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Last edited 19 Dec 2016
Advanced phase change materials
Materials that can store latent heat (energy released or absorbed by a material or a thermodynamic system at constant-temperature process) during the phase transition are called phase change materials (PCMs). PCMs latent heat transition can be achieved with solid-solid, solid-liquid, solid-gas, and liquid-gas phase change. However, only solid-liquid phase change is used in advanced PCMs at commercial level, since other methods require large volume and high pressure.
Depnding on the technology of the material used, advanced PCMs are broadly categorised as:
Organic PCMs are further classified as paraffin and non-paraffin materials; these materials melt and freeze repetitively without phase isolation and resulting degradation of their latent heat of fusion. Inorganic phase change materials are further classified in salt hydrate and metallic. These advanced PCMs do not withdraw heat significantly and their heats of fusion do not decay with cycling. Bio-based advanced PCMs are mostly derived from plant oil or animal fat and poses higher biodegradability.
Depending on their application in different fields, advanced PCMs can be categories as building and construction, energy storage, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), shipping and transportation, and others including textiles and protective clothing.
Europe is the largest market for advanced PCMs followed by North America and Asia Pacific. Increased construction works due to urbanisation is expected to boost the advance PCMs market in Asia Pacific region in coming years.
Paraffin based advanced PCMs (organic PCMs) hold the largest market share while, with increasing concern over environment issues, and strict regulation against biodegradability, bio-based PCMs are expected to have the fastest growth in coming years.
The global trend towards energy saving, sustainable development, biodegradable materials, increasing construction due to surge in urbanisation and advancement in packaging science is driving the market for advanced PCMs. However, the harmful nature of chemicals used as PCMs is expected to inhibit the growth of the market.
Some of the global leading manufacturers of advanced PCMs are, Advansa B.V, BASF SE, Ciat Group, Cryopak Inc., Datum Phase Change Ltd., E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And Company, Emco Klimatechnik Gmbh & Co. KG, Ewald Dörken AG, Honeywell Electronic Materials Inc., Laird PLC, Micron Technology Inc., Outlast Technologies LIC, PCM Energy P. Ltd, Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc., Phase Change Material Products Limited, Rgees LIC, Rubitherm Technologies GMBH, SALCA BV, SGL Group, The Bergquist Company Inc., Climator Sweden AB, Entropy Solutions Inc., Microtek Laboratories Inc., Pluss Polymers Pvt. Ltd. and Sonoco Products Co.
Croda, a UK based global chemical producer, supply CrodaThermTM bio-based PCMs.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Assessing the performance of Phase Change Materials in buildings.
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- Dynamic thermal modelling of closed loop geothermal heat pump systems.
- Evaporative cooling.
- Heat transfer.
- Latent heat.
- Phase change.
- Phase change materials.
- The thermal behaviour of spaces enclosed by fabric membranes.
- Thermal comfort.
- Thermal labyrinths.
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