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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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.




A chilling effect on hot flashes

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

CoolCami camisoleIs there any temperature-regulation problem that phase change material can't solve? CoolCami, a form-fitting camisole, is designed to reduce the discomfort of hot flashes. A cooling liner made from PCMs absorbs the heat generated by a woman's body when a hot flash kicks in. 

The CoolCami company also sells CoolMeMat, designed to provide relief for people who suffer from night sweats. The liners for both products recharge in about an hour at room temperature and provide relief for up to four hours. 

PCMs offer 'low-tech, low-cost' passive heat regulation

Ben Welter - Monday, December 08, 2014

Ian Hunter and Brad Turner, founding partners of the London-based Materials Council, love concrete, bamboo, crystal titanium and phase change materials.

PCMs "offer a low-tech, low-cost method of passive heat regulation," the industrial designers and materials experts explained in an interview with Design Milk. "We have a little vial of phase change wax on our desks. When that melts it is officially too hot in the studio and time for a game of table tennis in the sun!"

New database to help PCM selection in construction

Ben Welter - Friday, December 05, 2014

Using CES Selector software, researchers in Spain have created a database of phase change materials to help engineers select the right PCM for thermal energy storage in buildings. More than 300 PCMs have been entered in the database, noting thermophysical properties such as melting temperature and melting enthalpy.

According to an abstract of the research reported in Volume 57 of Energy Procedia: "This database can be completed in the future with other relevant properties ... such as chemical properties (durability in different media etc), reported density or viscosity at a given temperature or even cost of each material."

The full report, "New database on phase change materials for thermal energy storage in buildings to help PCM selection," is available via ScienceDirect.

Pluss Polymers' MiraCradle neonate cooler wins innovation award

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 04, 2014

Pluss Polymers of India has won a CII Industrial Innovation Award for its neonate cooler. The MiraCradle, the New Delhi company's first health-care product, is a low-cost passive cooling device for treating newborns suffering from birth asphyxia. It was developed in collaboration with Christian Medical College of Vellore, India.

Birth asphyxia – lack of sufficient oxygen at birth – kills hundreds of thousands of newborns in the developing world each year. Research shows that cooling the body temperature of a newborn suffering from birth asphyxia can help protect the brain from damage. 

The device uses Pluss Polymers' "form-stable" phase change materials, savE FS-21 and FS-29. The manufacturer says the PCMs can be charged in a typical refrigerator.

Low-cost HIV diagnostics tool uses PCMs

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Photo of NINA courtesy PATHResearchers have developed a low-cost, electricity-free device capable of detecting the DNA of infectious pathogens, including HIV-1.

"The device uses a small scale chemical reaction, rather than electric power, to provide the heat needed to amplify and detect the DNA or RNA of pathogens present in blood samples obtained from potentially infected individuals," according to the National Institutes of Health, which funded the research. 

Phase change material in the device stabilizes the test material within a narrow temperature range. The device, developed by the Seattle-based nonprofit PATH, is designed to be used in remote parts of the world that lack electricity and refrigeration.

You could even say it glows

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rudolph Microencapsulation of PCMs typically involves a single purpose: thermal energy storage. What if you could make that material glow as well? That's what three researchers at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology set out to find. They designed and synthesized PCM microcapsules with an n-eicosane core and zirconium dioxide shell to attain the characteristics of latent-heat storage/release and photoluminescence. Potential applications include intelligent fibers and photosensitive devices.

Stay warm for less by storing heat better

Ben Welter - Monday, November 24, 2014

By examining heat flows in a three-bedroom house, the UK Energy Research Centre has found that phase change materials can store heat three times more effectively when combined with heat pumps than existing methods such as storage heaters. "What's great about storage is that heat can be generated off-peak while 'waste' heat can be saved for later use, thus increasing energy efficiency and cutting cost, assuming, of course, we have an appropriate tariff structure that incentivizes storage," the project's lead researcher, Philip Eames, told

What PCMs are available for use in catalytic converters?

Ben Welter - Friday, November 21, 2014

Subramanian Sendilvelan of Bharath University in Chennai, India, asks, via ResearchGate: What phase change materials are available at 300˚C for use in catalytic converters? A professor at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology in Hyderabad suggests a 2012 paper on the use of PCMs in vehicles might be useful in exploring that topic.

30.5% growth projected for biobased PCM market in Europe

Ben Welter - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MicroMarket Monitor is projecting that Europe's biobased advanced phase change material market will reach $46.4 million in four years. "The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.5% from 2013 to 2018," according to the report, scheduled for release Dec. 8. MicroMarket attributes the growth to demand for eco-friendly HVAC applications and "cost-effective prices" of biobased PCMs.

Sleepyhead's 'best bed ever' uses PCM-infused memory foam

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ekene IbekweFormer University of Maryland star Ekene Ibekwe is playing pro basketball in New Zealand, where he is touting Sleepyhead's Sanctuary bed. Phase change material is used to "absorb and distribute excess heat from around the body and dissipate it down through the mattress." "I’ve definitely noticed a difference since switching to Sanctuary,” says Ibekwe, a 6-9 forward who has also played professionally in Israel, France, Turkey, Iran, Spain, Germany and Puerto Rico. "I was after a firmer bed and now my aches and pains have disappeared!”