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PhaseChange Matters Newsletter July 31 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,


Ceramic can store thermal energy for long periods, release it on demand

A University of Tokyo research team has identified a ceramic material that can store thermal energy for long periods and release it on demand. The material, which can also absorb light and electrical current, has the potential to be used in a variety of energy storage systems.

Upon absorption of heat, light or electrical energy, the material undergoes a solid–solid phase change, transforming from beta-trititanium pentoxide to lambda-trititanium pentoxide. The latter can store that energy stably for long periods of time. Applying “a relatively weak pressure of just 60 MPa” releases the stored energy and returns the material to its beta phase.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications. Here’s an excerpt from the abstract:

“The pressure for conversion is extremely small, only 600 bar (60 MPa) at ambient temperature, and the accumulated heat energy is surprisingly large (230 kJ L−1). Conversely, the pressure-produced beta-trititanium pentoxide transforms to lambda-trititanium pentoxide by heat, light or electric current. That is, the present system exhibits pressure-and-heat, pressure-and-light and pressure-and-current reversible phase transitions. The material may be useful for heat storage, as well as in sensor and switching memory device applications.”


Crossway Passive House

‘Pioneering’ Crossway Passive House featured on ‘Grand Designs’

Sustainability architect Richard HawkesCrossway Passive House, completed in 2009, gets another look on this week’s episode of the British TV series Grand Designs.”

“The iconic feature of this pioneering house,” writes Building Construction Design, “is a scarily thin soaring arched roof. Made by gluing clay tiles together using Plaster of Paris without any formwork, this in turn supports over 100 tons of soil which is now host to a thriving wildflower habitat.”

The 3,000-square-foot home is packed with energy-efficient technology, including 580 liters of phase change thermal storage and DuPont Energain PCM panels in the south-facing rooms.


Market for advanced insulation materials is projected to double by 2019

The global market for advanced insulation materials is expected to hit $1.9 billion in 2019, according to a new report from Lux Research.

Revenue for aerogels, vacuum insulation panels and phase change materials topped $1 billion in 2014, with more than 80 percent coming from non-building applications. Among the report’s findings:

• “Industrial equipment accounted for 83% of the $177 million market for aerogels in 2014, with Aspen Aerogels and Cabot the leading players. Industrial equipment will continue to dominate for the next five years, with smaller innovative players likely to carve out niches.”

• “Refrigeration held the lion’s share of the market for VIPs, 71.5% of a $297 million market in 2014, with companies such as OCI, Suzhou Wei Ai Pu, LG Electronics and Panasonic enjoying distinct advantages.”

• “Logistics and electronics will grow fastest for PCMs. Logistics held a 42% share of the $375 million market for PCMs in 2014, with thermal energy storage, textiles and electronics the other major applications.”


Thermal energy storage systems

PCES thermal energy storage system patent illlustrationU.S. patent application 20150204618 (applicant Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc., Asheboro, N.C.):

“In one aspect, thermal energy storage systems are described herein. In some embodiments, a thermal energy storage system comprises a thermal energy storage system comprising a container and a heat exchange apparatus disposed within the container. The heat exchange apparatus comprises a tank, a manifold at least partially disposed within the tank, and a phase change material disposed within the tank and in thermal contact with the manifold.”

Fabric for an air bag

U.S. patent application 20150203996 (Autoliv Development AB, Sweden):

“A fabric for an air-bag comprising interwoven sets of warp and weft yarns, wherein the yarns of one of the least 1.5, and the yarns of the other set of yarns are not tape-like and have a width-depth ratio less than 1.5. …

“In further embodiments of the invention, a phase change material may be introduced to absorb heat. It will be understood that a phase change material has a high heat of fusion, and is capable of absorbing large amounts of energy when changing phase, for instance from the solid to the liquid phase.”

Insulated chamber with phase change material

Caron patent application illustrationU.S. patent application 20150204601 (applicant Caron Products and Services Inc., Ohio):

“An insulated chamber having an interior chamber for storing items therein includes a phase change material to facilitate controlling the temperature of the interior chamber and the items. A heating device or cooling device may be used to melt or freeze the phase change material, which may be in various locations such as the walls of the chamber or packets which may serve as shelves and may be removable from the interior chamber with the items thereon. The packets may have recesses for receiving the items. The phase change material may be within capsules which may be within a liquid or a solid matrix. Controls may be provided to control humidity and carbon dioxide within the interior chamber.”


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

From Energy and Buildings:

Modeling and simulation on the performance of a novel double shape-stabilized phase change materials wallboard
System Design and Energy Performance of a Solar Heat Pump Heating System with Dual-tank Latent Heat Storage
Study on functional and mechanical properties of cement mortar with graphite-modified microencapsulated phase-change materials

From Applied Energy:

The preparation of the hydrotalcite-based composite phase change material

From Renewable Energy:

Cooling load reduction in office buildings of hot-arid climate, combining phase change materials and night purge ventilation
Mechanical response evaluation of microcapsules from different slurries
A seasonal cold storage system based on separate type heat pipe for sustainable building cooling

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental study on the performance of a liquid cooling garment with the application of MEPCMS

From Solar Energy:

Galactitol as phase change material for latent heat storage of solar cookers: Investigating thermal behavior in bulk cycling

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Energy and exergy performance assessments for latent heat thermal energy storage systems
Enhancements in domestic refrigeration, approaching a sustainable refrigerator – A review

From Journal of Materiomics:

Tailoring Thermal Properties via Synergistic Effect in a Multifunctional Phase Change Composite Based on Methyl Stearate


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 250 of your peers have joined a new 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 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 Brian Kirkby, co-founder of the British fashion house BoudiccaDr. Karim Menoufi, an energy/environment specialist based in Spain; and Elaine Kratz, an engineer at SunDanzer Refrigeration Inc.


Got a question about PCMs or TES? Ask our experts

Two Entropy Solutions advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid of the University of Auckland and Lucas B. Hyman of Goss Engineering, are ready to answer your questions about phase change material and thermal energy storage. We’ll select the best questions sent to and post the answers here each Friday.