News Column

Patent Application Titled "Storage of Temperature-Sensitive Items with Stabilizing Pellets" Published Online

June 12, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor McCormick, Bruce L. (Sante Fe, NM), filed on November 15, 2013, was made available online on May 29, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Pharmaceutical products and many biological materials are temperature sensitive, in that freezing may damage the materials and temperatures that are too high may otherwise spoil the materials. Thus, during shipment and storage of these types of materials, they must often be maintained within a particular temperature range. One common range for such materials during shipment and/or storage is C. Storage containers for such materials may be active or passive with respect to temperature control. For example, a refrigerator is an active storage container and typically includes a refrigeration unit to extract heat from inside the refrigerator to maintain the desired storage temperature. A styrofoam cooler is an example of a passive storage container that relies on thermally insulating materials to retard heat transfer through the container walls. Passive storage containers are sometimes used with ice or some other type of phase change material inside the container to keep the storage area at a stable temperature.

"Both active and passive storage containers experience temperature fluctuations in their respective storage areas. The refrigeration unit of an active container may cycle off and on to maintain the desired temperature in the storage area, with the storage area temperature decreasing during on-cycles and increasing during off-cycles. Compressor-driven refrigeration systems also must be periodically defrosted, which may include heating the evaporator coils inside the refrigerator and an accompanying spike in temperature. The temperature inside some refrigerators can vary by as much as C. or more over the course of a day, depending on the ambient temperature outside the refrigerator, the age of the refrigeration equipment, the number of door openings, defrost cycle conditions, the quality of the insulation of the refrigerator, and/or the location within the refrigerator.

"In a passive storage container, the temperature in the storage area may vary significantly with location inside the container. For example, if the stored contents are in contact with ice at a temperature of C., the stored contents can quickly fall below C., while other regions of the storage area are warmer. In addition, after any phase change material has completely changed phase, the temperature change inside the container is limited only by the insulative properties of the container walls."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "In accordance with one or more embodiments, a method of thermally stabilizing temperature sensitive items during storage comprises the steps of: placing temperature-sensitive contents in a contents container; and burying at least a portion of the temperature-sensitive contents in thermal pellets.

"In accordance with one or more embodiments, a storage system for storing temperature-sensitive contents includes a contents container at least partially filled with thermal pellets, and a thermally-insulated storage container that houses the contents container.


"One or more preferred exemplary embodiments of the invention will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the appended drawings, wherein like designations denote like elements, and wherein:

"FIG. 1 is schematic view of a thermally-stabilized contents container according to one embodiment, shown in use with an insulated storage container, which is optionally an active storage container;

"FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the contents container of FIG. 1, opened to show temperature-sensitive contents surrounded by pellets;

"FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the contents container of FIG. 2;

"FIG. 4 is a flow chart of an illustrative method of thermally stabilizing temperature-sensitive contents during storage; and

"FIG. 5 is a plot of temperature versus time, illustrating a desired effect of thermal stabilization."

For more information, see this patent application: McCormick, Bruce L. Storage of Temperature-Sensitive Items with Stabilizing Pellets. Filed November 15, 2013 and posted May 29, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies, Phase Change Material.

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Source: Politics & Government Week

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