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PhaseChange Matters Newsletter Feb 13 2015

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,


Inside Federal Center South, an ASHRAE award-winning project

Tom BoysenA U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office building in Seattle was one of nine projects recognized for innovative design with an ASHRAE Technology Award in December. Federal Center South received first place in the new commercial buildings category.

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce takes a closer look at the project, including the months of tweaking needed to reach the energy-use guarantees made by the general contractor, Sellen Construction.

“This is not your father’s 1960s pickup truck,” said Tom Boysen, senior project manager. “This thing has at least four gears of cooling and two gears of heating.”

The complex system includes heat-recovery chillers that extract heat from a thermal storage tank to warm the building in the morning, when demand is high. The rooftop tank is filled with 2-foot-long panels containing phase change material that freezes and thaws at 55 degrees, serving as a battery for storing heat.


PCM vs. thermal mass: A design firm’s take

Sketch of PCM-lined wallsPhase change materials and thermal mass can be used to regulate temperatures in homes and offices. Australian design firm EME offers a brief look at the two approaches, outlining the advantages of each.

Any material that is heavy and dense – brick, stone, concrete, earth, sand and even water – qualifies as thermal mass. Heavy, dense walls can slow the rate at which the sun’s heat enters a space and the rate at which a space loses heat at night. But thermal mass can be, well, massive.

“One advantage of phase change,” EME writes, “is that it is lighter in weight and therefore can be integrated into a retrofit situation without upgrading the structure and multi-storey buildings. Unlike thermal mass construction, phase change does not have the poetry and material sensibility that thermal mass offers. Phase change is generally concealed within a wall.”

VIKING protective suit
Protective suit for offshore work features PCM liner

Gas and oil personnel don protective suits for helicopter transfer to and from offshore platforms. Viking Life-Saving Equipment’s new PS5040 suit is designed for harsh weather and icy waters. The snug-fitting suit features a gas-inflated buoyancy system, integrated spray hood, easy-to-use plastic zippers and a thermal liner that contains phase change materials that absorb the excess body heat and returns it when needed.

“When it comes to passenger suits for helicopter transfer, there are a number of commonly used materials and features that are well-suited to the task,” said Jens Peter Kruse, the Danish company’s vice president for personal protective equipment. “We’ve taken this into account with our new suit, and we’ve made a tremendous number of comfort and safety improvements, too.”


  • Energy storage system based on nanoparticle-enhanced phase change material inside porous medium [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

  • Highly Stable Phase Change Material Emulsions Fabricated by Interfacial Assembly of Amphiphilic Block Copolymers during Phase Inversion [American Chemical Society]

  • Improving thermal conductivity phase change materials—A study of paraffin nanomagnetite composites [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

  • Energy and economic analysis of a building air-conditioner with a phase change material [Energy Conversion and Management]

  • Electro/photo to heat conversion system based on polyurethane embedded graphite [Applied Energy]

  • Thermal evaluation of laminated composite phase change material gypsum board under dynamic conditions [Renewable Energy]

  • Different energy balances for the redesign of nearly net zero energy buildings: An Italian case study [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

  • Experimental study on the influence of nanoparticle PCM slurry for high temperature on convective heat transfer and energetic performance in a circular tube under imposed heat flux [Applied Thermal Engineering]

  • Mortars based in different binders with incorporation of phase-change materials: Physical and mechanical properties [European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering]

  • A new approach to theoretical modeling of heat transfer through fibrous layers incorporated with microcapsules of phase change materials [Thermochimica Acta]

  • Effect of thermal conductivities of shape stabilized PCM on under-floor heating system [Applied Energy]

  • Fire Retardant for Phase Change Material [Engineering Materials]

  • Temperature-dependent thermal properties of solid/liquid phase change even-numbered n-alkanes: n-Hexadecane, n-octadecane and n-eicosane [Applied Energy]

  • Numerical analysis on thermal behavior of solid–liquid phase change within copper foam with varying porosity [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

  • Thermal behaviour of insulation and phase change materials in buildings with internal heat loads: experimental study [Energy Efficiency]

  • Resource and revenue potential of California residential load participation in ancillary services [Energy Policy]

  • A review of large-scale electrical energy storage (including a mathematical model for thermal energy storage as a battery) [Energy Research]


    Operations Manager at Entropy Solutions’ R&D lab in Alabama

    Entropy Solutions, maker of PureTemp, the world’s first 100 percent renewable phase change material, is accepting applications for the position of Operations Manager at the company’s research and development lab in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Working closely with our team of top-notch scientists, the Operations Manager will help direct a wide range of project- and infrastructure-related initiatives.