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The advantages of phase change material (PCM packs) in thermal packaging


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When it comes to thermal packaging, maintaining the integrity and temperature control of temperature-sensitive products is of paramount importance.

The use of phase change material (PCM) in cooling elements for thermal shipping has attracted considerable attention in recent years. We take a detailed look at what phase change material actually is, how it can be successfully used in cooling elements for thermal shipping and what advantages PCM packs offer.

What is phase change material (PCM)?

Phase change material at a glance

Phase change material (PCM) is a special substance that has the ability to change its physical phase when exposed to a heat or cold source. These materials undergo a phase change between solid, liquid and gas, absorbing or releasing significant amounts of heat during this process.

PCM types and their properties

There are different types of phase change materials, including organic, inorganic and eutectic PCMs. Each type has specific thermal properties that can be utilized in thermal shipping depending on the application.

Phase change material (PCM) in cooling elements

PCM is based on the ability to absorb or release significant amounts of heat during the phase change. This principle is specifically used in cooling elements to enable precise temperature control.

During the melting process, the PCM absorbs heat from the environment, which leads to a cooling effect. Conversely, the solidified PCM releases the stored heat during the solidification process and heats the environment.

PCM elements are not only used to mitigate extreme temperature fluctuations, but also to safely maintain a defined temperature range. This is crucial when products need to be protected from cold or heat damage in environments with very low or very high temperatures.

The advantages of PCM elements in thermal packaging

In recent years, phase change material (PCM) has brought many advantages to thermal packaging:

1. precise temperature control through PCM

PCM’s fundamental function of absorbing and releasing thermal energy during phase change enables precise control of temperatures in thermal packaging. Conventional water-based elements reach their limits here, while PCM fulfils a buffer function, minimizing temperature excursions and thus preserving the quality of temperature-sensitive products.

2. Adaptation to ambient temperatures: effective in extreme conditions

The adaptability of PCM elements to different ambient temperatures makes them an ideal solution for use in extreme conditions. Whether in hot desert climates or arctic temperatures – PCM elements offer reliable temperature control, regardless of the external conditions.

3. Minimization of temperature fluctuations: Preservation of product quality

The use of PCM elements in cooling elements not only minimizes temperature fluctuations, but also ensures a constant temperature over a longer period of time. This is crucial to maintain the quality and integrity of temperature-sensitive products throughout the shipping process.

4. Extended runtimes and shipping delays

The key advantage of PCM cooling elements is the extension of temperature control. Due to their ability to absorb and store heat, the cooling elements remain active over a longer period of time, which is particularly beneficial in situations of unexpected delays in the shipping process.

A unique feature of PCM is its ability to “recharge” in cold stores. This enables an extended running time in the event of unforeseen delays.

Extending the temperature stability significantly reduces the risk of product spoilage and ensures the integrity of the transported products.

5. Sustainability through reusability

Another advantage is the reusability of PCM cooling elements. Companies can therefore reduce their environmental impact while ensuring effective temperature control along the supply chain.

6. Avoid mistakes in the packing process: Same packing process all year round

Universal, year-round packaging solutions reduce sources of error in the packaging process and prevent confusion when selecting the right placement option. With universal placement, the thermal packaging is placed in the same pattern all year round, regardless of the prevailing outside temperatures.

7. PCM as a safe alternative to dry ice

PCM is proving to be a safe and efficient alternative to dry ice, particularly in the air freight sector. The strict regulations, transportation restrictions and potential safety concerns associated with dry ice are eliminated when using PCM.

8. Prevention of cold shocks through PCM

The combination of PCM with frozen cold packs enables effective control and prevention of cold shocks. This is particularly important to protect the quality of temperature-sensitive products during the shipping process.

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Conclusion: An advanced solution for demanding thermal shipping

The use of PCM in cooling elements is undoubtedly an advanced solution for thermal shipping. From cooling to heating to constant temperature maintenance, PCM elements offer a multifunctional solution for companies that rely on precise temperature management. By using this innovative technology, products can be transported safely and at optimum quality, regardless of the external environmental conditions.

Would you like to find out more about how PCM elements can help make your thermal shipping safer?

Our team of experts will be happy to inform you about the wide range of possible applications and customized solutions. Contact us – we will advise and support you in making your thermal shipping more secure and efficient.

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