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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: 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

PCM briefing: Pitt professor gets $500,000 grant to study effectiveness of prosthetic liners

Ben Welter - Friday, December 22, 2017

Goeran FiedlerGoeran Fiedler, assistant professor of prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Pittsburgh, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study temperature control liners for prosthetics. The liners use phase change material to reduce the body’s tendency to sweat. The study will follow participants over 12 months to determine whether the liners decrease the risk of pressure sores, accidental falls and other problems.

Axiom Exergy has been named to Food Logistics' FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list. The award recognized Axiom for its PCM-based "refrigeration battery," now in operation at a Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, Calif., and scheduled for installation at a Walmart store in San Diego.

HeatVentors has won 2017’s international PowerUp! competition for innovative energy start-ups. The Hungarian company's PCM-based thermal energy storage system is designed to cut energy use by up to 40 percent.

A thousand tons of rock will be used to store excess thermal energy in Siemens Gamesa's Future Energy System under construction in Hamburg, Germany.

• Registration is open for the Unleashing Innovation Summit 2018 to be held March 12-13 in Amsterdam. The goal of the event is to  "bring together cross-industry innovation leaders to share information on the latest trends and strategies relating to creating an ecosystem and culture of innovation within an organisation."

• The agenda has been posted for the Smart Fabrics Summit in Washington, D.C.  The April 24 event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Topics include "Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective" and  "Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics."

Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a Kenya-based journalist and blogger, offers a fresh take on Warmilu's IncuBlanket. The product uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours.

PCM briefing: Thermal storage capacity on the rise; clinical trial for prosthetics liner

Ben Welter - Friday, October 27, 2017

• Thermal energy storage exceeds the capacity of battery storage now in operation, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Greentech Media reports that a recent resurgence in concentrated solar power development promises to increase that advantage.

• New from QYResearch Group: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Market Size, Status and Forecast 2022"

• New from Persistence Market Research: "Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020"

Alpha SmartTemp liner• The effectiveness of a PCM-infused prosthetics liner made by Ohio Willow Wood Co. will be put to the test in a two-year clinical trial. The liner is designed to absorb heat and reduce sweating where a prosthesis meets skin. The study, funded by a $140,000 Department of Defense grant, will be conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and Widener University.

• Registration is open for "2-8°C Solutions: Design variables and constraints," the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe's temperature assurance packaging series. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, and Lisa Barbieri Moher, North American head of distribution packaging and graphics at Sanofi, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Nov. 14.

Sonoco ThermoSafe's development of the LD7 Quarter PMC pallet shipper won first place for Excellence in Collaboration at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Global Forum in Chicago last month. ThermoSafe's ChillTech reusable PCM system was runner-up in the Excellence in Technological Innovation category.

In a recent interview with Innovation in Textiles, CEO Dirk Van Hyning of PCM-maker Alexium International discussed U.S. efforts to curb the use of halogenated flame retardants.

Patent application: Polymeric prosthetic and orthotic devices with heat and hardness control

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231788 (applicant Ohio Willow Wood Co., Mount Sterling, Ohio):

"Prosthetic liners, prosthetic sockets and prosthetic suspension sleeves, as well as orthotic components, having enhanced thermally conductivity and/or enhanced heat absorption capabilities. Such components may be used in various combinations to create assemblies and systems that are operative to better transfer heat away from and/or absorb heat produced by residual or intact limbs of a user."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231788.pdf

Research roundup: Erythritol interface; nanofluids for cold storage; solar pond; nanoparticles-enhanced PCM; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Study on phase change interface for erythritol with nano-copper in spherical container during heat transport [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Nanofluids: An innovative phase change material for cold storage systems? [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Experimental studies on the effect of using phase change material in salinity-gradient solar pond [Solar Energy]

Melting of nanoparticles-enhanced phase change material (NEPCM) in vertical semicircle enclosure: numerical study [Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology]

Simulating the Impact of Phase Change Material Embedded Building Envelopes on the Inter-Building Effect in Non-tropical Cities  [Procedia Engineering]

SmartTemp Prosthetic Liner Significantly Reduces Residual Limb Temperature and Perspiration [Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics]

Feasibility Study of Heat Driven Cooling Based Thermal Energy Storage System [International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Applications] [pdf]

Patent application: Prosthesis having shape memory effect for treating vascular trauma

Ben Welter - Friday, September 04, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150245900 (inventor Elizabeth A. Eaton, Bloomington, Ind.):

"A prosthesis delivery system may include a prosthesis that includes a first end portion being radially movable between a compressed configuration and an expanded configuration. The first end portion may comprise a shape memory material having a transition temperature less than a body temperature such that the first end portion has an expanded configuration at a temperature above the transition temperature and a compressed configuration at a temperature below the transition temperature. The prosthesis may also include a second end portion being radially movable between a compressed configuration and an expanded configuration and a central portion between the first end portion and the second end portion."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150245900.pdf

High-tech prosthetic leg a perfect fit for active amputee

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 03, 2015

An inspiring story from Oandp.com, a website that covers the prosthetics and orthotics community:

Kevin JohnsonThirty-six years ago, Kevin Johnson lost his right leg below the knee in a combine accident on his family's farm in Ohio. As a teen, he avoided "painful" prosthetics and used crutches to get around. But he knew that was not a good long-term solution. He eventually found a prosthetic leg that worked well enough to support an active life. Johnson's work involves operating bulldozers and piloting helicopters, and he also races motorcycles and ropes cattle. When the prosthetic broke, as it did often, he used a welding torch and duct tape to fix it.

By the end of 2007, the prosthetic leg was broken beyond repair. Johnson got in touch with WillowWood, a prosthetics company in Ohio that was looking for amputees to test technology being developed for military veterans: a prosthetic system that features vacuum pressure, intelligent controls and phase change material. He was the perfect test patient, offering developers valuable feedback and pushing the leg to its limits.

The result: A high-performance prosthetic leg that fits better and is far more comfortable than its predecessors, thanks to the PCM-infused liner that absorbs heat and reduces perspiration and skin irritation.

http://www.oandp.com/articles/2015-02_10.asp