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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: 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

Patent application: Thermal locking mechanism for a medication delivery device

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170224929 (applicant Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, Ind.):

"A medication injection device includes a housing and a needled syringe supported by the housing. The needle syringe has a plunger and a volume containing medication. The medication injection device further includes an expelling mechanism operably coupled to the plunger. Additionally, the device includes a thermal locking mechanism  operably coupled to the expelling mechanism, comprising a material which is solid when the device is refrigerated and transitions to a liquid or gel-like state at a phase-change temperature when the device is taken out of refrigeration and warms up together with the contained drug to a temperature which is suitable for performing an injection."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170224929.pdf

Patent application: Multifunctional temperature self-regulating film and face mask

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231884 (applicant Handy Technology, Zhuhai, China):/p>

"The present invention [below] discloses a multifunctional temperature self-regulating multilayer film, from outside to inside comprising at least: a carrier layer loaded with functional material, and a thermal-insulation layer directly contacted with the skin; wherein the carrier layer loaded with functional material has a sealed cavity sealed with a flexible water-impermeable material, the sealed cavity is at least loaded with a refrigerating or heat-generating chemical material; wherein thermal-insulation layer is made of a material having waterproof and thermal-insulation properties. The present multilayer film can be manufactured into a face mask or eye mask for use on facial skin. ... [The] the sealed cavity is loaded with a solid-liquid phase change material which generates heat when the material changes from liquid to solid, and an actuating means which is used to trigger an exothermic state of the solid-liquid phase change material."

Handy mask patent drawing

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231884.pdf

Patent application: Self-managed portable hypothermia system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

Portable hypothermia system drawingU.S. patent application 20170209304 (inventors Michael and Laura Zumbrunnen, Rochester, Minn.):

"A non-user assisted, portable, entirely self-managed capable hypothermia device to eliminate hair loss caused by the side effects of certain chemotherapy treatments or to reduce the metabolic rate of ischemic tissue along with the severity of swelling is disclosed. The device consists of a conformal cap system, a thermally conductive liquid located between the body part to be cooled and the cap system, thermal transfer fluids, phase change materials, thermally insulated cooler, physical measuring devices, mechanical and electrical components, a ‘smart’ user interface device, a battery, and an uninterruptible power controller."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170209304.pdf

PCM briefing: A baby manikin that sweats; a salt and antifreeze TES system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

Alphabet Inc.'s secretive development lab is developing a system for storing renewable energy in tanks filled with salt and antifreeze. "The system takes in energy in the form of electricity and turns it into separate streams of hot and cold air," Bloomberg reports. "The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze, a bit like a refrigerator. ... Flip a switch and the process reverses. Hot and cold air rush toward each other, creating powerful gusts that spin a turbine and spit out electricity when the grid needs it. Salt maintains its temperature well, so the system can store energy for many hours, and even days, depending on how much you insulate the tanks."

Thermetrics baby manikinThermetrics LLC has introduced an 11-zone thermal baby manikin that features a thermally conductive carbon-epoxy shell, a “sweating skin system” and internal heater elements and temperature sensors. Nicknamed “Ruth,” the manikin can be used to evaluate the thermal properties of clothing, diapers, bedding, car seats and strollers.

Axiom Exergy and Ice Energy are on a list of 25 companies notable for developing innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption in commercial and industrial buildings.  

Croda International has announced the acquisition of Enza Biotech AB, a research enterprise established as a spin-out company from Lund University in Sweden.

AkzoNobel has announced the winners of its 2017 Imagine Chemistry initiative, recognizing and supporting efforts to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and to uncover sustainable opportunities for the company’s specialty chemicals business. Among the winners is Industrial Microbes of Emeryville, Calif., for its work on the biocatalysis of ethylene to ethylene oxide.

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins and Magnum CAES CEO Richard Walje will be among the speakers at the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego next week. 

ONE Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M., has selected Acme Aerospace to provide lithium ion battery systems to be used in ONE’s “Project Canada” aircraft. The Acme system features a proprietary phase change material to improve battery performance.

Reuters reports that Dow Chemical and DuPont are seeing increased benefits in developing sustainable "green" products, as the chemical giants seek new areas of growth and build a stronger connection with millennials.

TemperPack, a Virginia-based manufacturer of sustainable packaging for perishable goods, has raised $10 million in an investment round that will help it further expand operations and add jobs.

Digital strategies “will have a significant impact on many areas of the chemical industry, with the potential to change value chains, lead to higher productivity and more innovation, and create new channels to market,” according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis.

• The Bioencapsulation Research Group has posted the program for the 3rd Latin-America Symposium on Microencapsulation, to be held in Chile Nov. 27-29.

1414 Degrees, the Australian startup that has developed a way to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, has posted openings for a chief financial officer and an energy storage and power network system analyst.

• New from QY Research: "Global Inorganic Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market Research Report 2017"

• New from Future Market Insights: "Energy Harvesting Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2014 - 2020" and "Chilled Water Storage System Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 – 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017 – 2027"

ThermoSafe ChillTechSonoco ThermoSafe has launched a new range of reusable, universal solutions for the pharmaceutical and biologics markets. ChillTech is a pre-qualified range of 2°C to 8°C PCM systems providing temperature control from two days up to six days for payloads from 4L to 40L. The range uses Laminar Medica’s ChillPhase paraffin phase change material.

• A new reference manual for the oleochemical industry is now available. "Fatty Acids: Chemistry, Synthesis, and Applications" presents new information on industrially important fatty acids including detailed descriptions of fatty acid crystallization, enzymatic synthesis and microbial production.

Pluss Advanced Technologies has received a 50 lakh grant (about $78,000 USD) under India’s Millennium Alliance Program to promote the use of the company’s MiraCradle cooling device in hospitals and neonatal care units across India. The device uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia in newborns. 

• Why haven't phase change materials taken off in the UK construction industry? Ian Biggin of Phase Energy Ltd., which is developing novel shape-stabilized technologies, says the industry needs to address what he calls the "4Ps": price, performance, proof and promotion.

From Italy to Singapore by bicycle, with a little help from PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

Italian couple celebrate completion of 18,000-kilometer ride to Singapore

They made it! The Italian couple who embarked on a 17,550-kilometer bicycle trek last June arrived in Singapore last week. Chiara Ricciardi and Riccardo Rocchi began the yearlong journey, dubbed "Piece of Cake," to raise awareness about diabetes. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and requires a daily dose of insulin. She used Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. 

Their latest Facebook post: "385 days. 21 countries. Bottom line: with type 1 diabetes, you can do it. But also ... We've learned that the world is a better place than they say, people help and help you. ... The engine is overrated, time is the biggest luxury of the 21st century."

http://www.forapieceofcake.com/en/

Research roundup: Graphite particle fillers; sodium nitrate microcapsules; domestic space heating in UK; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Effect of temperature and graphite particle fillers on thermal conductivity and viscosity of phase change material n-eicosane [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermal stability of sodium nitrate microcapsules for high-temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Phase change materials to meet domestic space heating demand in the UK - A numerical study [Journal of Fluid Flow, Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis of three-dimensional graphene aerogel encapsulating n-octadecane for enhancing phase-change behavior and thermal conductivity [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

A recyclable thermochromic elastic phase change oleogel for cold compress therapy [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Patent application: Docking station for an ultrasound probe

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

GE ultrasound probe patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170172542 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

"A docking station for electrically charging and managing a thermal condition of an ultrasound probe [302] is presented. The docking station includes a first charging unit magnetically coupled to an induction unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to charge at least one battery in the ultrasound probe. Further, the docking station includes a first cooling unit thermally coupled to a thermal unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to dissipate heat from the ultrasound probe. ... In one example, one of the ports that facilitate the replacement of the thermal units may be positioned at the bottom surface [310] of the probe [302]. As the new thermal unit [308] is used to replace the thermal unit [306], the new thermal unit may also be referred to as a replaceable thermal unit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170172542.pdf

Patent application: Person support system with cooling features

Ben Welter - Monday, June 05, 2017

U.S. patent 20170135884 (applicant Hill-Rom Services Inc., Batesville, Ind.):

Hill-Rom patient support system patent drawing"Embodiments provide a person support system including support pads having cooling features. According to one embodiment, a person support system may include a longitudinal frame comprising at least one side rail. A support pad may be positioned on the longitudinal frame. The support pad may comprise a thermally conductive core portion comprising a support matrix and at least one thermally conductive element. ... The thermally conductive core portion may be constructed from different phase change materials (or even different combinations of phase change materials) to achieve different degrees of cooling."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170135884.pdf

PCM replacement cap keeps insulin pens at the right temperature

Ben Welter - Monday, June 05, 2017

VIVA insulin cap

Insulin pens must be kept between 15° and 30° Celsius to ensure safe and effective injection. An Israeli company has developed a cap that combines phase change material with monitoring electronics to keep these pens from overheating in hot environments.

TempraMed’s first-generation Vivi Cap1 fits over any type of insulin pen and adjusts constantly to keep the insulin at the higher end of room temperature. When the device is exposed to temperatures above 29° C, the bio-based PCM begins to absorb heat and change from solid to liquid. When the ambient temperature falls below 28° C, the PCM starts to return to its solid state, allowing it to regain its heat-absorbing property. A push of a button at the base allows the user to confirm that the insulin is at the proper temperature.

“We are not aware of similar products that are available on the market,” said Ron Nagar, TempraMed president and CEO. “Until now, most commonly used products for ‘keeping insulin cool’ use water evaporation technology, which requires frequent user intervention, and is not effective in closed bags (where medication is commonly carried) or in humid environments.

“With the insulation and PCM we use, we offer very compact solutions (slightly larger than current insulin pen cap) which can maintain the proper conditions for time durations that are typically longer than the exposure expected during daytime or when outdoors, and allow recovery during the night or when back indoors, without user intervention.”

TempraMed is based in Tel Aviv with an office in Washington State. The products are manufactured in Israel.

The FDA- and CE-registered Vivi Cap1 is available now on the company’s website, www.my-vivi.com, at a cost of $49.90. The next generation of Vivi products will be available in the fall: Vivi Epi for epinephrine pens; Vivi Vial for insulin vials; and Vivi Cool 8° C and Vivi Vial 8° C for storing insulin at lower temperatures.

Nagar said TempraMed is working with several distributors to make the products widely available, including retail chains.

http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/insulin-cooling-tempramed-giveaway