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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: Electronic device with protective shield containing PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180124945 (applicants French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and Airbus Operations SAS, France):

"An electronic device includes an electronic component and a protective shield including a phase change material having a phase change temperature of between 20 degrees C. and 90 degrees C., an antivibration gel having hyperelastic and/or viscoelastic behavior at 20 degrees C., and a separation barrier positioned so as to separate the phase change material and the antivibration gel. The antivibration gel is positioned, at least partly, in contact with the electronic component, and has a thermal conductivity of greater than 1 W/mK at 20 degrees C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180124945.pdf

Patent application: Mobile comfort units with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180120873 (applicant University of Maryland, College Park, Md.):

"Despite otherwise uncomfortable conditions in a surrounding environment, a customizable microenvironment can be created around a user to maintain a comfortable temperature and/or humidity level using a [mobile] comfort unit [100]. For example, the environment may be an office building where conditions are out of the comfortable range to save on energy or for other reasons, a factory/shop environment that is poorly conditioned, or an outdoor location with little to no conditioning. A sensing unit  can monitor biometric and environmental data and can determine a comfort level of the user [300]. The comfort unit can then dynamically respond to the determined comfort level and adjust the microenvironment to improve the user's comfort level. The comfort unit can follow the user as the user moves within the macro-environment, or can otherwise move within the macro-environment to achieve certain functions, such as recharging or spatial shifting of thermal load within the overall macro-environment. ... [The system uses] a phase change material (PCM) that stores heat by changing phase."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180120873.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management system for fuel cell vehicle

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 01, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180114998 (applicant Hyundai Motor Co., Seoul, South Korea):

"A thermal management system for a fuel cell vehicle includes a first line including a coolant pump and a fuel cell stack, a second line including a coolant heater and a phase change material (PCM) and connected to the first line to form a first loop in which the coolant pump, the stack, the coolant heater, and the PCM are arranged, a third line including a radiator and connected to the first line to form a second loop in which the coolant pump, the stack, and the radiator are arranged, and an opening and closing valve opening and closing each of the first line, the second line, and the third line to allow the coolant to circulate in at least one of the first loop and the second loop, wherein the PCM is configured to be heat-exchanged with the coolant heater and the coolant."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180114998.pdf

Patent application: Compositions comprising latent heat storage materials

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 01, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180112114 (applicant Phase Change Energy Solutions, Asheboro, N.C.):

"In one aspect, compositions are described herein. In some embodiments, a composition comprises a latent heat storage material having a solid-to-gel transition between about 50° C. and about 100° C. at 1 atm. In some embodiments, a composition comprises a foam and a latent heat storage material dispersed in the foam, the latent heat storage material having a solid-to-gel transition between about −50° C. and about 100° C. at 1 atm."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180112114.pdf

Patent application: Articles of footwear with cooling features

Ben Welter - Monday, April 23, 2018

Under Armour patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180103714 (applicant Under Armour, Baltimore, Md.):

"The present invention is directed toward an article of footwear effective to regulate the temperature of the feet of a wearer. In an embodiment, the article of footwear includes an upper and an insole with a thermal effect membrane. The thermal effect membrane contains a plurality of system-reactive components selectively engaged heat and/or moisture. In an embodiment, the printed coating includes a cooling agent, a phase change material, and a heat dissipation material. The bottom of the sole structure of the article of footwear further includes a multiple openings in the forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot regions. The multiple openings promote airflow into the interior of the upper. In operation, the article of footwear is effective to delay/diminish the rise in skin temperature (compared to footwear lacking the membrane and/or openings), increasing wearer comfort."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180103714.pdf

Patent application: Acoustical devices employing phase change materials

Ben Welter - Monday, April 23, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180109858 (applicant Bose Corp., Framingham, Mass):

"An acoustical device comprising: a headphone having a cushion comprising: an outer layer configured to contact a headphone user; two or more phase change materials with an ability to change from solid phase to liquid phase or from one solid phase to a different solid phase at a predetermined phase-change temperature, wherein each phase change material has a different predetermined phase-change temperature; and padding; wherein the phase change materials are between the outer layer and the padding."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180109858.pdf

Related: Earpiece employing cooling and sensation inducing materials (Bose Corp.)

Patent application: Tube with a reservoir of PCM for a heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Monday, April 23, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180106555 (applicant Valeo Systemes Thermiques, Le Mesnil Saint-Denis, France):

Valeo patent drawing"A tube with a reservoir of phase-change material [1] for a heat exchange bundle of a heat exchanger, said tube with a reservoir of phase-change material comprising: two flow plates [3] configured to be assembled with one another in a sealed manner and to form at least one conduit in which a first heat transfer fluid flows; at least one reservoir plate, said reservoir plate being configured to be assembled in a sealed manner onto an external face of one of the two flow plates so as to form housings for the phase-change material; and a filling duct for the phase-change material, one end of said filling duct opening into one of the edges of said tube with a reservoir of phase-change material, said filling duct being formed by a filling spout of the reservoir plate towards the outside and by the external face of one of the two flow plates, said filling duct further comprising a plug, said filling duct and said plug being contained within a volume of width smaller than or equal to the width of the tube with a reservoir of phase-change material and of height less than or equal to the height of the housings of the phase-change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180106555.pdf

Patent application: Aerogel composites having thermal storage capacity

Ben Welter - Monday, April 16, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180079944 (applicant Aspen Aerogels Inc., Northborough, Mass.):

"The present disclosure can provide aerogel compositions which have a thermal storage capacity, and which are durable and easy to handle. The present disclosure can provide aerogel compositions which include PCM coatings, particle mixtures, or PCM materials confined within the porous network of an aerogel composition. The present disclosure can provide methods for producing aerogel compositions by coating an aerogel composition with PCM materials, by forming particle mixtures with PCM materials, or by confining PCM materials within the porous network of an aerogel composition."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180079944.pdf

Patent application: Method and apparatus for maintaining a minimum temperature in a fluid

Ben Welter - Monday, April 16, 2018

Subsea device patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180080722 (applicant GE Oil & Gas UK Ltd., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Great Britain):

"Apparatus and method for maintaining temperature in a sub-sea device, in particular in relation to fluid in the device. A material having a high latent heat on phase change [303] is used to release latent heat to the fluid when the fluid temperature decreases towards a threshold value. ... The use of a phase change material in accordance with the present invention is also advantageous with other types of sub-sea pipe (such as rigid pipe), apparatus and installations where a degree of temperature control is desirable."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180080722.pdf

Patent application: Thermal energy storage pallet

Ben Welter - Monday, April 16, 2018

Viking Cold Solutions patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180099778 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas):

"A pallet for shipping goods, the pallet having a rigid member, a phase change material, and a temperature indicate. The rigid member includes a phase change material compartment. A phase change material is disposed in the phase change material compartment. The temperature indicator indicates a thermal state of the pallet."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180099778.pdf