Bio-based phase change materials for temperature-controlled packaging
We create, make and sell bio-based phase change materials (PCMs) that can be used in passive temperature-controlled packaging. Our range of PCMs keep goods at a specific temperature for sustained periods of time, so that they can reach the end destination in the same condition as the goods sent out.
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What is temperature-controlled packaging?
Temperature sensitive products such as pharmaceuticals, vaccines and biological materials are required to be maintained within a pre-defined temperature range to ensure that the product quality is preserved.
As such, shipping systems must comply with regional regulations. In the EU, the good distribution practice (GDP) guidelines (2013/C 343/01) require distributors of pharmaceuticals to “demonstrate that the medicines have not been exposed to conditions that may compromise their quality” and this type of legislation is being adopted around the world.
What cold-chain packaging options are available?
Active shippers comprise in-built means of cooling and heating to achieve a stable payload temperature regardless of the external ambient conditions, but significant disadvantages are their size and weight as well as the high up-front cost.
Passive shippers regulate the temperature of the payload by passively managing heat flow between the external environment and the shipper payload.
The primary components from outside to inside are the container (box), insulation layer, thermal buffer elements i.e. ice packs or phase change material (PCM) packs and payload at the centre.
Reusable passive shippers consist of durable box often with hollow walls containing insulation. PCM packs are arranged around the centrally located payload. Single use shippers include disposable insulated cardboard cartons and Styrofoam boxes.
Much attention is given to the packaging of products to avoid temperature excursions during the temperature-controlled supply chain.
Temperature-controlled shipping containers and packaging (“shippers”) are a critical part of the cold chain. These packaging solutions are usually a result of both material and system engineering.
Figure 1: A typical temperature controlled shipping container, which uses insulative foam, and PCMs.
Key factors for passive temperature control
Insulation slows down heat flow between the inside and outside of the shipper while the PCM absorbs or releases heat as required to stabilise the payload temperature. Insulation and PCM are the key components working together to regulate payload temperature.
Key factors influencing the all-important temperature/time profile of the payload are:
- Ambient temperature profile of the shipping lane
- Thickness and thermal conductivity of the insulation material
- The quantity and quality of the PCM.
Figure 2: Temperature profile of external ambient temperature and the temperature controlled package. Goods are kept at a consistent temperature despite varying external conditions.
What is meant by “quality” of the PCM?
By the term “quality” we mean the main properties of the PCM dictating performance in the application. For temperature controlled packaging:
- Phase change temperature range (melting & freezing)
- Heat capacity (latent heat of fusion).
PCM in a solid state protects against heat gain from higher ambient temperatures by absorbing latent heat during melting. An efficient PCM will melt entirely within a narrow temperature range below the upper temperature limit of the payload.
PCM in a liquid state protects against heat loss due to colder ambient conditions by releasing latent heat during freezing (crystallisation). An efficient PCM will freeze entirely within a narrow temperature range above the lower temperature limit of the payload.
Pre-conditioning of the PCM is important to ensure it is in the correct physical state (solid or liquid) prior to use.
PCMs provide a combination of high latent heat capacity and sharp melting and freezing profiles ideal for effective and efficient temperature regulation. Examples of Phase change material products for isothermal packaging:
|2-8°C||Phase change material 5; Phase change material 6|
|+/- 10°C||Phase change material 9.5|
|15-25°C||Phase change material 19; Phase change material 21; Phase change material 24W|
|+/- 37°C||Phase change material 37|
Phase Change Material 21
Phase change material 21 is a readily biodegradable phase change material used in temperature controlled packaging and thermal energy storage applications.
Phase Change Material 24W
Phase change material 24W is a unique phase change material in the Phase change material brand, whereby it exhibits a wide melting and crystallisation profile, providing an excellent solution in...
Phase Change Material 29
Phase change material 29 is ideal for use in textiles, HVAC and applications requiring above room temperature thermal management. Phase change material 29 has low flammability and is readily...
Phase Change Material 5
Phase change material 5 is our best selling phase change material for temperature controlled packaging solutions. Its unique thermal profile with sharp melting and crystallisation peaks protects goods...
Phase Change Material 53
Phase change material 53 is a high temperature PCM, used in energy storage applications to manage heat effectively.
Phase Change Material 6.5
Phase change material 6.5 is another one of our best selling phase change materials for temperature controlled packaging applications.
Phase Change Material 9.5
Phase change material 9.5 is a PCM on our range that is well used in temperature controlled packaging, where goods are shipped in isothermal containers which can keep the temperature of goods...
Phase Change Material 37
Phase change material 37 can be used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to reduce energy consumption through free cooling.
Phase Change Material 60
Phase change material 60 is used in battery thermal management and industrial heating systems to increase the thermal potential of heat management systems when capacity is limited.
Phase change materialsLow, ambient and high temperature solutions
High-performing, 100% USDA Certified bio-based phase change materials for storage and release of thermal energy.Read more