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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: Fabric for an air bag

Ben Welter - Friday, July 31, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150203996 (Autoliv Development AB, Sweden): 

"A fabric for an air-bag comprising interwoven sets of warp and weft yarns, wherein the yarns of one of the least 1.5, and the yarns of the other set of yarns are not tape-like and have a width-depth ratio less than 1.5. ... 

"In further embodiments of the invention, a phase change material may be introduced to absorb heat. It will be understood that a phase change material has a high heat of fusion, and is capable of absorbing large amounts of energy when changing phase, for instance from the solid to the liquid phase."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150203996.pdf

Patent application: Thermal energy storage systems

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 30, 2015

PCES thermal energy storage patent applicationU.S. patent application 20150204618 (applicant Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc., Asheboro, N.C.):

"In one aspect, thermal energy storage systems are described herein. In some embodiments, a thermal energy storage system comprises a thermal energy storage system comprising a container and a heat exchange apparatus disposed within the container. The heat exchange apparatus comprises a tank, a manifold at least partially disposed within the tank, and a phase change material disposed within the tank and in thermal contact with the manifold."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150204618.pdf

Patent application: Insulated chamber with phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, July 24, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150204601 (applicant Caron Products and Services Inc., Ohio):

Patent application: Chamber with PCM"An insulated chamber having an interior chamber for storing items therein includes a phase change material to facilitate controlling the temperature of the interior chamber and the items. A heating device or cooling device may be used to melt or freeze the phase change material, which may be in various locations such as the walls of the chamber or packets which may serve as shelves and may be removable from the interior chamber with the items thereon. The packets may have recesses for receiving the items. The phase change material may be within capsules which may be within a liquid or a solid matrix. Controls may be provided to control humidity and carbon dioxide within the interior chamber."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150204601.pdf

Patent application: Preparation method of polymeric phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, July 24, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150203733 (applicant Tianjin Polytechnic University, China):

"The invention relates to a preparation method of a polymeric phase-change material, comprising: using 1, 2 or 3 of (meth)acrylate poly(ethylene glycol) n-alkyl ether ester as a raw material, wherein the (meth)acrylate poly(ethylene glycol) Patent application 20150203733n-alkyl ether ester has a structural general formula of CH2═C(CH3)—COO(CH2O)mCnH2+1 or CH2═CH—COO(CH2CH2O)mCnH2+1, m=1 to 100, and n=10 to 50; washing the raw material with a solution of sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate having a mass percentage of 1% to 10% to remove a polymerization inhibitor, and subjecting reduced-pressure distillation, and then to a polymerization reaction by adopting one of the following process; 1. polymerization reaction initiated by irradiation; 2. polymerization reaction initiated by an initiator; 3. polymerization reaction in a solvent; after the polymerization reaction is completed, adding a precipitating agent to precipitate the polymeric phase-change material from the solution, and then washing with deionized water and dried, to obtain a polymeric phase-change material as a powder to block."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150203733.pdf

Patent application: Thermostatic packaging and methods for their preparation and use

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150197679 (applicant Empire Technology Development LLC):

"Thermostatic packaging materials, and methods for making and using the materials are disclosed. The materials may include phase change materials that are covalently bound with the packaging material to avoid any leaching of liquefied phase change materials. The phase change materials may be copolymerized with hydrogels to provide an absorbent thermostatic material. ...

"Example 1 ... Thermostatic food packaging containers having a thermal buffering temperature of about 0° C. to about 4° C. will be produced. The containers will be made from styrene, in the form or styrene blocks of 50-200 styrene units, co-polymerized with lauryl acrylate, in the form of blocks of 50-200 lauryl acrylate units, and will have a styrene to lauryl acrylate ratio of about 1/9 to about 9/1. The copolymer will be press-molded into bowl-shaped containers. The containers will be fitted with lids of the same material to isolate and thermally insulate any contents placed therein." 

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150197679.pdf

Patent application: Tube-fin thermal storage evaporator

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150198386 (applicant Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp.):

U.S. patent application 20150198386"A tube and fin arrangement of an evaporator for an air conditioning system for a vehicle having a first row of tubes disposed within a flow of air having at least two refrigerant tubes and at least two thermal storage tubes in thermal communication with ... at least two refrigerant tubes, each of the thermal storage tubes containing a phase change material. The tube and fin arrangement further includes a [fin] in thermal communication with the first row of tubes and configured to receive a flow of air therethrough."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150198386.pdf

Patent application: Polyurethane gel particles for use in flexible foams

Ben Welter - Friday, July 17, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150197610 (applicant Peterson Chemical Technology Inc., Fort Smith, Ark.): 

"Combinations of open cell flexible foams with polyurethane gel particles, and methods of making the combinations are described using a variety of procedures. The open cell flexible foam may partially or wholly comprise polyurethane foam and latex foam. ...

[Claim 2] The composition of claim 1 where the polyurethane gel particles contain at least one phase change material with a solid/liquid phase transition temperature range of from about −10° F. to about 220° F. (about −23° C. to about 104° C.). "

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150197610.pdf

Patent application: Manufacturing a composite PCM for clothing

Ben Welter - Friday, July 17, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150197678 (assignee Honeywell International Inc.):

"Composite phase change materials, methods for manufacturing composite phase change materials, and articles of clothing including composite phase change materials for temperature regulation are provided. In one example, a composite phase change material includes a cross-linked polyethylene glycol matrix and a phase change material filler. Each of the cross-linked polyethylene glycol matrix and the phase change material filler has a phase change temperature of from about 10 to about 60° C. Further, the composite phase change material has a latent heat of enthalpy greater than about 50 kJ/kg."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150197678.pdf

Patent application: Phase change materials for refrigeration and ice making

Ben Welter - Friday, July 17, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150198359 (assignee Whirlpool Corp.): 

Image from Whirlpool patent application "A bottom mount refrigerator is provided including a thermal battery or phase change material positioned within the refrigerator or freezer in order to increase energy efficiency and compartment sizes of the refrigerator. The thermal battery can be used with an ice maker to aid in removing heat from the water in the ice maker to produce ice. Furthermore, the phase change material or thermal battery may be used with a thermoelectric cooler to aid in ice production.

"The phase change material may be tuned to various temperatures according to the desired use of the phase change material, as well as the location of the thermal battery or phase change material. Other embodiments include positioning the phase change material in the liner of the compartments or in thermal storage units in order to further increase the energy efficiency of the refrigerator."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150198359.pdf

Patent application: Phase change compressor cover

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 16, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150192334 (applicant Trane International Inc.): "A phase change compressor cover may include a first layer configured to provide sound attenuation from undesirable noise produced as a result of operating a compressor and/or thermal isolation of the compressor and a second layer comprising a cavity filled with a phase change material that is configured to absorb heat discharged as a result of operating the compressor and subsequently discharge the absorbed heat onto the compressor in response to discontinuing operation of the compressor to keep the compressor warm and prevent refrigerant migration to the compressor."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150192334.pdf