Phase Change Material (PCM)-technology

Phase change materials (PCMs) are substances that possess the ability to change their physical state from solid to liquid and vice versa in a certain temperature range. During these phase changes, the materials absorb, store, and release large amounts of a kind of heat known as latent heat, without a change in the materials’ temperature. The great heat absorption / heat release process, without any change in the materials’ temperature, makes phase change materials ideal as a means of heat storage.

One everyday example of a phase change material is ice, which melts into water.  Commonly used man-made phase change materials include paraffins and salt hydrates.  In our particular PCM–technology, these PCMs are durably contained in polymeric structures. The polymeric envelopes containing the PCMs are applied to textiles or other carrier materials in the form of coatings and laminations, or are molded into desired shapes.

Shape Memory Material (SMM)-technology

The shape memory effect is the result of a phase transition which occurs at a certain temperature during a heating process.  Due to this phase transition, the shape memory material (SMM) reverts to a shape previously impressed on it during the original production process.  In addition to the shape memory effect, the SMM shows a very useful superelastic behaviour at temperatures above the phase transition temperature.  For example, stents made of SMM, when inserted into the human body, will deploy into their original shape when activated by body temperature and then expand as needed to keep blood vessels open.

A shape memory effect is mainly observed in certain metallic alloys and polymers.  In our special SMM-technology, a two-component, shape memory polymer film is used which can be applied by lamination to textiles or other carrier materials. During product use, a heating process will change one component of the shape memory polymer film from a glassy state into a rubbery state when a certain temperature is reached. This phase transition leads to a more amorphous material structure, resulting in higher elasticity of the material, thus permitting much more moisture transfer through it.  The moisture transfer increases with a rise in the material’s temperature within a given temperature range.  This moisture transfer feature can potentially be used for medical garments and many other products.