Phase Change Materials, Thermal Energy, and the Industries They Help

    Posted by David Haan on Feb 27, 2020 8:25:00 AM

    Medical Devices

    What’s interesting about medical (med) devices is that they typically have federal and international regulations that are heavily mandated. There are also best practices that need to be followed when you get down into each specific industry that they’re used in. 

    Med devices are transported all over the world and need to be kept within specific (and often strict) temperature ranges. If they are exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity and are not kept within those ranges, they could be rendered useless – or even worse, dangerous. Shipping them with PCMs helps keep the products safe and effective for the end-user.


    What we’re talking about here is cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc. As electronics get smaller and their computing power gets higher, they’re generating a lot more heat inside of these units and there's a lot less space for that heat to be dissipated. Unlike the old box computers, there’s no room for active fans to keep the system cool.

    As a result, electronics manufacturers are moving towards adding phase change materials to regulate and remove heat from critical electronic components inside of a device. PCMs help keep the screens cool and improve the speed and performance of the device.

    Life Sciences

    When we say life sciences, we’re talking about transporting things like medicine, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other drugs. This follows a process called cold chain shipping – shipping products from one location to another and keeping them in the proper temperature range which can range from frozen to room temperature and everything in between.

    So, having solutions for transport around those temperature ranges are important so that customers know that they’re safe to consume.

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    Energy Management

    Think for a quick second how many things we use in our daily lives are powered by batteries. The list seems endless, right? Whether it’s power tools, scooters, remotes, or even some cars. Of course, with modern technology batteries are lasting longer than ever and there’s a lot of opportunity for phase change and thermal regulation in anything that has a battery.

    Batteries obviously involve energy storage. The longer that energy can be stored, the more effective the battery. With PCMs, batteries have longer shelf lives which has led to some major innovative technological developments. The less you have to worry about time, temperature, and usage for the battery, the more things the devices they’re being used in can do.

    Building and Construction

    This industry uses what we call a passive thermal management system, meaning it performs without using an active system. As people start to understand PCMs more and more, they are finding new ways to incorporate them into building materials – making buildings far more energy efficient which is great for the environment and the energy bill.

    Historically, the main concern when using PCMs in construction is the higher up-front cost, but once you have utilized PCMs properly then the long-term energy savings is incredible and the return on the initial investment is significant.

    Topics: Phase Change Materials, Thermal Management

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