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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: Method for preconditioning latent heat storage elements

Ben Welter - Sunday, October 18, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150292787 (applicant va-Q-tec AG, Wurzburg, Germany):

"A method is for preconditioning at least one latent heat storage element, which is arranged in a thermally insulated, closed container having a space for accommodating goods to be transported. The latent heat storage element has a target temperature preferably slightly in excess of 0 DEG C. In such an arrangement, it is particularly practical for the accommodation space in the container to be filled with a certain amount of a coolant, particularly ice, and for the container to be closed, and therefore the latent heat storage element located in the container is cooled to the target temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150292787.pdf

Patent application: Refrigeration system with phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, October 16, 2015

Drawing from Carrier patent applicationU.S. patent application 20150292775 (applicant Carrier Corp., Farmington, Conn.):

"A refrigerant system includes a vapor/compression refrigerant circulation loop comprising a compressor, a refrigerant side of a heat exchanger condenser, an expansion device, and a refrigerant side of a heat exchanger evaporator, connected by conduit in a closed circulation loop having refrigerant disposed therein. The refrigerant system also includes a flow path for a conditioned fluid across a conditioned fluid side of the heat exchanger evaporator and/or a conditioned fluid side of the heat exchanger condenser. During operation, this flow path can provide thermal communication between the refrigerant and the conditioned fluid. The refrigerant system also includes a phase change material (220 in illustration), a thermal flow path between the fluid and the PCM, which provides thermal communication between the fluid and the PCM, and a thermal flow path between the refrigerant and the PCM, which provides thermal communication between the refrigerant and the PCM.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150292775.pdf

Patent application: Encapsulation of thermal energy storage media

Ben Welter - Friday, October 09, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150284616 (applicant University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.):

Patent PCM capsule drawing"In one embodiment, a phase change material is encapsulated by forming a phase change material pellet, coating the pellet with flexible material, heating the coated pellet to melt the phase change material, wherein the phase change materials expands and air within the pellet diffuses out through the flexible material, and cooling the coated pellet to solidify the phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150284616.pdf

Patent application: Core of a capsule comprising phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, October 09, 2015

Patent application 20150285565 detailU.S. patent application 2015028556 (applicant Flamco BV, Netherlands):

"The present invention relates to a core of a capsule, capsules having the cores comprising phase changing material (PCM) to be processed to be form retaining in particular during subsequent steps of applying a skin to form the capsule, as well as an assembly of a plurality of such capsules, use thereof in a buffer, and a production method for manufacturing such capsules or assemblies, for instance in strings. ...

"The invention is based on the insight that the buffers in heating systems or heat exchange systems, like central heating systems, are usually filled with heat exchange fluids, like water. However, water and other usual heat exchange fluids have a limited heat capacity. According to the inventors of the present invention, it has been reported that phase change materials could be employed to enhance the heat capacity of a buffer, but to date no viable embodiment has been encountered."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150285565.pdf

Patent application: System for reversibly storing electrical energy as thermal energy

Ben Welter - Monday, October 05, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150276326 (assignee Alstom Technology Ltd., Switzerland):

"The system can include a reversible subcritical vapour-liquid cycle energy storage system with a single hot storage fluid tank and cold storage fluid tank that are inter connected by an inter storage tank flow path. The inter storage tank flow path includes an inter storage heat exchanger in the vapour-liquid cycle that enables sensible heat transfer between the working fluid and storage fluid as the storage fluid passes between the hot storage fluid tank and the cold storage fluid tank. This supplements latent heat transfer between the working fluid and the hot storage fluid tank and the cold storage fluid tank."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150276326.pdf

Patent application: Temperature management in clutch assemblies, torque converter clutch assemblies and brake assemblies

Ben Welter - Friday, October 02, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150275993 (applicant BorgWarner Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich.):

"A clutch assembly, a torque converter clutch assembly, and a brake assembly for a vehicle are disclosed. The clutch assembly and the brake assembly may have at least one reaction plate comprising an internal cavity containing a phase change material. The torque converter clutch assembly may have a front cover plate comprising an internal cavity containing a phase change material. The phase change material may be capable of absorbing at least some friction-induced heat generated at a friction interface of the reaction plate or front cover plate when the clutch assembly, the torque converter assembly, or the torque converter assembly is shifted to a closed position, such as when the clutch is activated or when the brakes are applied."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150275993.pdf

Patent application: Temperature-controlled cargo containers

Ben Welter - Friday, October 02, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150274415 (applicant AAR Manufacturing Inc., Wood Dale, Ill.):

"Temperature controlled cargo containers may include thermal masses conditioned to temperatures above and/or below a target temperature. Example thermal masses may include plates including phase change materials, such as eutectic materials. One or more fans and flapper valves may be selectively operated to circulate air in the cargo container across one or more of the thermal masses to maintain the temperature within the cargo container within a prescribed temperature band. Some example temperature controlled cargo containers may include refrigeration units and/or heaters for regenerating the thermal masses when receiving power from an external power source and/or may include one or more rechargeable batteries for providing power during transport or storage independent of external power sources."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150274415.pdf

Patent application: Method for manufacturing a heat exchanger with PCM

Ben Welter - Saturday, September 26, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150266144 (applicant French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission):

"The invention relates to a heat-exchanger module comprising at least one fluid circuit comprising at least one fluid-circulation channel, at least one cell containing a phase-change material (PCM) such as a metal alloy or salt, at least the cell(s) being defined by walls of at least one first metal plate which can be welded, diffusion welded or brazed onto a second metal plate. The invention relates to the related manufacturing methods as well as to the uses at high temperatures."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150266144.pdf

Patent application: Thermal stand-off with tortuous solid-wall thermal conduction path

Ben Welter - Friday, September 25, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150271955 (applicant Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., Sacramento, Calif.):

"A thermal stand-off includes a rigid thermal stand-off section within a spatial region that extends along a distance between a first location and second, opposed location. The rigid thermal stand-off section includes a tortuous solid-wall thermal conduction path that extends from the first location to the second location ... wherein the rigid thermal stand-off section includes a phase change material between sections of the tortuous solid-wall thermal conduction path."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150271955.pdf

Patent application: Layering and microencapsulation of thermal sensitive biologically active material using heat absorbing material layers

Ben Welter - Friday, September 25, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150265662 (inventor Dr. Adel Penhasi, Israel)

"A layered microencapsulation structure and a method of preparation of the layered structure are provided herein. The layered microcapsules comprises different coating layers having a specific arrangement order where each layer is composed of at least one phase change material which is able to absorb heat from surroundings and still to keep constant temperature or an insignificant increase in temperature via a fusion process occurring at a specific temperature (e.g. melting point) and a core substrate that has a heat-sensitive component which is entrapped therein."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150265662.pdf