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Phase Change Matters Newsletter July 22 2016

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,


Reversible Microcapsule Filter Cake

U.S. patent application 20160207020 (assignee Appvion Inc., Appleton, Wis.):

Appvion encapsulation patent drawing“The invention teaches a method of efficiently dewatering a microcapsule slurry to form a water re-suspendable filter cake of microcapsules. The process comprises providing an aqueous slurry of microcapsules dispersed in an aqueous solution; adding an agglomeration agent and dispersing the agglomeration agent into the aqueous slurry; adjusting the pH to a pH level sufficient to agglomerate the dispersed microcapsules; and filtering the aqueous slurry of microcapsules by gravity, vacuum or pressure filtration to thereby form a filter cake of dewatered microcapsules. The agglomeration agent is sodium polyphosphate, sodium tetrapolyphosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, and/or sodium tripolyphosphate; or with anionic microcapsules or coatings even alkaline earth metal salts such as magnesium chloride, calcium chloride or barium chloride, or even aluminum salt such as aluminum chloride.”

Dimensionally Stable PCM and a Continuous Process for Making Same

U.S. patent application 20160208155 (applicant Microtek Laboratories Inc., Dayton, Ohio):

“Methods for producing a dimensionally stable phase change material (PCM), and dimensionally stable PCMs are disclosed. The methods include providing a porous base material, mixing a phase change material having a polar functional group with a substance that increases the polar attraction of the phase change material for the porous base material to form a mixture thereof; and, thereafter, mixing the mixture with the porous base material until a selected saturation of phase change material in the porous base material is reached. The methods may include filtering the porous base material after the selected saturation is reached to form a cake of dimensionally stable PCM and, thereafter, reducing the size of the dimensionally stable PCM to an average mean particle size of about 10 to about 50 μm, or more preferably 20 to 30 μm.”

Lumbar Brace

U.S. patent application 20160206467 (applicant Corflex Inc., Manchester, N.H.):

“An adjustable lumbar support system with independent lacer guides and a hinged portion. An adjustable lumbar support system having phase change material [10, below] and/or removable stays. An adjustable lumbar support system having one or more panels, with or without perforations, to provide for improved adjustability for patient comfort and compliance. An adjustable lumbar support system having a pleated or quilted central portion.”

Lumbar brace patent drawing

Systems, Structures and Materials for Electronic Device Cooling

U.S. patent application 20160212841 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

“An electronic device having one or more components that generate heat during operation includes a structure for temperature management and heat dissipation. The structure for temperature management and heat dissipation comprises a heat transfer substrate having a surface that is in thermal communication with the ambient environment and a temperature management material in physical contact with at least a portion of the one or more components of the electronic device and at least a portion of the heat transfer substrate. The temperature management material comprises a polymeric phase change material having a latent heat of at least 5 Joules per gram and a transition temperature between 0 degree C and 100 degree C, and a thermal conductive filler.”

Thermal Storage Units and Methods of Making and Using Them

U.S. patent application 20160209124 (applicant University of Texas Board of Regents):

“Sugar alcohol blends of galactitol and mannitol and compositions comprising such blends are disclosed as phase change materials (PCMs). A method of forming carbon nanotubes on a carbon substrate is described. Carbon substrates with carbon nanotubes, in particular, conformal layers of carbon nanotubes on carbon substrates, are also disclosed, as are methods of making and using these materials. Thermal storage units are also provided. The thermal storage units can comprise a heat exchange path through which a heat exchange medium flows, and a thermal storage medium in thermal contact with the heat exchange path.”


PCM-packed coaster is designed to keep canned beer cold

BoozePad prototypeTwo Hungarians are working to raise $25,000 on Indiegogo to fund development of BoozePad, an aluminum-and-plastic coaster designed to keep canned beer and other beverages cold. Inside is a phase change material of their own creation, a salt-and-water paste with a freeze point of minus 14 to 18 degrees Celsius.

Viktor Kurucz and Zsombor Kaló say similar products on the market only slow warming: “BoozePad is the only device [we’ve tested] that effectively cools the beer and keeps the preferred low temperature.” In an e-mail interview, they added: “BoozePad is absolutely local: idea, testings, design and development to the prototype has all been happened within the boundaries of Budapest. Mass production will take place also locally. It is important for us to supervise the production personally, and diminish the biological footprint.” A single BoozePad costs $10, with delivery promised in October. With a month to go, the Indiegogo campaign has raised a little over $2,000, well short of the team’s $25,000 goal.

Invention promises ‘eco friendly ice cooling’ on a small scale

Geizeer desktop air coolerTwo Italians have raised more than $300,000 in a successful Kickstarter campaign for a tabletop air-cooling unit. 

The Geizeer consists of a wooden shell, a rechargeable battery, a fan and an ice pack filled with a nontoxic eutectic gel. Damiano Iannini and Ferdinando Petrella say their invention can lower the temperature of 12-square-meter room by 3 degrees Celsius for about 4 hours. They estimate the operating cost to be 1 cent per day. Each unit sells for about $95, with delivery promised in September. 


Peli BioThermal has expanded its temperature-control packaging operations in Asia, teaming up with Pharmaserv Express of the Philippines and CMC Element of China.

Anne J. McNeil, a chemistry professor at the University of Michigan, is among the growing number of academics who use the Slack messaging app to communicate with team members. In a typical week, her team uses the software to send about 400 messages and 70 files. The advantages over e-mail: speed and searchability.

• Thermal storage pioneer CALMAC has posted a new white paper: “Ice Storage or Chilled Water Storage. Which one is right for the job?” 

• Eight years after construction began, Abu Dhabi‘s vision for a bustling, energy-efficient city in the desert remains largely unrealized. Masdar City, a planned community initially designed to accommodate 50,000 citizens, sits mostly empty, with only a few hundred residents. French photographer Etienne Malapert has documented the futuristic city’s eerie landscape.

ARPA-E is accepting applications for two-year fellowships in Washington, D.C. ARPA-E fellows focus on identifying breakthrough energy technologies through technical and economic analyses. The application deadline is Sept. 1, 2016. The agency also has openings for program directors and technology-to-market advisors.

NASA‘s experimental PCM heat exchanger arrived at the International Space Station this week.

Plaza Provision Co., a food distributor based in Puerto Rico, has purchased its fourth thermal energy storage system from Viking Cold Solutions. Houston-based Viking says the three PCM-based systems installed earlier have saved Plaza Provision $650,000 in energy costs since 2010.

• The American Chemistry Council’s Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index fell by 0.4% in June, the third consecutive monthly decline for the U.S. market.


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

From 11th International Conference on Mechanical Engineering:

Heat transfer in completely and partially filled spherical phase change thermal energy storage modules

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Massive thermo-electric energy storage based on CO2 rankine cycles and ground heat storage
Experimental study of the cooling performance of Phase Change Material with discrete heat sources – Continuous and intermittent regimes

From Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics:

Heat transfer enhancement of PCM melting in 2D horizontal elliptical tube using metallic porous matrix

From Journal of Sustainable Cement-Based Materials:

Application of lightweight aggregate and rice husk ash to incorporate phase change materials into cementitious materials

From Journal of Electronic Packaging:

Numerical And Experimental Investigation of Shell-And-Tube Phase Change Material Thermal Energy Storage Unit

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

New sugar alcohols mixtures for long-term thermal energy storage applications at temperatures between 70 °C and 100 °C

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Numerical studies of lithium-ion battery thermal management systems using phase change materials and metal foams
Analysis of insulation performance of multilayer thermal insulation doped with phase change material


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 800 of your peers 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.

You are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. New members include Deniz Pamukcu, business development and product design engineer at Advanced Cooling Technologies, Lancaster, Pa.; Jacob Supowit, Ph.D. candidate in thermal engineering at UCLA, Los Angeles; Mikko Liljeberg, product manager at LVI-Dahl Oy, Helsinki, Finland; and Matthieu Martinelli, a third-year Ph.D student working at the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in France. Matthieu writes:

“In the framework of my Ph.D., I am working on the implementation of a latent heat thermal energy storage system in a district heating substation. Indeed, heat request in a district heating network is highly fluctuating and thermal energy storage appears to be an attractive option for effectiveness since it adds flexibility, reduces CO2 emissions and primary energy consumption and is cost-effective as well.

“Moreover, I would like to share with you my first article which deals with a copper foam/paraffin composite in a tube-in-shell phase change thermal energy storage system.
Heat transfers inside copper foam/PCM composite are compared with other heat transfer enhancement techniques such as fins.

“The paper is available here:
and it is free to access until August 9, 2016.

“Eventually, soon-to-be-published work is about two radially finned tubes. The first one is a 7 fins per inch tube, and the second one has 10 fins per inch. Analyzing the results, we hope to better understand the influence of fins and what is the relation between the number of fins and the thermal performances.”


Wanted: News tips about PCMs and thermal energy storage

Does your company, agency or university have a job opening, new research, new product or other news you’d like to share with our newsletter readers? We would love to hear from you. Please contact Ben Welter, Entropy Solutions’ communications director, at