Phase change materials (PCMs) are a proven, effective way to solve thermal management challenges in many end applications. Successful thermal management is the end goal, but what are some of the technical aspects your team must understand in order to choose the right PCM for your application?
Here are six key technical aspects of PCMs that are important to consider:
1) Latent heat – Latent heat directly impacts the quantity of PCM needed to achieve the desired result, as well as the length of PCM effectiveness.
2) Sharpness of latent heat release and absorption - It is important to accurately match the melt point, freeze point, and latent heat to the desired application so your product will perform to the right specifications.
3) The right type of microencapsulation – Encapsulation of the PCMs involves a core and an outer shell to prevent leakage, degradation, and contamination. Careful consideration must be given to the compatibility of the individual PCM microcapsules with the system where it will be used.
4) Stability to cycling and aging – Over the course of hundreds or even thousands of freezes and melts, the phase change transition temperature and latent heat energies should remain consistent.
5) Economics – PCMs are like any raw material and must be effectively integrated into a product to provide the right value for the right price.
6) Melt Point Temperature – Applications are typically temperature-specific. Since a PCM will help hold a material within a temperature range for a specific period, the determination of the optimum temperature for your application will dictate the melt point of the PCM to choose.
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