Summary of the technology
A group of researchers from a Portuguese University developed a phase change composite material with high thermal conductivity, dispersed in an aqueous matrix with self-organization, processable in situ and with high potential for use in cold storage systems.
The new material allows to accumulate a large amount of energy in the form of latent heat, the thermal conductivity is improved and, mainly, it eliminates the stability problems of the devices incorporating the material due to the small volume variations in the phase shift.
The university is looking for companies in the field of cold storage systems, to assess the potential integration of this technology in existing commercial equipment and license the technology.
Main advantages of its use
The main advantage of this invention is to present a very small change in volume of the material in the phase transformation, i.e., in the suspension temperature change. This is a major problem presented by currently existing solutions. Moreover, this system has a high thermal conductivity and a high stability.
Together, these three factors are a clear innovation compared to other technologies cold accumulation by phase change.
The proposed method by the university allows the in situ processing of composite materials by emulsification of an organic phase in an aqueous suspension of graphite or another high thermal conductivity phase using surfactants and gelling agents to ensure stability of the emulsion. Gelling of the aqueous phase stabilizes the suspension and prevents coalescence of the droplets of the organic phase (dispersed) ensuring, thereby, the stability of the emulsion and maintaining the microstructural characteristics of the matrix. The particles of high thermal conductivity in suspension improves the thermal conductivity of the suspension and the emulsification of the organic phase in the aqueous matrix takes advantage of opposite changes in volume to minimize the volume changes in the phase change, reducing breakage risks of pipe or encapsulating materials. The final emulsified product is a composite material containing two phase change materials and a third self-organized thermal conductive phase into the aqueous matrix to improve the thermal conductivity.
The industrial and domestic application of the invention is the cold accumulation and can therefore be coupled with cold production systems such as air conditioning systems or chillers.
Intellectual property status
The technology is undergoing laboratory tests.
Desired business relationship
The university aims to license this technology to companies with development or production and marketing capacity of heat accumulation systems or materials. The university is also available to participate in this development through a joint venture project or its subcontracting.