Phase Change Materials-Current Potential and Future Direction
Phase Change Materials once were an interesting phenomena in search of applications. This is no longer true. Advances in encapsulating phase change materials into microscopically thin shells permits their insertion into a wide varity of host materials. As the technology has developed, new applications are being found in a wide variety of areas. Some applications include temperature controlled suits for firefighters and military personnel, structural panels that absorb transient heat loads, and high heat capacity cooling fluids. This paper will cover the current applications being studied for these materials and propose possible future applications. In many cases, the application of these materials is only hampered by not enough people being aware of their capabilities. This paper will detail the Phase Change Materials (PCM) effort and future directions as developed by the U.S. Air Force Wright Laboratory's Flight Dynamics Directorate.