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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.




Research roundup: Thermal stability testing; nanofibers composite; barium-based PCM; domestic hot water tanks

Ben Welter - Monday, June 01, 2015

Review on the methodology used in thermal stability characterization of phase change materials [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Fabrication and characterization of capric–lauric–palmitic acid/electrospun SiO2 nanofibers composite as form-stable phase change material for thermal energy storage/retrieval [Solar Energy]

Effect of Barium-based Phase Change Material (PCM) to Control the Heat of Hydration on the Mechanical Properties of Mass Concrete [Thermochimica Acta]

An experimental and numerical investigation on the use of phase change materials in building elements: The case of a flat roof in Istanbul [Energy and Buildings]

Integration of PCM in Domestic Hot Water Tanks: Optimization for Shifting Peak Demand [Energy and Buildings]

Research roundup: Storage evaporator for vehicle energy management; Heisler chart; PCM applications in building environment; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Modeling Air Conditioning System with Storage Evaporator for Vehicle Energy Management [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Expanding Heisler Chart to Characterize Heat Transfer Phenomena in a Building Envelope Integrated With Phase Change Materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental evaluation at pilot plant scale of multiple PCMs (cascaded) vs. single PCM configuration for thermal energy storage [Renewable Energy]

Virtual Special Issue - PCM applications in building environment [Building and Environment]

Synthesis and Characteristics of Hygroscopic Phase Change Material: Composite Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (MPCM) and Diatomite [Energy and Buildings]

Design and calculation of a new storage tank for concentrating solar power plant [Energy Conversion and Management]

Microfluidic fabrication and thermal characteristics of core-shell phase change microfibers with high paraffin content [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Synthesis and characterization of thermal energy storage microencapsulated n-dodecanol with acrylic polymer shell [Energy]

Exergy analysis of discharging multi-tank thermal energy storage systems with constant heat extraction [Applied Energy]

Kettering professors partner with Warmilu to improve incubator blanket

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Warmilu's incubator blanket

Two physics professors at Kettering University are working with a Michigan startup on an incubator blanket designed to help preterm infants born in remote parts of developing countries. The goal is to make Warmilu's IncuBlanket stay warmer longer.

"The 8-by-16-inch pouch is filled with phase change material," reports Michigan Live. "To get it warm, all a mother needs to do is boil it and place it in the blanket. Once the warming pack cools to room temperature, there is a spring to push to release more energy and more heat for a few more hours." 

Warmilu says the reusable packs can now maintain a temperature of 37º Celsius for two to five hours. The company hopes to extend that time to six to eight hours.

Research roundup: Flame retardancy of shape-stabilized PCMs; graphite nanoplates; phase change slurries; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Flame retardance property of shape-stabilized phase change materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Graphite nanoplates loading into eutectic mixture of adipic acid and sebacic acid as phase change material [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Numerical modeling of heat transfer in open-cell micro-foam with phase change material [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Simulation study on dynamic heat transfer performance of PCM-filled glass window with different thermophysical parameters of phase change material [Energy and Buildings]

Effect of carbon nanotube interfacial geometry on thermal transport in solid–liquid phase change materials [Applied Energy]

Numerical analysis of thermal storage performance with high-temperature phase change materials operated by condensing steam [Solar Energy]

Comparison of phase change slurries: Physicochemical and thermal properties [Energy]

Macroencapsulation and characterization of phase change materials for latent heat thermal energy storage systems [Applied Energy]

Research roundup: Laminar convection heat transfer; PCM-enhanced building components

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review of Laminar Convection Heat-Transfer with Microencapsulated Phase Change Material Slurry [Advances in Intelligent Systems Research]

•  Overview of Basic Solid–Liquid PCMs Used in Building Envelopes—Thermal and Energy Modeling of PCM-Enhanced Building Envelopes Methods, Encapsulation, and Thermal Enhancement [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Short History of PCM Applications in Building Envelopes [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Thermal and Energy Modeling of PCM-Enhanced Building Envelopes [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Leading interdisciplinary team helped PCM researcher see big picture

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dr. Sarah McCormackIn an interview on the European Cooperation in Science and Technology website, an assistant professor of engineering at Dublin's Trinity College talks about how COST has helped her see the big picture in her research.

Sarah McCormack chaired COST Action TU0802, developing an interdisciplinary community focused on renewable energy systems and phase change material.

"The main aim was to develop new materials for renewable energy storage applications in terms of heating and cooling, particularly renewable applications," she said. "This did not necessarily mean coming up with new modeling techniques, but more accurate ones, by finding ways to incorporate phase change materials or thermal energy storage processes into software readily available. ... The COST Action gave me a chance to meet other experts, look at the small-scale buildings aspects, and helped me understand how we can integrate these renewable energy systems."

Research roundup: Mini-emulsion polymerization; microcapsules in garments; diesel engine waste heat recovery

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Poly(methyl methacrylate) copolymer nanocapsules containing phase-change material (n-dodecanol) prepared via miniemulsion polymerization [Journal of Applied Polymer Science]

Influences of the PCM Microcapsules on Thermal Properties of the Garment [pdf] [International Conference on Information Sciences, Machinery, Materials and Energy]

Experimental Investigation of a Cascaded Latent Heat Storage System for Diesel Engine Waste Heat Recovery [Energy Sources]

Research roundup: Solar TES in residential buildings; smart food packaging; expanded metal mesh; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage in residential buildings in cold climate [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Development of Polystyrene-based Films with Temperature Buffering Capacity for Smart Food Packaging [Journal of Food Engineering]

Melting of phase change material assisted by expanded metal mesh [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Lattice Boltzmann simulation of convection melting in complex heat storage systems filled with phase change materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Improving Performance of Household Refrigerators by Incorporating Phase Change Materials [International Journal of Refrigeration]

• Preparation and thermal properties of form-stable phase change materials composed of palmitic acid/polypyrrole/graphene nanoplatelets [Energy and Buildings]

In pilot study, radiators store heat, cut use of peak load boilers

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Johan KensbyJohan Kensby, a Ph.D. student at Chalmers University in Sweden, is investigating how district energy systems can reduce the use of peak load boilers by storing heat in buildings connected to the network.

“Buildings have large thermal mass. Heat can be stored in the floor, walls, ceiling, and in the water in the radiator system,” he noted in a piece posted this week on the university's website.

In a pilot study, he found it is possible to store as much as 0.1 kilowatt hours of heat per square meter of a building without the indoor temperature varying by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius.

“The residents do not notice it," he said. "Temperature variations of this size are already present, for example when cooking.”

Research roundup: 'Red Brick' TES; rocks as filler material; thermoelectric space cooling; more

Ben Welter - Monday, May 04, 2015

Preparation and thermal characterization of composite “Paraffin/Red Brick” as a novel form-stable of phase change material for thermal energy storage [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Stability testing of thermal oil in direct contact with rocks used as filler material for thermal energy storage in CSP power plants [Energy Procedia]

Improving the Thermochemical Energy Storage Performance of the Mn2O3/Mn3O4 Redox Couple by the Incorporation of Iron [ChemSusChem]

Experimental and Numerical Evaluation of Longitudinally Finned Latent Heat Thermal Storage Systems [Energy and Buildings]

Facile synthesis and thermal performances of stearic acid/titania core/shell nanocapsules by sol–gel method [Energy]

Theoretical study on effective thermal conductivity of salt/expanded graphite composite material by using fractal method [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Study of a Thermoelectric Space Cooling System Integrated with Phase Change Material [Applied Thermal Energy]