Microencapsulation of PCMs - and new PCMs - are in the offing
Entropy Solutions (Minneapolis) popped into view several years ago with a family of phase-change materials (PCMs) that offered advantages over competing materials. These PCMs went into the Entropy Solutions Greenbox, a tailored packaging solution for temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals; that brand, and certain rights to marketing to life sciences applications, were sold to ThermoSafe, a leading supplier of cold-chain packaging for life sciences and other industries; Entropy and ThermoSafe maintain a collaboration (even after ThermoSafe itself was acquired by Sonoco in late 2011).
Now, Entropy is branching out with diverse new applications for PCMs, as well as broadening its range of PCM formulations, according to Steve Skallerud, VP sales at Entropy. “Our family of PCM formulations is now 260 distinct products, branded as PureTemp,” he says, “and we are developing new PureTemp materials continuously.” In addition, the company is advancing the physical properties of its PCMs, most notably with a recently announced collaboration with Encapsys, a business unit of Appleton (Appleton, WI). Encapsys and Entropy are developing an encapsulated form of PCMs, which could then be combined with nonwoven textiles, paper or other matrices to lend temperature-controlling attributes to, for example, wearable clothing, upholstery or even energy-storage systems. (Thermal blankets for shipping CRT life science products would seem to be an obvious target, and Entropy is working on a blanketing solution for shipping wine, but no pharma-specific product has been announced.)
“Our preferred method of operation is to partner with a leading application developer, as we did with Greenbox,” says Skallerud. “Potential new applications are very broad.” To this end, the company has a button on its website, www.PureTemp.com, to solicit inquiries from academic researchers.