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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: Thermal accumulator for a transport refrigeration system

Ben Welter - Friday, November 06, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150316310 (applicant Thermo King Corp., Minneapolis, Minn.):

"A thermal accumulator, a thermal accumulator module, and a method for controlling refrigeration in a transport refrigeration system (TRS) are described. The thermal accumulator module includes a plurality of thermal accumulators. Each of the plurality of thermal accumulators includes a fluid tight housing configured for attachment in an internal space of a refrigerated transport unit. The housing is configured to withstand a load applied when installing the thermal accumulator module in the internal space. An aluminum compatible phase change material is contained within the housing in a first state and configured to absorb thermal energy from the internal space of the refrigerated transport unit during transformation to a second state. One or more faces of the housing include a heat transfer enhancer."

Related applications:

Method and system for charging a transport refrigeration system

Multi-temperature transport refrigeration system

Transport refrigeration system with air temperature control

Integrated charging unit for passive refrigeration system

Patent application: Multi-phase mixed material therapy pack

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 29, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150272775 (applicants Eric Fayez Chebab, et al, Mountain View, Calif.):

"Thermal packs adapted for use in a muscle stimulation system, comprising an external housing with a first material therein and at least one phase change element therein. ... In preferable embodiments, the thermal packs also contain small packets or pods of a second material (which in this disclosure may be referred to as a phase change material). In preferable embodiments this phase change material will be a liquid at room temperature and have a freezing point warmer than that of the gel material used."

Patent application: Composition of microwavable phase change material

Ben Welter - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150274928 (inventors Samit Jain, Devendra Jain, Suman Kumari and Anil Kumar Mehta, India):

"The present invention provides a microwavable Phase Change Material and product thereof, particularly, the present invention relates to the field of microwave heating and use of microwave susceptor for providing heat to Phase Change Material. The invention provides a new process for preparing improved Phase Change Material which can be heated in a domestic microwave oven. The inventive composition comprises of a microwave susceptor which helps the Phase Change Material to melt within a few minutes depending upon the quantity of Phase Change Material taken. Microwave susceptor is at first uniformly mixed with some other material. The other material may be a highly conductive material, or a slow susceptor. Then this composite is incorporated in a Phase Change Material. This susceptor composite initiates uniform melting of Phase Change Material when exposed to microwave irradiation. This microwavable Phase Change Material is free of sparking, arcing and local overheating."

Patent application: Heat storage material composition, material and container

Ben Welter - Monday, October 26, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150299549 (applicants Kaneka Corp. and Tamaikasei Co. Ltd., Japan):

"A heat storage material composition having a melting temperature utilized for control of an optional management temperature, providing no variation in melting behavior and solidification behavior, and having a constant melting temperature. The heat storage material composition consists primarily of a mixture of a higher alkane having carbon number of 9 to 24 and a higher alcohol having carbon number of 6 to 20, and the mixture has a substantially single melting peak in DSC curve measured by a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC)."

Patent application: Energy storage control system and method

Ben Welter - Monday, October 26, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150298572 (applicant Johnson Controls Technology Co., Holland, Mich.):

"A system for providing power to a power network includes an energy storage device connected to the power network, a sensor connected with the energy storage device for measuring a state of the energy storage device during a rest period, which corresponds to a time span during which a current through the energy storage device is reduced to a level that enables an estimation of a state of the energy storage device. The system further includes a controller connected to the sensor for measuring a state of the energy storage device. The controller selectively establishes rest periods for the energy storage device. The rest periods are established by optimizing between minimization of disruption to normal operation and a need to update a measurement of the state of the energy storage device."

Patent application: Heat storage material composition and heat storage material

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150299548 (applicant Kitagawa Industries, Aichi, Japan):

"A heat storage material composition contains a styrene-ethylene-ethylene-propylene-styrene copolymer and a paraffin-based wax. The heat storage material composition preferably further contains a paraffin-based process oil that softens the styrene-ethylene-ethylene-propylene-styrene copolymer. Also, the heat storage material composition preferably contains not less than 300 parts by mass and not more than 1000 parts by mass of the wax with respect to 100 parts by mass of the styrene-ethylene-ethylene-propylene-styrene copolymer."

Patent application: Devices and methods for therapeutic heat treatment

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150297763 (applicant Boston Scientific, Maple Grove, Minn.):

"A microparticle includes a plurality of magnetic nanoparticles having a Curie temperature between 40° and 100° C. The microparticle further includes a biocompatible polymer and/or biocompatible ceramic and a plurality of radiopaque nanoparticles. ... In some embodiments, the inner portion is coated with a biodegradable phase change material, used in conjunction with a therapeutic drug and Curie nanoparticles, in order to trigger drug release at a specified temperature."

Patent application: Body support cushion having multiple layers of phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150296994  (applicant Tempur-Pedic Management, Lexington, Ky.:

Tempur-Pedic body cushion patent drawing"A body support cushion, e.g., mattress, has multiple foam layers, including a viscoelastic foam layer and a reticulated beat properties that provide two intervals of dermal cooling. ... a layered arrangement of foam comprised of at least one layer of viscoelastic foam having a density of at least 20 kg/m3 and no more than 150 kg/m3; phase change material [54 in drawing at right] in the layer of viscoelastic foam." 

Patent application: Low-cost process for manufacture of form-stable PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150299416 (applicant REG Synthetic Fuels, Ames, Iowa):

"The present technology generally relates to phase change material (PCM) pellets consisting essentially of a mixture of paraffin, a polymer, and optionally a thermal conductivity improver, a nucleating agent, an anti-oxidant, or a combination of any two or more thereof; wherein the paraffin is at least about 60 wt % of the PCM pellet; and the polymer is uncrosslinked high density polyethylene (HDPE) that has a melt flow index between about 0.1 g/10 min and about 50 g/10 min."

Patent application: Refrigerated display case with temperature-controlled shelves and PCMs

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

Refrigeration case patent drawingU.S. patent application 20150297000 (applicant Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, Richardson, Texas):

"The present application provides a refrigerated display case. The refrigerated display case may include a refrigeration component, an air plenum in communication with the refrigeration component, a shelf in communication with the air plenum, a phase change material tank positioned about the shelf, and a phase change material positioned within the phase change material tank such that a substantially uniform temperature is maintain across the shelf. ... 

"Suitable phase change materials may be provided by Entropy Solutions, Inc. of Plymouth, Minn. under the “PURE TEMP” mark, RG Energy Efficient Systems, LLC, of Ashville, N.C. under the “savEnrg” mark, Microtek Laboratories, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, Rubitherm Technologies GmbH of Berlin, Germany, and other sources."