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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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Research roundup: Graphene aerogel, polyaniline-based polymer shells, smart composites and more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

New database to help PCM selection in construction

Ben Welter - Friday, December 05, 2014

Using CES Selector software, researchers in Spain have created a database of phase change materials to help engineers select the right PCM for thermal energy storage in buildings. More than 300 PCMs have been entered in the database, noting thermophysical properties such as melting temperature and melting enthalpy.

According to an abstract of the research reported in Volume 57 of Energy Procedia: "This database can be completed in the future with other relevant properties ... such as chemical properties (durability in different media etc), reported density or viscosity at a given temperature or even cost of each material."

The full report, "New database on phase change materials for thermal energy storage in buildings to help PCM selection," is available via ScienceDirect. 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610214016166

You could even say it glows

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rudolph Microencapsulation of PCMs typically involves a single purpose: thermal energy storage. What if you could make that material glow as well? That's what three researchers at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology set out to find. They designed and synthesized PCM microcapsules with an n-eicosane core and zirconium dioxide shell to attain the characteristics of latent-heat storage/release and photoluminescence. Potential applications include intelligent fibers and photosensitive devices.

What PCMs are available for use in catalytic converters?

Ben Welter - Friday, November 21, 2014

Subramanian Sendilvelan of Bharath University in Chennai, India, asks, via ResearchGate: What phase change materials are available at 300˚C for use in catalytic converters? A professor at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology in Hyderabad suggests a 2012 paper on the use of PCMs in vehicles might be useful in exploring that topic.

The science of phase change: It’s (more) complicated

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 06, 2014

Think you know how phase change works? You might need to rethink that. Researchers at Princeton, Peking University and New York University say the process is a lot more complex than previously known. "This research shows that phase changes can follow multiple pathways, which is counter to what we've previously known," explains Mark Tuckerman, a professor of chemistry and applied mathematics at NYU and one of the study's co-authors. "This means the simple theories about phase transitions that we teach in classes are just not right."