Understanding Phase Change Material (PCM)

PCMs are substances that can store and release large amounts of energy to maintain a specific temperature range over a long period of time.

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Organic PCM's

Examples

  • Paraffins (Wax)
  • Fatty Acids (Oils)
  • Polyglycols

Key Advantages

  • Chemically stable
  • High enthalpy (high heat storage)
  • Highly stable
  • No loss of effectiveness with cycling
  • Can be microencapsulated

How do PCMs work?

A phase change material absorbs and releases thermal energy in order to maintain a regulated temperature.

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10 Facts about Phase Change Materials

Can phase change materials (PCM) be a valuable part of a thermal management solution? These ten facts can help you answer that question and determine what PCM might be right for you.

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Why Use PCMs?

Phase change materials are unique as they provide completely passive thermal regulation – no power is needed to create this thermal regulation. In addition, PCMs can be used over and over again.

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Energy savings to owners when used in the construction of buildings and structures.

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Cool small electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones when space for active cooling systems is not available.

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Provide thermal regulation for textiles in a wide variety of areas including: active wear, infant car seats, hospital linens, outdoor gear, and more.

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Provide a better night’s sleep through thermally regulated mattresses, pillows, linen, and other bedding products.

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Keep temperature-sensitive products (pharmaceuticals, vaccines, food products, etc.) at the right temperature during transit.

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Heating and cooling relief in remote locations without access to electricity.

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Heat storage and release in conjunction with alternative energy systems.

Which PCM is Right for You?

Due to the many advantages, we concentrate specifically on organic PCMs. Microtek offers PCMs in three main forms:

Each of these forms has its' own unique advantages and is best suited to certain applications.

Description

This is a PCM Blend in its' simplest form. The material is a solid below its' melt point and a liquid above its' melt point.

How to Use

The material can be melted above its' melt point and then poured into the suitable container (pouch, piping, plastic molded parts, etc.).

Forms Offered

Not Applicable

Custom Temperatures

Available upon request.

Available Standard Melt Points

-30°C, -10°C, 6°C, 18°C, 24°C, 28°C, 32°C, 37°C, 43°C and 58°C.

Example Applications

Shipping and packaging, solar energy systems, radiant heat flooring, industrial/commercial apparel (work vests, etc.), thermal pouches and custom applications.

Description

Encapsulation of the PCM creates a tiny, microscopic container for the PCM. This means that regardless of whether the PCM is in its' solid or liquid state, the PCM will be contained. The capsules have excellent chemical and thermal stability (250°C+).

How to Use

The PCM microcapsules can be incorporated directly onto textiles, into latex or PU foams, into adhesives, into insulation, etc.

Forms Offered

Slurry: Mean capsule diameter: 2-3 um, 35- 45% solids aqueous suspension

Wet cake: Mean capsules diameter: 14-24 um, ~70% solids, 30% water

Dry powder: Mean capsule diameter: 14-24 um; >97% solids

Custom Temperatures

Available Upon Request

Standard Melting Points

Slurry form: 24°C, 28°C, and 32°C.

Wet cake and dry powder forms: -10°C, 6°C, 18°C, 24°C, 28°C, 32°C, 37°C, 43°C

Example Application

Apparel: active wear, jackets, undergarments, hunting, outdoor gear, etc.

Bedding: latex and foam mattresses, pillows, linens, toppers, ticking

Construction: insulation, roofing, flooring, cement, paint, adhesives

Electronics: portable devices, instrumentation, automotive, defense

Where are PCMs Used

What type of PCM is a good fit for your application?

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