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Old 12-08-2011, 07:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
Galane
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IIRC, Volvo experimented with phase change materials in an insulated container, heated by engine coolant. Something about it in the early 1980's in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics.

They abandoned the idea due to size and weight and the insulation materials available had to be too thick to make it practical.

But with advances in insulation technology, the overall size and weight can be reduced while making the amount of PCM large enough to be useful.

For a vehicle used every day, there needs to be enough PCM with good enough insulation to keep it liquid at least 24 hours. Another thing is the vehicle must be driven long enough each time to "recharge" the PCM.

If you don't run long enough to fully heat up the PCM tank, then it's just wasted weight.

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