Low-cost thermal shield for rapid diagnostic tests using phase change materials

[+] Author and Article Information
Luis R Soenksen Martinez

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

David A Martínez-Corona

Department of Animal Sciences, Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Camí de Vera, s/n, 46022 València, Spain

Sofía Iñiguez de Gante

School of Design, National College of Art and Design of Ireland, 100 Thomas St, Merchants Quay, Dublin D08, Ireland

Pierre S Phabmixay

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Mauricio J Marongiu Maggi

PCM Thermal Solutions Inc., 13400 South Route 59, Ste. 116-264, Plainfield, IL 60585, USA

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038898 History: Received July 14, 2017; Revised December 12, 2017


The shelf life of point-of-care and rapid diagnostic tests (POC-RDTs) is commonly compromised by abrupt temperature changes during storage, transportation, and use. This situation is especially relevant in tropical regions and resource-constrained settings where cold chain may be unreliable. Here, we report a novel and low-cost passive thermal shield design using a laminated Phase Change Material (PCM) to prevent thermal overload in POC-RDTs. Validation of the proposed design was done through numerical simulation and testing of a thin octadecane shield prototype in contact with a lateral flow immunoassay. The use of our thermal shield design provided >30 min delay in thermal equilibration under constant and oscillating heat load challenges resembling those of field use. The use of a thin PCM protection near reaction zones of rapid tests, such as the one proposed in this work, can be a cost-effective, scalable and reliable solution to provide additional thermal stability to POC-RDTs.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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