-sodium-potassium nitrates

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

A critical review of eutectic salt property prediction for latent heat energy storage systems
Review on system and materials requirements for high temperature thermal energy storage. Part 1: General requirements

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

An apparatus to measure the thermal conductivity of insulation panels at sub-ambient temperature