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  • Writer's pictureSusie Mehring

Phase Change Materials for a Changing World

Updated: Jun 17


Phase Change Materials and vaccine transportation

The COVID-19 pandemic global health crisis had profound and widespread effects on the world, impacting various aspects of society, economy, health, and daily life. The development and introduction of COVID-19 vaccines occurred at an unprecedented pace, reflecting the urgent global need to control the spread of the virus. The arrival of vaccines brought relief to communities and individuals from the severe health impacts of the virus, preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.


The secure transportation of COVID-19 vaccines is a critical and complex process that requires careful planning and adherence to specific guidelines to ensure the vaccines' safety and effectiveness. Some of the core elements for transporting these vaccines are temperature control, cold chain management and proper packaging.


Since the onset of Covid in 2020, Roper Thermals has played a leading role in ensuring the successful transportation of these critical vaccines.


What role do PCMs play in the successful transportation of Covid vaccines?


Phase change materials (PCMs) play a crucial role in the transportation of the COVID-19 and other vaccines, particularly those that require strict temperature control. They are utilized to help maintain the required temperature range during the transportation of vaccines.


Many COVID-19 vaccines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, require storage at ultra-low temperatures. PCMs are employed to help regulate and maintain these low temperatures during transportation. PCMs also act as thermal energy storage systems. How? They absorb or release heat during the phase transition, effectively maintaining a consistent temperature within a specified range. For vaccines that need to be stored at extremely low temperatures, PCMs can provide a buffer against temperature fluctuations.


PCMs are often integrated into thermal shippers and containers used for vaccine transportation. These containers are designed to keep the vaccines within the required temperature range for an extended period. The PCM undergoes a phase transition to absorb or release heat, stabilizing the internal temperature of the container.


PCMs are particularly useful for the long-distance transport of vaccines, especially when vaccines need to be shipped across borders, to remote areas or to extreme climates. Vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require ultra-cold storage, have been transported to regions where maintaining such low temperatures poses logistical challenges. This includes remote areas, tropical climates, and regions with limited infrastructure for cold chain storage. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine requires ultra-cold storage at around -70°C (-94°F). Similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine also requires freezing temperatures, though not as extreme. It needs to be stored at around -20°C (-4°F) and can remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures for up to 30 days. PCMs help maintain the required temperature during transit, reducing the risk of temperature excursions that could compromise vaccine efficacy.


phase change materials used in vaccine transportation

Additionally, PCMs provide flexibility in the design of thermal packaging and can be tailored to specific temperature ranges based on the requirements of different vaccines.


The use of PCMs is critical for maintaining the integrity of the cold chain, ensuring that vaccines are delivered in optimal condition from the manufacturer to the vaccination sites. This is essential for vaccines that are sensitive to temperature variations and require stringent cold chain management.


In summary

Phase change materials are crucial in maintaining the required temperature conditions during the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines. Roper Thermals continues to be pivotal in helping to ensure that vaccines remain viable and effective, contributing to the success of vaccination campaigns globally.


To learn more contact us at sales@roperthermals.com


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