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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: Microencapsulated PCM in gypsum plate capable of flame retardation and temperature variation attenuation

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 19, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150329783 (National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Taiwan):

"A method of manufacturing a microencapsulated phase-change material-containing gypsum plate capable of flame retardation and temperature variation attenuation is introduced, such that an organic microencapsulated phase-change material is uniformly distributed in an inorganic gypsum plate. The method involves putting a microencapsulated phase-change material in a dispersing agent solution, blending the dispersing agent solution to form a first solution, putting the foaming agent in the first solution, putting gypsum powder and starch in the first solution, blending the first solution to form a microencapsulated phase-change material gypsum mixture solution, molding the microencapsulated phase-change material gypsum mixture solution to finalize the manufacturing of a microencapsulated phase-change material-containing gypsum plate capable of flame retardation and temperature variation attenuation. Due to the microencapsulated phase-change material, dispersing agent, and foaming agent, gas generated from the microencapsulated phase-change material heated at high temperature is quickly discharged from the gypsum plate without destructing original structure thereof."

U.S. patent: Thermal receptacle with phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, November 13, 2015

U.S. patent 9,181,015U.S. patent 9181015 (applicant Raymond Booska, West Melbourne, Fla.):

"A liquid receptacle has an inner vessel for holding a liquid, an insulated outer shell spaced from the Miler vessel, and a chamber defined between the inner vessel and the outer shell. A phase change material is disposed in the chamber for absorbing thermal energy from the liquid and then releasing the thermal energy back to the liquid to maintain the temperature of the liquid. ... The present invention relates generally to liquid receptacles, containers, and accessories for such receptacles that rapidly cool a hot liquid to a warm range and then maintain the liquid in the warm range for an extended period." ...

IP 101: Patent attorneys offer tips on how to protect your intellectual property rights

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Writing in Advanced Textiles Source, two patent attorneys offer a few basic tips on intellectual property rights. Mareesa Frederick and Mark Sweet of Finnegan LLP in Washington, D.C., note that a well-kept trade secret can offer far more protection than a patent:

"That protection, however, is not without risk as a savvy competitor could potentially reverse engineer and copy the trade secret. The scientist would then be left with no legal recourse. Whether or not to assume that risk depends on a number of factors: the ease of reverse engineering, the accessibility of the trade secret (is it part of the manufacturing process or apparent from the product itself), the likelihood of obtaining a patent, and the usefulness of the product after the patent has expired. The inquiry is highly fact-specific and one best addressed with an attorney."

Patent application: System for controlling air flow rate into vehicle engine compartment

Ben Welter - Friday, November 06, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150315955 (applicant Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea):

"A system for controlling a flow rate of air into a vehicle engine compartment may include a radiator cooling coolant, a coolant inflow tank provided to one side of the radiator and temporarily storing coolant that cools an engine, a coolant exhaust tank provided to the other side of the radiator and temporarily storing coolant circulating past a cooling fin of the radiator from the coolant inflow tank, Phase Change Material (PCM) tanks provided to an exterior side of the coolant inflow tank and coolant exhaust tank and storing a phase change material heat-exchanging with the coolant stored in the coolant inflow tank and the coolant exhaust tank and a conversion device converting a phase of the phase change material."

Patent application: Passive temperature modulation systems employing solid PCMs

Ben Welter - Friday, November 06, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150316327 (applicant Battelle Memorial Institute, Richland, Wash.):

"A heating or cooling system based on solid materials capable of absorbing or releasing heat during a phase change is provided. The system comprises solid members that absorb or release heat during a phase change, locking members to mechanically lock in a desired phase, and a heat exchange medium."

Patent application: Thermal accumulator for a transport refrigeration system

Ben Welter - Friday, November 06, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150316310 (applicant Thermo King Corp., Minneapolis, Minn.):

"A thermal accumulator, a thermal accumulator module, and a method for controlling refrigeration in a transport refrigeration system (TRS) are described. The thermal accumulator module includes a plurality of thermal accumulators. Each of the plurality of thermal accumulators includes a fluid tight housing configured for attachment in an internal space of a refrigerated transport unit. The housing is configured to withstand a load applied when installing the thermal accumulator module in the internal space. An aluminum compatible phase change material is contained within the housing in a first state and configured to absorb thermal energy from the internal space of the refrigerated transport unit during transformation to a second state. One or more faces of the housing include a heat transfer enhancer."

Related applications:

Method and system for charging a transport refrigeration system

Multi-temperature transport refrigeration system

Transport refrigeration system with air temperature control

Integrated charging unit for passive refrigeration system

Patent application: Multi-phase mixed material therapy pack

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 29, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150272775 (applicants Eric Fayez Chebab, et al, Mountain View, Calif.):

"Thermal packs adapted for use in a muscle stimulation system, comprising an external housing with a first material therein and at least one phase change element therein. ... In preferable embodiments, the thermal packs also contain small packets or pods of a second material (which in this disclosure may be referred to as a phase change material). In preferable embodiments this phase change material will be a liquid at room temperature and have a freezing point warmer than that of the gel material used."

Patent application: Composition of microwavable phase change material

Ben Welter - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150274928 (inventors Samit Jain, Devendra Jain, Suman Kumari and Anil Kumar Mehta, India):

"The present invention provides a microwavable Phase Change Material and product thereof, particularly, the present invention relates to the field of microwave heating and use of microwave susceptor for providing heat to Phase Change Material. The invention provides a new process for preparing improved Phase Change Material which can be heated in a domestic microwave oven. The inventive composition comprises of a microwave susceptor which helps the Phase Change Material to melt within a few minutes depending upon the quantity of Phase Change Material taken. Microwave susceptor is at first uniformly mixed with some other material. The other material may be a highly conductive material, or a slow susceptor. Then this composite is incorporated in a Phase Change Material. This susceptor composite initiates uniform melting of Phase Change Material when exposed to microwave irradiation. This microwavable Phase Change Material is free of sparking, arcing and local overheating."

Patent application: Heat storage material composition, material and container

Ben Welter - Monday, October 26, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150299549 (applicants Kaneka Corp. and Tamaikasei Co. Ltd., Japan):

"A heat storage material composition having a melting temperature utilized for control of an optional management temperature, providing no variation in melting behavior and solidification behavior, and having a constant melting temperature. The heat storage material composition consists primarily of a mixture of a higher alkane having carbon number of 9 to 24 and a higher alcohol having carbon number of 6 to 20, and the mixture has a substantially single melting peak in DSC curve measured by a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC)."

Patent application: Energy storage control system and method

Ben Welter - Monday, October 26, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150298572 (applicant Johnson Controls Technology Co., Holland, Mich.):

"A system for providing power to a power network includes an energy storage device connected to the power network, a sensor connected with the energy storage device for measuring a state of the energy storage device during a rest period, which corresponds to a time span during which a current through the energy storage device is reduced to a level that enables an estimation of a state of the energy storage device. The system further includes a controller connected to the sensor for measuring a state of the energy storage device. The controller selectively establishes rest periods for the energy storage device. The rest periods are established by optimizing between minimization of disruption to normal operation and a need to update a measurement of the state of the energy storage device."