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 www.puretemp.com/subscribe. For more frequent updates, follow @puretemp on Twitter or visit the Phase Change Matters blog, www.puretemp.com/pcmatters.
• Goeran Fiedler, assistant professor of prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Pittsburgh, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study temperature control liners for prosthetics. The liners use phase change material to reduce the body’s tendency to sweat. The study will follow participants over 12 months to determine whether the liners decrease the risk of pressure sores, accidental falls and other problems.
• Axiom Exergy has been named to Food Logistics’ FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list. The award recognizes Axiom for its PCM-based “refrigeration battery,” now in operation at a Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, Calif., and scheduled for installation at a Walmart store in San Diego.
• HeatVentors has won 2017’s international PowerUp! competition for innovative energy start-ups. The Hungarian company’s PCM-based thermal energy storage system is designed to cut energy use by up to 40 percent.
• A thousand tons of rock will be used to store surplus power from the grid as thermal energy in Siemens Gamesa‘s Future Energy System under construction in Hamburg, Germany.
• Registration is open for the Unleashing Innovation Summit 2018 to be held March 12-13 in Amsterdam. The goal of the event is to “bring together cross-industry innovation leaders to share information on the latest trends and strategies relating to creating an ecosystem and culture of innovation within an organisation.”
• The agenda has been posted for the 2018 Smart Fabrics Summit in Washington, D.C. The April 24 event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Topics include “Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective” and “Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics.”
• Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a Kenya-based journalist and blogger, offers a fresh take on Warmilu‘s IncuBlanket. The product uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Microtek’s purchase of Micronal line is most-read story of 2017
The Phase Change Matters blog generated more than 23,000 page views in 2017, up 6 percent from 2016. Here are the most-viewed stories of the year through Dec. 22:
1. BASF sells Micronal PCM line to Microtek Labs (May 17)
3. PCM briefing: Sasol introduces Parafol 17 (March 7)
U.S. patent application 20170360227 (applicant John Robert Mumford, Oakville, Calif.):
“A beverage container includes a base, a stem, and a bowl. The base has a base lateral dimension parallel to the horizontal supporting plane. The stem extends upwardly from a stem lower end coupled to the base to a stem upper end. The stem has a heat pipe extending between the stem lower end and the stem upper end. The stem has a stem lateral dimension smaller than the base lateral dimension. The bowl is coupled to the stem upper end and extends upwardly of the stem. The bowl defines a liquid chamber having an upper opening. …
“Heat sink  can have any configuration suitable for withdrawing heat from beverage container. In the illustrated embodiment, heat sink is formed as a coaster including a body that houses phase change material , and a high thermal conductivity contact plate.”
U.S. patent application 20170363368 (applicant EnergyNest AS, Billingstad, Norway):
“Thermal energy storage and heat exchanger, distinctive in that it comprises: a number of hardened concrete thermal energy storage elements; a housing, into which said elements have been arranged; an active heat transfer and storage medium in the volume between said elements and said housing, in the form of either: a stagnant liquid or phase change material, or a dynamic fluid arranged to flow in the volume between said elements and said housing; at least one means for delivery of thermal energy to the thermal energy storage; at least one means for taking out thermal energy from the thermal energy storage; and thermal insulation.”
U.S. patent application 20170360620 (applicant First Quality Retail Services, Great Neck, N.Y.):
“An absorbent article is provided with microencapsulated phase change material (microPCM) particles that are embedded in and/or coated onto a layer of the absorbent article that includes a resilient sheet of an open-cell foam. The foam layer is disposed such that it is in contact with or is in proximity to the user. The microPCM particles absorb heat generated during use of the absorbent article to reduce the contact temperature on the inside of the absorbent article and improve the comfort of the user. To maximize comfort, the phase change temperature of the microPCM particles may be an average normal body temperature.”
Which PCM product idea is phony?
Entropy Solutions receives a dozen or so inquiries each week, most of them serious questions about PCM products, pricing and suitability for various applications. But some inquiries stretch the bounds of believability. Can you identify which of the product ideas below is fake?
Send your answer to email@example.com. Five winners will be randomly selected from correct entries received by Jan. 1. The prize: a prototype coffee tumbler developed by Entropy Solutions several years ago, a product idea that was totally legit.
NOTE: You must be a Phase Change Matters subscriber to submit an entry. Representatives of organizations attending the first meeting of the PCM Industry Association of North America in October know the answer and are not eligible for this contest. Good luck to all the contestants!
1. Mmm chocolate
We are exploring new ingredient technologies to produce a chocolate product that will release heat when it is consumed. Standard chocolate produces a minor cooling effect when it’s melting in the mouth – the main fat is cocoa butter. The idea is to develop a new filling fat/oil that will release heat when consumed.
2. Premium pads
I represent a consumer goods company that is seeking materials that could help the feminine pad feel ‘cool’ in order to increase the comfort of use, especially when female is engaging in activities such as boxing, distance running and other extreme athletic challenges.
3. Chicken helper
I am hoping phase change materials could help solve a problem I have. First, I am completely serious. Second, here is the problem: I live in Texas and have 10 back yard laying hens. It is hot. Chickens start to go into heat stress at 85 degrees. Is it possible to enclose PCMs into a sort of pad for my chickens to rest near during the day?
4. Hot flashes
I am interested in using your product for a product I am developing for my design thesis. I am trying to make a responsive bra that senses a hot flash, and responds by turning on peltiers and “conducting” the cold through some sort of gel medium to the skin. Are any of your products the right thing for this?
5. Mosquito eggs
I’m wanting to ship mosquito eggs and need the parcel to stay dry, and within a prescribed temperature range of 10-35 degrees for up to three days. Would you be able to recommend a particular product of yours which could meet these requirements?
For our full list of recent academic research, see puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Journal of Thermal Biology:
• An Optimal Two-Bout Strategy with Phase Change Material Cooling Vests to Improve Comfort in Hot Environment
From Construction and Building Materials:
• Reduced-scale experiments to evaluate performance of composite building envelopes containing phase change materials
From Energy and Buildings:
• Performance of a coupled transpired solar collector—phase change material-based thermal energy storage system
• Thermal and optical characterisation of dynamic shading systems with PCMs through laboratory experimental measurements
From Applied Energy:
• Thermo-mechanical analysis of microcapsules containing phase change materials for cold storage
• Introduction of organic-organic eutectic PCM in mesoporous N-doped carbons for enhanced thermal conductivity and energy storage capacity
From Energy Conversion and Management:
• Heat storage performance analysis and parameter design for encapsulated phase change materials
• Thermal performance of copper foam/paraffin composite phase change material
From Renewable Energy:
• Numerical study of PCM integration impact on overall performances of a highly building-integrated solar collector
From Energy Procedia:
• Nanoparticles Enhanced Phase Change Material (NPCM) as Heat Storage in Solar Still Application for Productivity Enhancement
• Performance enhancement of the concentrated photovoltaic using different phase change material configurations
From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:
• Experimental Analysis of Using Beeswax as Phase Change Materials for Limiting Temperature Rise in Building Integrated Photovoltaics
More than 1,100 LinkedIn members have joined a 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.
You are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. New members include Kosheela Devi Poo Palam, research associate at the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Selangor, Malaysia; Prakash Iyer, senior vice president for business development and technology at Inhance Technologies, Houston, Texas; and Bharat Chhugani, scientific assistant at ZAE Bayern, Würzburg, Germany. Damien Mathis, a Ph.D. student in renewable materials science at Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, started a discussion on PCM wallboard. He writes:
“I wonder if some of you know any in-use building with integrated wallboards, which had its energy efficiency improved by interior PCM panels. A lot of scientific publications shows a real potential for wallboards, but it’s hard to find buildings with people living / working in it. Have you such examples please? In addition, why do you think that technologies such as Smartboard and Energain didn’t have a larger success?”