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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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

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Research roundup: Solar-powered absorption cooling systems; diatomite/palm wax composite; numerical modeling of high-temperature latent heat storage; more

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

The use of enhanced heat transfer phase change materials (PCM) to improve the coefficient of performance (COP) of solar powered LiBr/H2O absorption cooling systems [Renewable Energy]

Diatomite/Palm Wax Composite as a Phase Change Material for Latent Heat Storage [Advanced Materials Research]

Effect of porosity of conducting matrix on a phase change energy storage device [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Computational efficiency in numerical modeling of high temperature latent heat storage: Comparison of selected software tools based on experimental data [Applied Energy]

Numerical study of the improvement of an indirect contact mobilized thermal energy storage container [Applied Energy]

A new mesoscopic scale timestep adjustable non-dimensional lattice Boltzmann method for melting and solidification heat transfer [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Structural characterization of thermal building insulation materials using terahertz spectroscopy and terahertz pulsed imaging [NDT & E International]

Experimental investigations on thermal performance of phase change material – Trombe wall system enhanced by delta winglet vortex generators [Energy]

Material ConneXion adds PureTemp to NYC library, online database

Ben Welter - Tuesday, October 06, 2015

PureTemp phase change materials have been accepted for display at Material ConneXion's flagship library in New York City. PureTemp, the world’s first 100 percent renewable PCM, will also be listed in Material ConneXion’s comprehensive online database, starting in November 2015.

Material ConneXion is the world’s largest membership-based library, with more than 7,500 unique, innovative and sustainable materials and seven locations worldwide. Each month, an independent jury selects materials and processes for inclusion in the library.

PureTemp phase change materials are designed to absorb and release large quantities of thermal energy at specific temperatures. Twenty-three PureTemp PCMs have been designated as 100 percent biobased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's BioPreferred program. 

Research roundup: Expanded graphite composites; thermal conductivity inside a sphere; numerical prediction of PCM thermal storage

Ben Welter - Monday, October 05, 2015

Shape-stabilized phase change materials based on fatty acid eutectics/expanded graphite composites for thermal storage [Energy and Buildings]

Experimental study on melting/solidification and thermal conductivity enhancement of phase change material inside a sphere [International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer]

Form-stable LiNO3–NaNO3–KNO3–Ca(NO3)2/calcium silicate composite phase change material (PCM) for mid-low temperature thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Numerical Prediction of Thermal Storage Using Phase Change Material [Journal of Technology Innovations in Renewable Energy]

Encapsulation of Phase Change Material with Water-Absorbable Shell for Thermal Energy Storage [Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering]

Off-grid passive house packed with high-performance material from around the world

Ben Welter - Friday, September 25, 2015

Building a passive house off-grid without the use of foam insulation or other potentially harmful materials can be a challenge. Architect Andrew Michler scoured the world for the high-performance material used in MARTaK, Colorado's first certified International Passive House. Among the components used in Michler's 1,200-square-foot guest house in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Fort Collins: 

Applegate loose-fill cellulose insulation
Roxul mineral wool batt
Air Pohoda heat-recovery ventilator
Eco-Bond nontoxic caulk
Tescon Vana air sealing tape
• ABS pipe to replace PVC

BioPCmat 51

Above: BioPCmat 51, a phase change material designed to absorb and release heat, is installed on two interior walls to even out temperature spikes.

http://inhabitat.com/how-to-build-a-passive-house-off-grid-without-foam/

Research roundup: Window-based cooling unit; PCM-ceramic tiles; corrosion and molten salts; smectite; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thermal performance of a window-based cooling unit using phase change materials combined with night ventilation [Energy and Buildings]

Lightweight dense/porous PCM-ceramic tiles for indoor temperature control [Energy and Buildings]

Corrosion behavior of stainless and low-chromium steels and IN625 in molten nitrate salts at 600° C [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

District cooling systems: Technology integration, system optimization, challenges and opportunities for applications [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Observed-Predicted Shifts in Thermodynamic Functions of Water Adsorption by Smectite at Nanoscale [Soil Science Society of America Journal]

Preparation of microencapsulated medium temperature phase change material of Tris(hydroxymethyl)methyl aminomethane@SiO2 with excellent cycling performance [Applied Energy]

Cooling vests: An efficient alternative to air conditioning in a warming climate?

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 17, 2015

Glacier Tek cooling vestA University of Michigan study has projected that demand for air conditioning in rapidly growing cities in India and other developing nations will dwarf the amount of cooling used in the United States, which is now the world’s heaviest user of air conditioners. In China, sales of air conditioners have nearly doubled over the past five years.

But are air conditioners the only answer? EarthTechling's Susan Kraemer suggests that cooling vests, powered by phase change material, would be an efficient way to protect people during periods of extreme heat in places where air conditioning and electricity are rare. 

http://earthtechling.com/2015/09/as-our-climate-warms-is-personal-cooling-in-our-future/

Patent application: Fluid system and method of making and using the same

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150240759 (applicant GM Global Technology Operations, Troy, Mich.):

Fuel tank patent drawing"A number of variations may include a product including a housing including at least one phase change material and a medium constructed and arranged for thermal energy transfer to or from a vehicle fuel. ... [E]thanol fuel may be prone to clogging of the vehicle engine within the surroundings during undesirable conditions. This clogging may cause the vehicle engine to stall or not start upon desired ignition. ... [W]hen the conditions become undesirable ... the phase change material within the housing may at least partially freeze or solidify, releasing thermal energy through the medium and into the ethanol fuel. The increased thermal energy to the ethanol fuel may allow at least a portion of the ethanol fuel's gel, wax-like, or crystalline state to liquefy or melt enough to start or continue to run the vehicle engine."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150240759.pdf

Research roundup: Reheating supercooled TES unit; phase inversion emulsification; nanoencapsulated PCM via Pickering emulsification; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Characteristic of Reheating Operation in Supercooled Thermal Energy Storage Unit for Hot Water Supply or Space Heating [Energy Procedia]

A Novel Method for the Preparation of Narrow-disperse Nanoencapsulated Phase Change Materials by Phase Inversion Emulsification and Suspension Polymerization [Industrial & Engineering Chemistry and Research]

Annual performance of a solar aided coal-fired power generation system (SACPG) with various solar field areas and thermal energy storage capacity [Applied Energy]

Optimal energy management of a building cooling system with thermal storage: A convex formulation [Symposium on Advanced Control of Chemical Processes] [pdf]

Nano-encapsulated PCM via Pickering Emulsification [Nature]

A review on the development of cool pavements to mitigate urban heat island effect [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

PCMs cut energy costs in pilot project at Army warehouse in California

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bio-based phase change material reduced energy costs significantly in a pilot project at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, Calif. 

The PCM, supplied by Phase Change Energy Solutions, was installed in one of two identical warehouses. The Redstone Rocket, a publication of the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Decatur, Ala., reported on the pilot project this week:

"For four months, exterior and interior temperatures in the two buildings were recorded every 15 minutes at multiple locations. The monitoring showed how temperatures fluctuated much less within the building where the PCM was installed, especially during winter months. Natural gas consumption data showed a 50 percent energy savings, proving that the heat turned on less in the building with the PCM.

" 'We have statistically significant data showing the impacts of the material on the warehouse temperatures,' Charles King with TriVector Services said. 'What’s most important though is the relationships we’ve built with Sierra, and we look forward to furthering that in the future.'

"Sierra would like to expand the current effort across multiple facilities in the future, pending the availability of funds."

http://www.theredstonerocket.com/military_scene/article_888cf0b0-4bee-11e5-be49-0fc5a834ee77.html

Research roundup: NZEB analysis tool; multistage heat engine model; solar water heater with PCM; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Innovative technologies for NZEBs: an energy and economic analysis tool and a case study of a non-residential building in Mediterranean climate [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal efficiency analysis of the cascaded latent heat/cold storage with multi-stage heat engine model [Renewable Energy]

Experimental investigation of a domestic solar water heater with solar collector coupled phase-change energy storage [Renewable Energy]

Experimental testing and analysis of R134a clathrates based PCMs for cooling applications [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Applications of solar water heating system with phase change material [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Effect of temperature on mortars with incorporation of phase change materials [Construction and Building Materials]

Microencapsulation and characterization of polyamic acid microcapsules containing n-octadecane via electrospraying method [Materials Express] [pdf]