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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: 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

Patent application: Modular prosthetic sockets with PCM-enhanced struts

Ben Welter - Friday, July 10, 2015

LIM Innovations patent 20150190252U.S. patent application (Assignee LIM Innovations, San Francisco):

"The invention relates to a prosthetic socket for a residual limb of the lower extremity or upper extremity of an individual person. ... The prosthetic socket is an assembly of components from groups of components that include (a) struts arranged longitudinally with respect to the residual limb, (b) proximal brim members arranged proximally to the struts and connected thereto; and (c) distal socket members disposed at the distal base of the prosthetic socket. The socket components within these groups may be modular in that they can vary with respect to dimensions and/or contours, and yet have common connecting features that permit assembly of the components together to form the prosthetic socket. ... [A] strut may be adjustable by changes that occur in phase change materials incorporated in the strut."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150190252.pdf

IRENA introduces 'world's largest collection' of renewable energy standards, patents

Ben Welter - Monday, July 06, 2015

The International Renewable Energy Agency has launched what it calls "the world’s largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patents."

The International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy platform, also known as INSPIRE, allows users to search and analyze 400 international standards and more than 2 million patents for renewable energy technology.

IRENA collaborated with the European Patent Office and the International Electrotechnical Commission to develop the platform.

“The INSPIRE platform provides a strategic window into the innovation and growth taking place in the renewable energy sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin. “It consolidates vast collections of renewable energy patents and standards, which can foster collaboration between innovators, spur improvement through product comparison and help identify partners by matching domestic energy needs to innovative energy solutions.”

Patent application: Thermal energy storage system

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 25, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150176920: "A device including first and second heat accumulators, each including thermal energy storage containers. Each container includes an insulating enclosure containing earth crossed by at least one first line for the circulation of a first heat transfer fluid and at least one second line for the circulation of a second heat transfer fluid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150176920.pdf