Many inorganic phase-change materials (PCMs), including those used in CoolFlux, absorb water from their surroundings. This changes their chemical composition and phase-change properties. Thus, inorganic PCMs must be encapsulated to protect them. In order to reduce the complexity of CoolFlux processing, our team is designing a method to add CoolFlux directly to closed-cell polyurethane foam, an existing insulation material.
Spray polyurethane foam is an increasingly popular building insulation choice. It consists of two liquid precursors that mix together and expand while solidifying, resulting in a rigid, hydrophobic foam. We predict that when CoolFlux is added to one or both precursors, the resulting polyurethane foam will naturally encapsulate the particles, protecting them from water vapor. In addition, the drop-in nature of CoolFlux opens the possibility of incorporating it into other building materials.
The CoolFlux-foam composite will look and feel like regular polyurethane foam, meaning that no extra time or training will be necessary to install it. Our market research indicates that contractors and site managers do not want to lengthen the construction timeline in order to incorporate the extra panels and layers that other PCM products require.