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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: Shaped covering blanket with pocket

Ben Welter - Friday, August 12, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160227947 (inventor Elizabeth Lynne Crouch, Sheridan, Ore.):

"A covering blanket, comprised of a fabric material, and having a tapered shape such that a width at a top of the covering blanket is greater than a width at a bottom of the covering blanket. The covering blanket includes a pocket disposed at the bottom thereof for providing an extra layer of covering for the feet of a user. The covering blanket optionally includes a means for thermal regulation for keeping the feet of a user warm when kept within the pocket. ... One suitable phase change material capable of use as the thermal regulation means is the BioPCM phase change material available from Phase Change Energy Solutions, Inc. of Asheboro, N.C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160227947.pdf

Patent application: Flexible blood transport pouch

Ben Welter - Friday, August 12, 2016

Patent drawing of blood transport pouchU.S. patent application 20160229622 (inventor Raymond Booska, Melbourne, Fla.):

"A flexible life sciences materials transport pouch having a phase change material contained therein. The pouch includes an interior compartment adapted to hold the contents at a predetermined temperature range. The pouch includes at least two side walls joined together at a seam and further including a lower gusset allowing the pouch to stand upright. The pouch further contains at least one secondary interior compartment adapted to hold a quantity of phase change material. The phase change material may contained within its own container, such as a separate pouch."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160229622.pdf

Nanoencapsulated PCM for ceiling tiles, wallboard is 'first of its kind in Malaysia'

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 11, 2016

Researchers at the Universiti Putra Malaysia report the development of a new method of nanoencapsulating phase change material. They say the PCM has proved its effectiveness in the lab and is ready to be put to the test in ceiling tiles and wallboard designed to lower room temperatures and reduce the use of air conditioning. 

The nanoencapsulation method, known as miniemulsion in-situ polymerization, is covered by a Malaysian patent application filed in 2015.

Nanoencapsulated PCM for ceiling tiles, wallboard“This NPCM method is the first of its kind in Malaysia that can absorb, store and release thermal heat when the surrounding temperature where the material is located is above or below melting temperature," Dr. Mohd Zobir Hussein said at the university's annual technology innovation day in July. “These properties allow the phase change material to store the thermal energy when it melts and release the energy when it solidifies.”

The research is detailed in several papers published in the past three years, including "Laboratory-Scale Studies on Smart Gypsum Composite Boards Incorporated with Nano-Encapsulated Organic Phase Change Material for Thermal Comfort Building Application" (Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, March 2016):

"Composite boards were prepared by mixing 1–30% by weight nano-encapsulated n-octadecane phase change material (PCM) with gypsum to develop gypsum-based building materials with thermal energy storage (TES) capability. The nanocapsules were prepared by encapsulating n-octadecane in nano-sized styrene-methyl–methacrylate copolymer shells using one-step mini-emulsion in situ polymerization. A thermal performance testing device was designed to evaluate the heat storage effect of the resulting gypsum composite. The results indicated that composite boards containing n-octadecane nanocapsules effectively decreased the temperature peak of the experimental test room compared with gypsum board without n-octadecane nanocapsules."

Related research includes:

Advanced energy storage materials for building applications and their thermal performance characterization: A review (Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, May 2016)

Shape-stabilised n-octadecane/activated carbon nanocomposite phase change material for thermal energy storage (Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers, October 2015)

Nano-encapsulated n-nonadecane using vinyl copolymer shell for thermal energy storage medium (Macromolecular Research, July 2015)

Nano-encapsulated organic phase change material based on copolymer nanocomposites for thermal energy storage (Energy, March 2014)

Zobir, head of the research team, said in an e-mail interview: "We are looking for a company or manufacturers to commercialize the product, especially for up-scaling the process and subsequently use the product for wallboard or ceiling tiles."

Patent application: Greenhouse roofing having temperature-dependent radiation transparency

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160219796 (applicant Tropotherm SL, Retamar, Spain):

Greenhouse patent application drawing"In plant cultivation, it is common in many cases to grow certain crops under film covers, in greenhouses, or under other roofings. Depending on the climate zone and crop, this can be used for example to supply heat by retaining the sunlight or by means of additional heating. The invention relates to a plant cultivation roofing made of film material or plate material having temperature-dependent radiation transparency, wherein a plastic layer in or on a plate or at least one film layer having temperature-dependent radiation transparency provides a gradual or a two-step or multi-step transparency reduction for rising temperatures in a temperature range from 20° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160219796.pdf

Patent application: Thermoelectric generation apparatus with phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160225974 (applicant Hyundai Motor Co., Seoul, South Korea):

"A thermoelectric generation apparatus includes a heat absorbing surface configured to absorb heat from an internal combustion engine, a heat generating surface bonded to the heat absorbing surface by a semiconductor and configured to discharge the heat to the outside, and a conductive converting part interposed between the heat absorbing surface and the internal combustion engine. The conductive converting part is configured to allow the heat to be conducted from the internal combustion engine to the heat absorbing surface when a temperature of the internal combustion engine is equal to or greater than a specific value."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160225974.pdf

Patent application: Battery pack with phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

Milwaukee Tool battery pack drawingU.S. patent application 20160226290 (applicant Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Milwaukee, Wis.):

"The electrical combination comprises a battery pack configured to be interfaced with a hand held power tool, a control component, and a semiconducting switch. The transfer of power from the battery pack to the hand held power tool is controlled by the control component and the switch based on one of a battery pack state of charge and a respective state of charge of one of a plurality of battery cells."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160226290.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management of electrochemical device

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160226114 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

"This disclosure provides casings and materials for the thermal management and protection of an electrochemical cell. The casing may also comprise a composite polymeric material for electrochemical cell thermal management, the composite polymeric material comprising a crosslinked polyether polyol phase change material configured to be in physical contact with at least a portion of an electrochemical cell."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160226114.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management films containing PCMs

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160223269 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

Thermal film patent application drawing"A method is provided for manufacturing a polymeric film with thermal management capabilities. The method comprises mixing at least three compounds, wherein a first compound comprises a polymeric phase change material, a second compound comprises an additive, and a third compound comprises a molecule that, in its liquid form, acts as a solvent of the first and second compounds, and which is curable into a solid form as a polymer. Then, the method comprises applying a mixture of the first, second, and third compounds in a liquid form to a substrate, and curing the mixture into a solid state."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160223269.pdf

Patent application: Food/beverage container with thermal control

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 28, 2016

Patent drawing of beverage container with thermal controlU.S. patent application 20160215194 (applicant Trent University, Canada):

"A container for a food and/or beverages is provided. The container is designed such that it may have the capability of absorbing excess thermal energy from the food or beverage, thereby cooling the consumable material to a desired temperature and maintaining the material at the desired temperature for a considerable period of time. The container typically includes an outer insulating shell; an inner heat conducting liner and a phase change material (PCM). To facilitate heat transfer to and from a food or beverage stored in the container, the PCM is commonly disposed between the outer insulating shell and the inner heat conducting liner and positioned in thermal contact with the inner heat conducting liner. The PCM may include a diol diester having a melting point of about 30 to 90° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160215194.pdf

Patent application: Charge air cooler and associated charge air circuit

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 28, 2016

Valeo patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160216037 (applicant Valeo Systemes Thermiques, France):

"The present invention relates to a charge air cooler (7) intended to be placed upstream from the combustion cylinder, said charge air coming from at least one turbocharger and intended to be supplied to the combustion cylinders of an internal combustion engine, said charge air cooler comprising one inlet container (70) for charge air, one outlet container for charge air and heat-exchange surfaces (72) between the charge air and a second heat-transfer fluid, at least the inlet container and/or the outlet container for charge air comprising a phase change material (15)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160216037.pdf