Education

How to Sell: Understanding Phase Change Science

While it might seem like textile voodoo or some sort of strange science, there are materials out there that help textiles keep the skin cool when heating up, and warm when cooling down. We make science easy with the SNEWS® Retail College Understanding Phase Change materials chapter so you'll quickly sound like an expert when trying to explain the "magic" to your customers.


While it might seem like textile voodoo or some sort of strange science, there are materials out there that help textiles keep the skin cool when heating up, and warm when cooling down. We make science easy with the SNEWS® Retail College Understanding Phase Change materials chapter so you’ll quickly sound like an expert when trying to explain the “magic” to your customers.

Phase change material (PCM) technology was originally developed for NASA in 1987 in partnership with Triangle Research and Development as a way to protect astronauts from extreme temperature fluctuations. As an improvement on the water-cooled and bulky suits worn by early astronauts, the suits made with PCM technology were far more comfortable to wear and either absorbed heat from the astronaut or gave it back depending on surrounding temperatures.

Although PCM technology sounds mysterious and magical, the materials are pure science…nothing voodoo about it. The term “phase change material” refers simply to any material that changes its state from solid to liquid or from liquid to gas within certain temperature ranges. Ice cubes, for example, are technically a phase change material: They change from a solid to a liquid form as they are cooling drinks or icing an injury. It did not take long for textile companies to become enamored with PCM since the technology promised to help these same companies engineer fabrics that would help to regulate skin microclimate temperature, thereby improving textile performance and consumer comfort. It’s pretty cool science, and we make it easier to understand than it ever has been. How? We are fluent both in lab rat and consumer speak.

Click on the image to the right or simply click here to access the easy-to-read digital flip training guide to selling products with Phase Change materials, written by SNEWS President Michael Hodgson.

A printed version of this digital flipbook was mailed to more than 1,000 specialty retail shops earlier in June 2011, and it is the second in a series of special Retail College How To Sell chapters the SNEWS team will be producing through the rest of the year.

If you would like to have your store’s name added to our mailing list to receive future training chapters, or if you are a manufacturer and would like to find out how you can work with SNEWS in producing a future “How To Sell” guide, contact our sales manager, Elizabeth Averbeck at eaverbeck@aimmedia.com.