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Phase Change Matters Newsletter May 15 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,


Outlast’s new acrylic fiber uses unencapsulated phase change material

Outlast President Martin BentzOutlast Technologies and Thai Acrylic Fibre have developed a new acrylic fiber using unencapsulated phase change material.

Outlast says the new fiber performs four times better than the existing version in regulating temperature in apparel and blankets.

“We are using now a non-encapsulated pPCM system and we no longer work with encapsulated mPCMs here,” explained Martin Bentz, president of the Golden, Colo., company. “This change allowed us to improve the performance of the new Outlast acrylic fibers enormously. With that, the spinning and dyeing properties are enhanced.”


Drake Landing Solar Community

Drake Landing a model for combining solar, thermal storage in cold climate

CleanTechnica‘s Glenn Meyers offers a fresh look at Drake Landing Solar Community near Calgary, Alberta. The subdivision’s district heating system, which combines garage-mounted solar panels with thermal storage, supplies more than 90 percent of the space heating needs of 52 single-family houses. An array of 144 boreholes 37 meters deep serves as an in-ground heat sink for seasonal storage.

“U.S. developers with renewable energy goals should look closely at the DLSC model,” Meyers writes. “When calculating the energy savings, the large infrastructure costs can be offset over time. Potential homeowners may need convincing about future economic benefits that might be gained from being more independent from traditional utilities.”


Leading interdisciplinary team helped PCM researcher see big picture

Dr. Sarah McCormackIn an interview on the European Cooperation in Science and Technology website, an assistant professor of engineering at Dublin’s Trinity College talks about how COST has helped her see the big picture in her research.

Dr. Sarah McCormack chaired COST Action TU0802, developing an interdisciplinary community focused on renewable energy systems and phase change material.

“The main aim was to develop new materials for renewable energy storage applications in terms of heating and cooling, particularly renewable applications,” she said. “This did not necessarily mean coming up with new modeling techniques, but more accurate ones, by finding ways to incorporate phase change materials or thermal energy storage processes into software readily available. … The COST Action gave me a chance to meet other experts, look at the small-scale buildings aspects, and helped me understand how we can integrate these renewable energy systems.”


Phase change material cool for schools, says BASF’s Tony Heslop

Tony Heslop, regional market development manager at BASF, weighed in this month on Britain’s $3 billion school repair and improvement program.

“Under the initiative,” he writes in the May issue of the Construction Index magazine, “draught-free ventilation is now mandatory and there is an expectation that passive cooling using thermal mass will be included in a school design.” Adding thermal mass in the form of plasterboard and ceiling tiles infused with phase change material can help designers comply with the new standards.


Phase change material pack for air conditioning system

U.S. patent application 20150121944 (assignee: VKR Holding A/S, Denmark): “A phase change material (PCM) pack for an air conditioning system comprises phase change material sealed between a first thermally conductive layer forming a first outer surface of the PCM pack and a second thermally conductive layer forming a second outer surface of the PCM pack. At least the first or second outer surface of the PCM pack takes the form of a substantially planar surface having defined therein a plurality of depressions deviating from the planar surface towards the interior of the PCM pack in a direction perpendicular to the planar surface. The depressions improve heat transfer between the pack and an airflow passing over the surface of the PCM pack.”


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

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage in residential buildings in cold climate

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Poly(methyl methacrylate) copolymer nanocapsules containing phase-change material (n-dodecanol) prepared via miniemulsion polymerization

From International Conference on Information Sciences, Machinery, Materials and Energy:

Influences of the PCM Microcapsules on Thermal Properties of the Garment  [pdf]

From Energy Sources:

Experimental Investigation of a Cascaded Latent Heat Storage System for Diesel Engine Waste Heat Recovery

From Journal of Food Engineering:

Development of Polystyrene-based Films with Temperature Buffering Capacity for Smart Food Packaging

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Melting of phase change material assisted by expanded metal mesh
Lattice Boltzmann simulation of convection melting in complex heat storage systems filled with phase change materials

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Improving Performance of Household Refrigerators by Incorporating Phase Change Materials

From Energy and Buildings:

Preparation and thermal properties of form-stable phase change materials composed of palmitic acid/polypyrrole/graphene nanoplatelets


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 180 of your colleagues 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 who introduced themselves this week include Jamie Pocklington, the global lead in Croda Chemicals‘ bio-based PCM business, and Rangasamy Pitchai, founder and CEO of ChemPlast Consultants.

Rangasamy writes: “I am leading a market development project for (tradename: CALGRIP) PCMs commercialized by JSR Corp. in Japan. They are paraffin-based and transform from solid to a gel. I am interested in new applications for phase change materials.”

A question submitted by Jerret Fischer, a sustainability expert with U-Haul International, prompted a new discussion:

“U-Haul has a 98,000-square-foot building in Houston, Texas. The building is used for customer storage as well as truck and trailer rentals. It can be very expense to cool the building in summer. Is it a good candidate for solutions that use phase change material? Can you recommend a turn-key solution?”

Among the responses so far:

“Apart from low-temperature or ice storage aside refrigeration units in order to allow the compressors to work at cheap hours and to reduce the peak demand, I can see no turn-key solutions. What is the average outside temperature at night and during the day in summer?” – Luc Traonvouez, INSULA France

“That’s about a 250 ton load if the 400 sq.ft. / ton rule of thumb works for this application. Sizing depends upon rates and facility use. Without knowing that and assuming no night time load, 8 hours of ice making and 12 hours of cooling the system would need a nominal 160 ton chiller and about 816 ton hours of storage for a partial storage solution.” – Paul Valenta, CALMAC


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.


We’re taking a break

The Phase Change Matters blog and newsletter are on vacation. The blog will be updated sporadically over the next two weeks. Look for the next issue of the newsletter on May 29. Past issues are available here:

Phase Change Matters newsletter archive