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Phase Change Matters Newsletter Dec 15 2017

The Phase Change Matters e-mail newsletter is a weekly summary of the latest news and research on phase change materials and thermal energy storage. To subscribe, visit For more frequent updates, follow @puretemp on Twitter or visit the Phase Change Matters blog,


RAL Quality Association PCM approves updated quality, testing specifications

Members of the RAL Quality Association PCM have unanimously approved revised versions of two documents governing the association’s quality testing program.

The association, formed in 2004, promotes the use of high-quality phase change material and oversees independent testing of PCMs. Members include Croda, va-Q-tec, Pluss Advanced Technologies and Entropy Solutions. Members and non-members alike can submit their products to the association for independent testing and earn the RAL Quality Mark.

RAL PCM quality markThe first document, “Quality and Testing Specifications for Phase Change Materials,” also known as RAL-GZ 896, sets out the general principles for PCM. The document defines PCM, PCM composites, PCM objects and PCM systems; establishes performance requirements; and outlines the nature and scope of monitoring measures.

Improvements to RAL-GZ 896 include:

Clearer structure and wording, less text. The prior edition was judged to be strongly fragmented, hard to read and too long. At the same time some definitions, especially those in the glossary, required clarification.

Heat flow meter measurements are now permissible. This will make measuring larger PCM products much easier.

Reduced testing frequency during cycling. The prior edition required testing the quality criteria at fixed intervals during cycling. The new edition recommends testing at intervals during cycling (to reduce the risk that cycling is continued until the end despite the sample has already failed) and the intervals are wider. These changes are designed to reduce the cost of testing.

Including segregation. Segregation is an important criterion for salt hydrates especially and was included as additional quality requirement.

Better explanation of monitoring.

The second document provides detailed provisions and references to the certification of PCM, PCM composites, PCM objects and PCM systems. Improvements to this document include more detailed descriptions of measuring methods and guidance on which methods are appropriate for different types of PCM.

The revised documents will be submitted to the German RAL Institute for Quality Assurance and Certification, the PCM association’s governing body, for final review and approval. The revised documents are expected to take effect in early spring.


Heating and cooling technologies

U.S. patent application 20170354190 (applicant Charles J. Cauchy, Traverse City, Mich.):

“A heating and cooling device is disclosed comprising at least one integral low voltage heating and cooling source and an efficient flexible heat distribution means having a thermal conductivity of from 375 to 4000 W/mK for distributing the heat and cool across a surface. Further aspects include thermal interface compounds to provide full thermal contact as well as the use of a phase change material to provide a long lasting heating and/or cooling effect without the use of external electrical input. Preferred applications include automotive and furniture seating heating and cooling, along with outdoor garments having distributed heating and cooling effects.”

Thermal management of linear motor

U.S. patent application 20170355568 (applicant Otis Elevator Co., Farmington, Conn.):

“The present disclosure relates generally to a propulsion system for an elevator having a first motor portion mounted to one of an object to be moved and a stationary structure and a second motor portion mounted to the other of the object to be moved and the stationary structure, the first motor portion having at least one coil. … The cooling member may be a heat exchanger disposed between two coils of the first motor portion. … The heat exchanger may include a phase change material.”

Batteries with thermal management

U.S. patent application 20170358831 (applicant Pure Watercraft Inc., Seattle, Wash.):

“A battery pack assembly includes: a battery cell; a flat heat pipe, coupled to the battery cell, configured to transfer thermal energy to or from the battery cell; and a thermal electric cooler, coupled to the flat heat pipe, configured to cool the battery cell based on reducing the thermal energy through the flat heat pipe. … The battery module can further include thermal storage units (e.g., PCM that melt and solidify at a phase change temperature; thermal energy can be absorbed or released based on the change in physical states of the materials) connected to the battery cells.”


• A plan to install an ice storage system at GE’s new headquarters in Boston has been awarded a $221,000 grant by Massachusetts’ Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage program. 

• The U.S. Department of Energy has announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of ARPA‑E‘s latest OPEN funding opportunity. OPEN 2018 is looking for innovations “to transform the way we generate, store and use energy.” The deadline for submitting a concept paper is Feb. 12, 2018.

• Early registration prices for the 2018 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit have been extended to Dec. 31. The summit, which showcases innovative energy technologies, will be held March 13-15 at the Gaylord Convention Center near Washington, D.C. The agenda is still “coming soon.” The deadline to submit an application to exhibit in the Technology Showcase is Jan. 2.

• Registration is open for an Industrial Fabrics Association International webinar on recent smart fabric applications used in a number of government, commercial, medical and consumer market segments. The cost for the Jan. 17 webinar is $29 for association members, $79 for non-members.

• Registration is open for the 34th Space Symposium, to be held April 16-19, 2018, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Exhibitors include Advanced Cooling Technologies and Aavid Thermacore Inc.

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board. The CED is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization founded in 1942.

• In an interview with Forbes, co-CEOs Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell explain Sasol‘s $11 billion bet on specialty chemicals.

• Registration is open for “Single-Use vs. Reusable Packaging: Providing value for your product,” the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe‘s temperature assurance packaging series. Chris Anderson, director of quality systems at Cardinal Health, and Vishal Khushalani, director of marketing and business development at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Jan 9.

• The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, to be held in Philadelphia July 16-19, 2018, is seeking proposals for company and technical presentations. Presentations are 13 minutes long, including a brief introduction and Q&A with the audience. Proposals must be submitted by May 14.


For our full list of recent academic research, see Here are highlights from the past week:

From Applied Sciences:

Improving Performance of Cold-Chain Insulated Container with Phase Change Material: An Experimental Investigation

From Construction and Building Materials:

Reduced-scale experiments to evaluate performance of composite building envelopes containing phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Energy Storage in a Complex Heat Storage Unit Using Commercial Grade Phase Change Materials: Effect of Convective Heat Transfer Boundary Conditions
Porosity and density measurements of sodium acetate trihydrate for thermal energy storage
Optimization of thermal management system for Li-ion batteries using phase change material

From Applied Energy:

Influence of PCM design parameters on thermal and optical performance of multi-layer glazed roof

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Melting and solidification behaviour of phase change materials with cyclic heating and cooling

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Thermal performance enhancement of composite phase change materials (PCM) using graphene and carbon nanotubes as additives for the potential application in lithium-ion power battery

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

A novel form-stable phase change composite with excellent thermal and electrical conductivities

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

A Novel Phase Change Based Cooling System for Prismatic Lithium Ion Batteries

From Thermochimica Acta:

Facile method of fabricating microencapsulated phase change materials with compact bonding polymer–silica hybrid shell using TEOS/MPS


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 1,100 people have joined a LinkedIn group devoted to the discussion of phase change material and thermal energy storage. The Phase Change Matters group is an interactive complement to the award-winning blog and newsletter of the same name.

LinkedIn logoYou are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. New members include Dr. Muftooh Ur Rehman Siddiqi, research associate at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K.; Frederic Philippon, business development executive at Boyd Corp., Redmond, Wash.; and Fabricio Espinoza Saldaña, teaching assistant at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lima, Peru.