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Phase change material

Science

New heat-regulating building material could cut building heating and cooling costs

Researchers at the Ningpo, China campus of the University of Nottingham (UNNC) have created a new heat-regulating material that could be used to cut the heating and cooling costs of buildings. The non-deformed storage phase change material (PCM) can be fixed so that it starts absorbing any excess heat above a pre-determined temperature and releasing stored heat when the ambient temperature drops below the set point. The researchers say the material can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes, even small enough so that it can be sprayed as a microscopic film to surfaces in existing buildings.Read More

Science

IBM demonstrates multi-bit phase-change memory chip

Scientists from IBM Research – Zurich are claiming a world-first, for their recent demonstration of “reliable multi-bit phase-change memory [PCM] technology.” PCM involves the use of materials that change between crystalline and amorphous states, the two states having different levels of electrical resistance – data is stored in a binary fashion, using one level to represent a 0, and the other to represent a 1. By applying new techniques to existing PCM technology, the researchers were reportedly able to write and retrieve data 100 times faster than is possible with Flash.Read More

Science

Phase change materials could be used to develop ‘brain-like’ computers

Unlike human brains that make no real distinction between memory and computation, computers currently deal with processing and memory separately. This means data has to be constantly moved around, resulting in a speed and power “bottleneck.” Now, using phase change materials that can store and process information simultaneously, researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK have developed a new technique that could lead to the development of “brain-like” computers. Read More

Science

New alloy converts heat directly into electricity

The heat given off by electronics, automobile engines, factories and other sources is a potentially huge source of energy, and various technologies are being developed in order to capture that heat, and then convert it into electricity. Thanks to an alloy that was recently developed at the University of Minnesota, however, a step in that process could be saved – the new material is able to convert heat directly into electricity. Read More

Children

Infant Warmer would keep premies safe and warm in developing nations

According to the medical journal The Lancet, approximately 20 million low birth-weight and premature babies are born around the world every year. Of those, about 4 million die within four weeks. Many of those deaths take place because the infants can’t maintain a high enough body temperature on their own, and succumb to hypothermia. Incubators are designed to address this problem, but many hospitals in developing nations can’t afford them, nor can they provide the uninterrupted power supply that the machines require. The San Francisco non-profit group Embrace, however, is developing what could be an effective and affordable alternative – the Infant Warmer.Read More

Good Thinking

Coffee Joulies - just the way Goldilocks likes it

Unless you’re someone who drinks their coffee fast, you likely face a bit of a conundrum when it comes to temperature – either you start with it at the perfect temperature but end up with it getting too cold, or you end up with it cooling down to the perfect temperature by starting with it too hot. Two young entrepreneurs, however, have created a product that they claim quickly cools your hot coffee to the right temperature, but then holds it at that temperature twice as long as it would stay there otherwise. Their product is called Coffee Joulies.Read More

Good Thinking

True Energy refrigerators cool for ten days without power

Any time there’s a prolonged power outage in warm weather, chances are that one of your first thoughts is “What’ll happen to all the food in my fridge?”. Well, imagine if instead of a week’s worth of groceries, your unpowered refrigerator was full of vaccines, vital to the well-being of an entire African village. In rural third world countries, power failures are common, as are high temperatures – not a great combination for things that need to be kept cold. Fortunately, some aid agencies have the option of using a True Energy Vaccine Refrigerator. It can store US$30,000 worth of medicine below 10C (50F) in 43C (109F) ambient temperatures, for over ten days at a time, without power.Read More

Environment

RavenSkin insulation stores up daytime heat for release when temperatures drop

RavenBrick, the company that brought us the smart tinting RavenWindow, has added to its folio of temperature regulating building materials with RavenSkin. Unlike traditional insulation that blocks all heat equally, this innovative wall insulation material absorbs heat during the day to keep the interior cool and slowly releases the stored heat at night to warm the building when the sun goes down.Read More

Good Thinking

Phase change materials for the perfect cup of coffee

You know how it is … you make or buy that perfect cup of coffee or tea only to have it go cold before you’ve finished because the phone rang or your boss interrupted your break with some urgent assignment. Well, there’s great news for coffee-lovers (and tea connoisseurs). Two German scientists have put their heads together to come up with a hot drink receptacle that keeps your beverage at the perfect drinking temperature for up to 30 minutes. Read More

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