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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.




Research roundup: Galactitol-mannitol mix; palmitic acid copolymers; biomedical applications; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cyclic stability of the eutectic mixture of galactitol and D-mannitolA eutectic mixture of galactitol and mannitol as a phase change material for latent heat storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

A Novel Solid-Solid Phase Change Material Based on Poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile) Grafting With Palmitic Acid Copolymers [Journal of Macromolecular Science]

Development of thermal energy storage materials for biomedical applications [Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology]

Economic top-down evaluation of the costs of energy storages—A simple economic truth in two equations [Journal of Energy Storage]

Preparation of Erythritol-Graphite Foam Phase Change Composite with Enhanced Thermal Conductivity for Thermal Energy Storage Applications [Carbon]

Solar Water Distillation Using Energy Storage Material [Procedia Earth and Planetary Science]

A Review on Solar Water Distillation Using Sensible and Latent Heat [Procedia Earth and Planetary Science]

PCMs keep headache-relief wrap cooler longer

Ben Welter - Friday, June 26, 2015

Hammacher Schlemmer headache wrapWrap your head around this: Phase change materials are being used to relieve headache pain. Hammacher Schlemmer says PCM gel packs allow the new Superior Headache Relieving Wrap to "stay cool 200% longer than typical models." A spokeswoman was unable to identify the PCM type but said it is "nontoxic and nonflammable," with a melting point of 14º C.

Sonoco ThermoSafe's new Via Blood Transporter features PureTemp PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, June 19, 2015

Sonoco ThermoSafe has introduced a new reusable container for the transport and temporary storage of red blood cells and platelets. 

Via Blood TransporterThe Via Blood Transporter maintains red blood cells at 1-6° Celsius for eight hours during transport and 1-10° C for the temporary storage of blood product for a minimum of 12 hours. The container is made of expanded polypropylene and features PureTemp biobased phase change material.

“The Via Blood Transporter was designed in accordance with blood bank user feedback,” said Marianne Hoonakker-Kelly, Sonoco ThermoSafe business development and market manager.  “Unique and innovative features such as the front platelet pouch and affixed assembly instructions not only promote compliance, transport efficiencies and minimized risk of loss due to mishandling – they ultimately promote patient safety. Given the cost pressures applied to health care systems, products like the Via Blood Transporter are critical as they ensure recommended temperature protection while preventing the waste and loss of valuable blood product.”

A closer look at PATH's self-heating diagnostic device

Ben Welter - Monday, April 20, 2015

Self-heating diagnostic deviceThe Seattle-based nonprofit PATH has posted photos of the prototype for its electricity-free, self-heating diagnostic device. It's known as NINA, or Non-Instrumented Nucleic Acid Amplification. NINA uses an exothermic chemical reaction and phase change material to help accurately diagnose an array of infectious diseases in remote settings where electricity is not available.

Patent application: Thermal management system with PCM liner and panels

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 02, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150068242 [Pelican BioPharma, applicant]:

Patent application U.S. patent application 20150068242 drawing"A thermal management system includes a case; an insulation material provided within the case, the insulation material defining an interior volume of the insulation material; a liner arranged in the interior volume, the liner having an inner surface that extends toward a center of the case; an outer container of phase change material provided in the liner, the outer container comprising a plurality of outer panels containing a first phase change material, the plurality of outer panels comprising a bottom outer panel, a top outer panel, and side outer panels; and an inner container of phase change material provided in the outer container, the inner container comprising a plurality of inner panels containing a second phase change material; wherein an outer surface of each of the side outer panels is parallel with the inner surface of the liner."

'Last mile' will be hot topic at Cool Chain Europe

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vishal KhushalaniVishal Khushalani, Sonoco ThermoSafe's director of marketing and business development, will be among the speakers at next week's IQPC Cool Chain Europe in Frankfurt, Germany. Joined by Wayne Williams, president of Cold Chain Technology Services, Khushalani, right, will talk about "Achieving Significant Cost Savings with a Comprehensive Reclamation Process for Last Mile Shipments." They will review the life cycle of a returnable shipper across the supply chain and back for reclamation and re-use.

Steve Healy, global sales director at Intelsius, will lead a roundtable discussion on a similar topic: "Final Mile and In-Country Distribution: Improving Performance Whilst Maintaining Affordability."

The British company will display a range of its temperature-controlled packaging solutions at the conference, including its ORCA line, a reusable solution that provides 168 hours of thermal protection for temperature-sensitive payloads in the 2-8° C and 15-25° C ranges, using phase change material and vacuum insulated panels. 

Pluss Polymers' MiraCradle neonate cooler wins innovation award

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 04, 2014

Pluss Polymers of India has won a CII Industrial Innovation Award for its neonate cooler. The MiraCradle, the New Delhi company's first health-care product, is a low-cost passive cooling device for treating newborns suffering from birth asphyxia. It was developed in collaboration with Christian Medical College of Vellore, India.

Birth asphyxia – lack of sufficient oxygen at birth – kills hundreds of thousands of newborns in the developing world each year. Research shows that cooling the body temperature of a newborn suffering from birth asphyxia can help protect the brain from damage. 

The device uses Pluss Polymers' "form-stable" phase change materials, savE FS-21 and FS-29. The manufacturer says the PCMs can be charged in a typical refrigerator.

Low-cost HIV diagnostics tool uses PCMs

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Photo of NINA courtesy PATHResearchers have developed a low-cost, electricity-free device capable of detecting the DNA of infectious pathogens, including HIV-1.

"The device uses a small scale chemical reaction, rather than electric power, to provide the heat needed to amplify and detect the DNA or RNA of pathogens present in blood samples obtained from potentially infected individuals," according to the National Institutes of Health, which funded the research. 

Phase change material in the device stabilizes the test material within a narrow temperature range. The device, developed by the Seattle-based nonprofit PATH, is designed to be used in remote parts of the world that lack electricity and refrigeration.

Forbes interview with Jane Chen, Embrace co-founder

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jane Chen"The Embrace warmer has now saved over 100,000 infants across nine countries," Jane Chen tells Forbes magazine. "We’ve gotten support from Beyoncé, who made a gift in the amount of $125,000 to Millenium Promise to bring Embrace infant warmers to 100 rural health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of, recently made an investment into Embrace Innovations, our for-profit social enterprise arm."