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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: Method for low-temperature microencapsulation of phase change material

Ben Welter - Sunday, August 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180223146 (inventors Mohammed Farid, Auckland, New Zealand, and Refat Al Shannaq, Shaheen Al-muhtaseb and Jamal Kurdi, Doha, Qatar):

Farid patent image"The method for low temperature microencapsulation of phase change materials or other components includes the following steps: (a) preparing a phase change emulsion including droplets of at least one active phase-change material in water with a surfactant; (b) adding a monomer of at least one encapsulating agent; (c) introducing the phase change emulsion into a UV reactor while stirring the emulsion; and (d) initiating the photo polymerization of monomers using at least one UV lamp inside the UV reactor for photo polymerization until the phase change material is encapsulated within a polymeric shell to form microcapsules. The microcapsules obtained by this process may have a diameter between about 0.5 to about 2 μm. Other sizes can also be obtained by changing stirring speed of the emulsion."

Patent application: Fuel cell freeze protection device and system

Ben Welter - Monday, August 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180219237 (applicant Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich.)

"A fuel cell system including a fuel cell stack, a coolant loop and a thermal battery. The coolant loop is configured to flow a coolant liquid therethrough. The thermal battery includes a phase change material configured to absorb heat generated by the fuel cell stack or coolant liquid and to latently store the heat during a first mode of operation the fuel cell system."


Vehicle occupant cooling system (applicant Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Erlanger, Kentucky)

Patent application: Method and system for phase change material component cooling

Ben Welter - Monday, August 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180216894 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.)

"A transient cooling system includes a first phase change material (PCM) element and a second PCM element. The first PCM element includes a first PCM, a first surface, and a second surface, the first surface complementary to a surface to be cooled. The second PCM element includes a second PCM and a third surface in thermal contact with the second surface. The first PCM and the second PCM may have different thermal characteristics."

Patent application: Device for controlling temperature of low-temperature pump

Ben Welter - Monday, August 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180216610 (applicant Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Daejeon, South Korea): 

"A cryopump comprising: a displacer configured to adjust an outside temperature by compressing or expanding a refrigerant included in the cryopump; a thermal conductor configured to transfer an external heat of the cryopump to the refrigerant; and a thermal conductive buffer configured to absorb the external heat transferred to the refrigerant and use the absorbed external heat as a phase change energy when the displacer is turned off."

Patent application: Insulated chamber with PCM and door with controllable transparency

Ben Welter - Monday, August 06, 2018

Caron patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180216833 (applicant Caron Products and Services Inc., Marietta, Ga.):

"A hinged door for gaining access to a chamber interior region for receiving a storage item therein. The hinged door comprising a frame, a transparent material pane within the frame, a smart glass material disposed proximate the material pane and controllable between a transparent and opaque condition responsive to an electric current supplied to the smart glass material, a phase change material [72G] within the frame, and a temperature controlling device proximate the phase change material."

Patent application: Devices for controlling conditions and delivery of substances

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180207368 (inventor Ron Nagar, Tel Aviv, Israel)

"Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to devices, systems, and methods for controlling environmental conditions for a volume of material. In some embodiments, a handheld, portable environmental control sleeve (ECS) is disclosed which is configured for controlling at least one environmental condition of a drug contained within a drug delivery or storage device (DDSD). The ECS includes an environmental control mechanism (ECM), thermal insulation material, at least one of a power source, a processor, at least one electrical contact, at least one indicator, at least one switch, at least one environmental condition sensor, a wireless transceiver, a phase change material and at least one heat dissipater."

Patent application: Cooling system and method

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180209716 (applicant PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, N.Y.):

"A cooling system having a cooling chamber including a surface defining one or more openings. A surface is configured to hold at least one container. An access door provides access to the cooling chamber. A refrigeration system is configured to cool the cooling chamber by forcing cool airflow through the one or more openings in the surface. The airflow through each of the one or more openings may be similar. ... In some embodiments of the cooling system 100, portions of the cooling chamber 200 can include a phase change material."

Patent application: Non-invasive brain temperature-regulating devices for enhancing sleep

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sleep aid patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180200476 (inventors Robert E. Tucker, Sanibel, Fla., and Jeffrey J. Schirm, Monroeville, Penn.): 

"Methods, systems and devices for enhancing sleep, including enhancing the quality of sleep, reducing sleep onset time, increasing total sleep time, treating insomnia, and/or treating other neurological disorders by non-invasive temperature regulation of the frontal cortex prior to and/or during sleep. Described herein are thermal applicators that include phase change materials and/or evaporative cooling, as well as headgear for securing the applicators comfortably against the appropriate region of the user's head."

Patent application: Thermally insulated packaging for shipping liquid in bottles

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180202700 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas):

"A thermally insulated structure for shipping goods, comprising: an insulated box comprising a goods receptacle and a phase change material module receptacle; a phase change material module; and a set of vacuum panels configured to form an encapsulating layer around the insulated box."