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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.




Patent application: Cooling system and method

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180209716 (applicant PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, N.Y.):

"A cooling system having a cooling chamber including a surface defining one or more openings. A surface is configured to hold at least one container. An access door provides access to the cooling chamber. A refrigeration system is configured to cool the cooling chamber by forcing cool airflow through the one or more openings in the surface. The airflow through each of the one or more openings may be similar. ... In some embodiments of the cooling system 100, portions of the cooling chamber 200 can include a phase change material."

Patent application: Non-invasive brain temperature-regulating devices for enhancing sleep

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sleep aid patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180200476 (inventors Robert E. Tucker, Sanibel, Fla., and Jeffrey J. Schirm, Monroeville, Penn.): 

"Methods, systems and devices for enhancing sleep, including enhancing the quality of sleep, reducing sleep onset time, increasing total sleep time, treating insomnia, and/or treating other neurological disorders by non-invasive temperature regulation of the frontal cortex prior to and/or during sleep. Described herein are thermal applicators that include phase change materials and/or evaporative cooling, as well as headgear for securing the applicators comfortably against the appropriate region of the user's head."

Patent application: Thermally insulated packaging for shipping liquid in bottles

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180202700 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas):

"A thermally insulated structure for shipping goods, comprising: an insulated box comprising a goods receptacle and a phase change material module receptacle; a phase change material module; and a set of vacuum panels configured to form an encapsulating layer around the insulated box."

Patent application: Pair of eye goggles

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180200113 (applicant Alan N. Schwartz, Edmonds, Wash.):

Goggle patent drawing"A pair of eye goggles is described. A strap can be fit removably around a head. A nosepiece can be fit over the nose. A pair of eyepieces includes a transparent lens and a frame. An airtight and watertight skin interface is adapted to fit securely against the wearer's skin. A flex layer includes a seal that is at least one of airtight and watertight and which is structurally interposed between at least a portion of two or more of the skin, the nosepiece, the eyepieces, the transparent lens, the frame, and the skin interface. The flex layer includes a phase change material that is resiliently and elastically malleable. The flex layer is deformable such that at least one portion can transmute the magnitude of a force applied and can redirect the force in at least one direction. External forces acting are at least one of mitigated, transmuted, and isolated."

Patent application: Modular mobile lab for the detection and analysis of infectious diseases

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Field lab drawingU.S. patent application 20180193843 (applicant MRIGlobal, Kansas City, Missouri):

"A mobile field-deployable laboratory to more conveniently enable the detecting, sequencing and analyzing of biological agents at the point-of-need. This device enables field operators to go from sample to actionable information in the field without the need for an internet connection or grid-based power. ... The present system uses customized phase-changed cooling solutions to achieve proper storage temperatures for critical reagents and consumables for up to 72 hours during field deployment, without the need for an external power source."

Patent application: Temperature-regulating apparatus for liquids

Ben Welter - Monday, July 16, 2018

Pronto patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180195795 (applicant Pronto Concepts Inc., San Francisco, Calif.):

"A temperature-regulating apparatus which can rapidly chill a beverage by exposing it to a large surface area of the device interior which has a cooling gel embedded within its walls. The user pours their liquid into the device and monitors the projected temperature dropping until they reach an optimal temperature. Once optimal temperature is reached, the users will pour the liquid out of the device to end the cooling processes. Thus a superior liquid cooling solution is provided that can rapidly chill a beverage to an optimal temperature. ... The temperature-regulating material may be a cooling gel that consists of one or more of water, phase change material (PCMs), sodium chloride, propylene glycol, or the like."

Patent application: Extinguisher for a smoking article

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

Philip Morris patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180184707 (applicant Philip Morris Products SA, Neuchâtel, Switzerland):

"A portable extinguisher for extinguishing a single smoking article [S] at a time, the extinguisher comprising: a reservoir; a chamber sized to receive at least part of a single smoking article; and an opening to receive at least part of the smoking article into the chamber; wherein the reservoir and the chamber are thermally coupled and wherein the chamber is isolated from the reservoir such that there is no fluid communication between the chamber and the reservoir, and wherein the reservoir contains a phase change material arranged such that, in use, heat energy from a smoking article received in the chamber is absorbed by a phase transition of the phase change material."

Patent application: Maintaining a solar power module

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180191295 (applicant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Dhahran, Saudi Arabia):

"A solar power system includes a plurality of solar power cells mounted on an outer surface of a spherical frame, the spherical frame including an inner surface that defines an interior volume; a heat sink that includes a hollow housing mounted within the interior volume of the spherical frame; and a phase change material positioned in the hollow housing of the heat sink, the phase change material thermally coupled to the inner surface of the spherical frame to receive heat from the outer surface of the spherical frame."

Patent application: Treatment systems with fluid mixing systems and fluid-cooled applicators

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

Zeltiq Aesthetics patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180185189 (applicant Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.):

"A treatment system for cooling subcutaneous lipid-rich cells [200] in a human subject includes an applicator [410] and a control unit. The treatment system has a cooling mode for cooling tissue and a heating mode for warming tissue. The control unit includes a circulation circuit in fluid communication with the applicator, a chiller apparatus configured to chill fluid from the applicator circulation circuit, and a heater apparatus to warmed fluid from the applicator circulation circuit. ... The chilled reservoir can hold coolant (referred to as 'chilled coolant') at a relatively low temperature and the chiller fluidic circuit can include, without limitation, a refrigeration unit, a cooling tower, a thermoelectric chiller, a cartridge of phase change material, or any other device capable of removing heat from coolant."