Buoyant Platform Assembly Improves PCM Thermal Management

Simplifies and aids in solidification for phase change material applications


Using a buoyant platform that passively floats above solid phase change material (PCM) but stays below the liquid PCM state, this innovation improves and simplifies thermal management for energy storage, recuperative processes, environmental controls, and more. This technology developed by Georgia Tech improves thermal discharge (even for types of PCMs that are more difficult to solidify) by progressively moving the heat sink through the liquid PCM region and incorporating agitation. It uses extensible refrigerant lines to prevent the common problem of growing thermal resistance when path lengths increase between the phase-change front and the heat sink. Liquid PCM is passively moved through the solidification process with minimal or no thermal resistance (or contact resistance gaps) forming on the heat sink.



Contact Information

Georgia Tech Office of Technology Licensing
Email: techlicensing@gtrc.gatech.edu


  • Dr. Comas Haynes

Patent Status

U.S. Application Filed


This vertical cross-sectional concept of Georgia Tech’s buoyant platform during thermal discharge illustrates how liquid PCM flow is induced in a relative downward manner as a whip rod facilitates solidification. The platform passively elevates to remain above the bulk solid/slurry front, given engineered buoyancy. Solid PCM is indicated by the triangles shown collecting at the bottom, and liquid PCM is indicated by the wavy lines toward the top.