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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: Solid-liquid phase change driven heat engine

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180320518 (inventor Yanming Wei, Ontario, Canada):

"A new kind of solid-liquid-solid cyclic phase change heat engine is presented with optional but highly recommended multiple cylinders aka multiple stages cascading powertrain. Unlike the traditional Rankine engine or Stirling engine, hereby the gaseous phase is prohibited, and the conventional turbine is abandoned too. Under the drive of heat flux, low expansion volume of the working Phase Change Material (PCM) replaces the high expansion volume of hot gas, and in compensation, high expansion pressure replaces the low expansion pressure of hot gas. ... Inspired by [Donald] Trump's book “the art of deal,” I audaciously make technical trade-off to combine but isolate standard hydraulic oil and PCM in a hydraulic ensemble, despite minor existence of PCM leakage, corrosion and excessive friction, which are caused by the non-ideal viscosity & fluidity."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180320518.pdf

Patent application: Method and mechanisms to use PCMs to improve vehicle comfort

Ben Welter - Monday, November 12, 2018

Toyota patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180321703 (applicant Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Erlanger, Kentucky): 

"A temperature moderation apparatus is structured to be positioned in vehicle passenger compartment. The apparatus includes an outer shell defining an interior of the shell, the wall has an exterior surface structured and positioned for physical contact with a skin surface of a vehicle occupant. The outer shell wall also has a plurality of through-holes formed therein. A phase change material element is positioned within the shell interior. The phase change material element includes a stretchable, thermally-conductive outer wall and a quantity of phase change material positioned therein. A pressurization mechanism is coupled to the phase change material element, the pressurization mechanism is structured to pressurize the phase change material element so as to force portions of the phase change material element to extend from the interior of the shell into associated ones of the through holes and past the outer shell wall exterior surface."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180321703.pdf

Patent application: Article of apparel with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, November 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180317574 (applicant Under Armour Inc., Baltimore, Md.):

"The present invention is directed toward an article of apparel including a base textile with a comfort regulation membrane. The comfort regulation membrane contains a plurality of system-reactive components selectively engaged heat and/or moisture. In an embodiment, the printed coating includes a cooling agent, a phase change material, and a heat dissipation material. The system reactive components may be provided in particulate form, being suspended in a binder. In operation, the article of apparel is effective to delay/diminish the rise in skin temperature (compared to a garment lacking the membrane) and/or improve the overall moisture management capacity of the substrate, either of which may improve wearer comfort."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180317574.pdf

Patent application: A transportation box with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, November 12, 2018

Pluss patent application drawingU.S. patent application 20180320947 (inventors Devendra Jain, Nidhi Agarwal, Ravi A.T. Teja and Deepraj Sarmah, Gurgaon, India): 

"A transportation box comprising a plurality of first phase change materials (16), a plurality of second phase change materials (20), a first box (18) adapted to enclose a payload box (10), a second box (22) and an outer box (14). The payload box (10) is embedded with the plurality of second phase change materials (20). Further, each of the plurality of first phase change materials (16) is placed above and below the payload box (10). The second box (22) is adapted to contain temperature sensitive products and is nestable within the payload box (10). The first box (18) is nestable within the outer box (14). The plurality of first phase change materials (16) and the plurality of second phase change materials (20) are arranged in a manner such that air in between controls heat flow into and within the first box (18)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180320947.pdf

Patent application: Thermal storage units and methods of making and using them

Ben Welter - Monday, November 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180320987 (applicant University of Texas Board of Regents, Austin, Texas):

"Sugar alcohol blends of galactitol and mannitol and compositions comprising such blends are disclosed as phase change materials (PCMs). A method of forming carbon nanotubes on a carbon substrate is described. Carbon substrates with carbon nanotubes, in particular, conformal layers of carbon nanotubes on carbon substrates, are also disclosed, as are methods of making and using these materials. Thermal storage units are also provided. The thermal storage units can comprise a heat exchange path through which a heat exchange medium flows, and a thermal storage medium in thermal contact with the heat exchange path."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180320987.pdf

Patent application: Control systems for renewable water heating systems

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 01, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180313578 (applicant David Kreutzman, Louisville, Colo.):

"Provided herein are systems and methods directed to using renewable energy sources with hot water heating systems. The system and method provide for interconnecting a single electrical heating element of a hot water heater to first and second electrical power sources. ... To achieve additional heat storage, the inventors have recognized it would be beneficial to include a fusion pack with the water heater. The fusion pack [150[ is formed of a phase change material that is adapted to melt and solidify at a predetermined temperature. "

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180313578.pdf

Patent application: Insulation material arrangement

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 01, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180313080 (applicant Schmetzer Industries Holdings Pty. Ltd., Hornsby, Australia):

Schmetzer insulation patent drawing"A material arrangement for insulating a building structure in an installed condition, the material arrangement including first and second flexible polymer foam layers and a flexible phase change material layer between the first and second flexible polymer foam layers, and at least one flexible reflective layer extending over at least one of the first and second flexible polymer foam layers. A method of forming and installing such a material arrangement is also disclosed."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180313080.pdf

Patent application: Mattress containing microencapsulated phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, October 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180279796 (applicant Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, S.C.):

"A mattress containing a core section, a high loft non-woven layer at least partially covering a first side of the core section and containing a plurality of heat and flame resistant fibers, bulking fibers, and binder fibers, a ticking layer at least partially covering the high loft non-woven layer and containing a textile layer, a pattern coated layer. The pattern coated layer may be printed on the high loft non-woven layer, the ticking layer, or any layer between the high loft non-woven layer and the ticking layer. The pattern coated layer contains a blend of microencapsulated phase change material (PCM) and a binder, wherein the PCM is fully encapsulated by the binder."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180279796.pdf

Patent application: PCM module heat exchanger assembly

Ben Welter - Monday, October 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180283726 (applicant Air Innovations Inc., North Syracuse, N.Y.):

"A phase change material (PCM) module heat exchanger assembly includes a multi-section PCM container rotatingly supported about a center long axis of the multi-section PCM container, or a multi-section PCM container where one or more sections are slidingly mounted to the multi-section PCM container. Each section of a plurality of rotatably or slidingly selected PCM sections is selectably insertable into an air flow. A method of placing one of a group of two or more PCM sections into a building's heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) ductwork and a method to harvest heating or cooling capacity for later use are also described."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180283726.pdf

Patent application: Thermo protection storage cell for cold transport box

Ben Welter - Monday, October 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180283761 (applicant Swissmedpack Technologien JP. Buettiker GmbH, Basel, Switzerland):

"A thermo-protection-storage-cell for the ensuring of a temperature range from a lower temperature exposure limit to an upper temperature exposure limit contains a thermo-cell body and at least one filling chamber which is arranged in the thermo-cell body. At least one filling chamber is filled with a first phase-change material which changes its phase at the point of the lower temperature exposure limit. The at least one filling chamber is filled with a second phase-change material which changes its phase at the point of the upper temperature exposure limit. The thermo-protection-storage-cell facilitates an efficient and safe ensuring of a temperature-sensitive good in a useful way, especially during its transport."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180283761.pdf