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6th Meeting of the 201st Session (2021-2022)

Cool Crystals – From Hand-warmers to Heating Homes and Tackling Fuel Poverty

Professor Colin Pulham

Professor Colin Pulham

Professor Colin Pulham
Head of the School of Chemistry
University of Edinburgh

On Monday 28th March 2022, at 7pm

This talk will describe how the development of phase-change materials (PCMs) – compounds that absorb heat on melting and release heat on freezing – has led to the commercialisation of compact stores known as "Heat Batteries", developed in partnership with a local industrial company (Sunamp Ltd). These are being used to replace domestic boilers, hot-water tanks and air-conditioning units, and can connect to solar panels and other forms of renewable energy heating and cooling equipment. They can also be used to balance electrical demand from the grid and reduce heating bills for customers, thereby tackling fuel poverty.

Professor Colin Pulham graduated with a DPhil. in Chemistry from the University of Oxford. He moved to the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh in 1992 as a Royal Society University Research Fellow before being appointed as a lecturer in 1996, senior lecturer in 2001, and Personal Chair in High-Pressure Chemistry in 2008. Since August 2015 he has been the Head of the School of Chemistry at the UoE. He is a founding member of the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions at Edinburgh and has research interests in the crystallisation of molecular compounds such as pharmaceuticals, energetic materials (explosives, propellants), fuels, and lubricants, under a range of conditions including elevated pressures and temperatures. He has a long-standing industrial collaboration with a local company (Sunamp Ltd) that is focussed on the development and enhanced understanding of crystalline phase-change materials for compact thermal stores.