Frequently Asked Questions

What would you like to know?

What is a PCM?

PCM stands for Phase Change Material. It is a substance that can absorb and release large amounts of energy. This is the entire basis for our thermal regulating/management solutions at Microtek.

What is a microencapsulated PCM?

At Microtek we encapsulate PCM. The process of microencapsulation places a shell around the PCM that acts like a mini container to hold the material, prevent degradation and keep it free from contamination. The result is a PCM that can be incorporated into a wide array of materials and applications.

What does it mean for a PCM to cycle?

This is the process of a material moving through melting (liquid) and freezing (solid) stages, and then repeating. This can happen thousands of times without degradation for a PCM.

How many times can a microencapsulated PCM be used?

Tests have been performed where microencapsulated phase change materials have been cycled over 10,000 times and are shown to still be effective. This corresponds to an average product life cycle of approximately 30 years.

Which PCM should I use?

What industries use PCM?

PCM is commonly used for thermal management to regulate temperature of products, facilities, and even people. Today, industries using PCM’s include textiles, construction, electronics, bedding, apparel, shipping, medical device, life sciences and many more.

How much PCM do I need?

The amount of PCM you will require depends on your desired results. Thermal Simulation is a process that we offer which models the change in temperature over time-based on mass and external factors.

How long will the effect of the PCM last?

How long a PCM will cool or warm depends on four key factors:
 
  1. The amount of PCM present
  2. The external temperature
  3. The physical configuration of the PCM (i.e. arranged as a thinly dispersed layer, amassed together, etc.)
  4. The thermal conductivity of the materials used in conjunction with the PCM (fabric, foam, concrete, etc.).

What is meant by the term melting point (MP)?

This is the temperature where the PCM melts.

What is meant by the term Freezing Point (FP)?

This is the temperature where the PCM freezes.

What is Enthalpy?

Also referred to as latent heat. This is the amount of energy (heat) that can be absorbed during melting or released during freezing. The units that are used to measure this are J/g. (J – Joules / g – grams)

What is a Joule?

A joule is a name for the unit of energy.

What is a DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry)?

It is an instrument that measures the amount of enthalpy of the capsules as they melt (melt curve) and freeze (freezing curve). It also measures the melting point and freezing point of the PCM.

What is a TGA (Thermogravametric Analysis)?

This test measures the mass of a sample, over time, as the temperature changes.

What is T-History?

A test that measures melting point, degree of subcooling, thermal conductivity and specific heat of several PCM samples simultaneously. Often considered the best test for PCM analysis.

What is the maximum temperature that the PCM capsules can be exposed to?

Our nextek capsules can typically be exposed to temperatures around ~250°C and our Micronal capsules, typically ~200°C. We determined these temperatures by measuring the amount of mass (weight) the capsule loses when it’s heated above that temperature.

Do you offer free samples?

We offer samples through our development kit samples. These are for sale for the purposes of initial evaluations and testing.

What standard PCM temperatures do you offer?

-30°C, -10°C, 6°C, 18°C, 24°C, 28°C, 32°C, 37°C, and 43°C

Do you offer custom PCM temperatures?

Yes, we offer custom temperatures. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Do you sell the "pure" PCM?

Yes, we sell the phase change material in several forms:
unencapsulated and microencapsulated.

Why would I buy the wet cake version rather than the dry powder version of the micro-encapsulated PCMs?

The wet cake will disperse more readily into aqueous-based systems than the dry powder. Dry powder is preferred if your system is sensitive to water such as polyurethanes or electronics.