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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: Apparatus for the storage, transport and distribution of refrigerated or frozen goods

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 21, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160109186 (applicant Thermo King Corp., Bloomington, Minn.):

"An apparatus for the storage, transport and distribution of refrigerated or frozen goods, in particular for thermally insulated containers of refrigerated vehicles, cold rooms and the like, including one or more thermal storage devices, each including a housing defining a cavity for holding a phase change material. The cavity contains a heat exchanger that may be supplied with a heat exchange fluid. The housing includes a substantially flat wall portion and a heat transfer enhanced wall portion. The apparatus includes ventilator in communication with the thermal storage device."

Patent application: Pressure vessel with PCM and method of use

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 21, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160109065 (assignee Steelhead Composites LLC, Golden, Colo.):

"The present invention provides a metal-lined composite gas storage device comprising a phase-change material coated on the exterior surface of a metallic liner. The presence of the phase-change material on the exterior surface of the metal liner reduces the temperature change within the interior of the metal liner during a gas filling process compared to a similar vessel that does not have a phase-change material coating, thereby allowing a significantly greater amount of gas to be filled at a given pressure."

Patent application: Improved phase change compositions

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 14, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160102232 (applicant Sunamp Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland):

"There are herein described phase change materials containing sodium acetate trihydrate having improved homogeneity, a process for the preparation of said materials, and their utility in phase change systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to the use of phase change compositions comprising sodium acetate trihydrate, at least one alkali soluble polymer for inhibition of sodium acetate anhydrous crystal formation in sodium acetate trihydrate containing phase change materials, and at least one sodium acetate trihydrate nucleation promoter, and, if a lower phase change temperature is required, at least one melting point depressing agent."

Patent application: Microencapsulation process for PCMs and other materials

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 31, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160088838 (applicant Imerys Minerals Ltd., Great Britain):

"A process for making microcapsules may include i) forming a solution of a cross-linker in a liquid; ii) forming a slurry of a surface-modified particulate inorganic material in an aqueous medium; and iii) dispersing the solution of step i) in the slurry of step ii) and causing or allowing the cross-linker to react with the surface-modified particulate inorganic material so as to form a cross-linked microcapsule wall. ... A wide range of active materials (active ingredients) may be encapsulated including inks, flavours, cosmetics, perfumes, sunscreens, fragrances, adhesives, sealants, phase change materials, biocides, oilfield chemicals (including corrosion and scale inhibitors), flame retardants, food additives (including vitamins, ingredients, probiotics and antioxidants) ..."

Patent application: Thermoelectric ice maker with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Patent drawing of thermoelectric icemaker

U.S. patent application 20160084558 (applicant Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.):

"An ice maker has a mold with a first piece and a second piece. A cavity within the mold includes a first reservoir in the first piece and a second reservoir in the second piece that align to substantially enclose the cavity. A fluid intake aperture in the first piece extends to the cavity for injecting water therein. A thermoelectric device has a cold side thermally coupled to the exterior surface of the second piece. The thermoelectric device transfers heat from the cold side to a hot side to provide a first temperature to the mold. A removable cooling source is thermally coupled to the hot side of the thermoelectric device. The cooling source is configured to reduce the temperature of the hot side to allow the cold side to provide a second temperature that is cooler than the first temperature to freeze the water in the cavity. ... The object of the present invention is achieved by the use of a phase change material for the production of a sterile state indication means, a sterile state indication means and a sterilization container as described herein."

Patent application: Regenerative vehicle A/C system with PCMs

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 24, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160047562 (applicant Matthew Bartlett, Northville, Mich.):

"A regenerative air conditioning system for a vehicle includes a condenser, a compressor, an evaporator subsystem, an expansion valve, and a solenoid controlled expansion valve arranged and coupled together in a direct expansion cooling circuit. The evaporator subsystem has a main evaporator and a storage evaporator. The storage evaporator has a phase change material therein surrounding refrigerant passages in the storage evaporator. The storage evaporator in a charge state when the vehicle is decelerating wherein refrigerant flows through the storage evaporator to cool the phase change material to cause it to change phases to store thermal cooling potential. The storage evaporator in a discharge state when the vehicle is stopped and an engine of the vehicle is off to cool cabin cooling air flowing across the storage evaporator by the phase change material absorbing heat from the cabin cooling air flowing across the storage evaporator."

Patent application: Phase change device for use within a volume of fluid

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Patent application drawingU.S. patent application 20160047362 (applicant Ideal Innovations Inc., Arlington, Va.):

"A phase-change device for use in a volume of fluid, comprising a pressure vessel; a displacement cylinder; a displacement piston; a drive cylinder containing a phase-change material; a drive piston; and a gas spring. As the device sinks and experiences cooler fluid temperatures, the phase change material reduces in volume, causing the drive cylinder to move relative to the drive piston and thereby exert an outward force on the displacement piston. The displacement piston is pulled away from the displacement cylinder, increasing the overall displacement of the device. The increase in displacement increases the buoyancy of the device, thereby causing the device to rise in the fluid."

Patent application: Life cradle device for inducing neonatal hypothermia

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160051403 (applicant Pluss Advanced Technologies, Gurgaon, India):

Pluss patent application drawing"The present invention relates to a life cradle device for the purpose of inducing therapeutic hypothermia in neonates suffering from birth asphyxia. The device essentially consists of a rigid outer skeleton which could be fitted with removable mattresses containing form stable organic phase change materials effecting instant and sustained cooling. Multiple compartments of different phase change material composition functional at different temperatures are arranged in layers to replicate cooling performances as in conventional cascading systems. The device is also designed to have thermo-chromic indicators with an option of probes for automation control techniques. The device may also be fitted with thermostat controlled infant radiant warmer to automatically switch on when the infant is cooled down below requirement as a safety consideration."

Patent application: Modular air conditioning system for vehicles

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160075208 (applicant Hanon Systems, Daejeon, South Korea):

"A thermal energy storage system of a vehicle is disclosed. The thermal energy storage system includes a refrigerant circuit conveying a refrigerant therethrough. The refrigerant circuit includes an evaporator receives a flow of the refrigerant and a flow of air. The thermal energy storage system also includes a coolant circuit conveying a coolant therethrough. The coolant circuit includes a coolant heat exchanger disposed downstream from the evaporator with respect to a direction of the flow of air through the evaporator and an auxiliary heat exchanger receiving a flow of the coolant. ... The thermal storage systems may employ a phase change material (PCM) that absorbs heat when the fuel-powered engine is not operating. When the fuel-powered engine is operating, thermal energy is removed from the PCM and the phase change material is charged. "

Patent application: Foam composition containing encapsulated organic PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 17, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160075929 (assignee BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany):

"A foam composition comprising a cellulose foam matrix and particles of encapsulated organic phase change material which are distributed within the cellulose foam matrix. The invention also relates to a method for making the foam composition and also theft use in thermal storage applications, such as air-conditioning units."