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To design a coffee cup that will maintain the coffee at the optimal drinking temperature for several hours using Phase Change Material, PCM. The importance of this project is designing a coffee cup that will retain its temperature for a prolonged period of time giving the consumer plenty of time to finish their coffee at the desired consumption temperature. We designed a double walled cup that would contain the PCM. Heat transfer calculations were done for different materials such as acrylic, glass, and stainless steel with various thicknesses for each material. These calculations were used to decide on the ideal material the cup should be made out of and the optimum thickness of the material. Rigorous experimentations have been done with the PCM showing the relationship between temperature and time for both melting and cooling the PCM. These experimentations were used to determine the amount of PCM needed per volume of coffee. Based off the preliminary heat transfer calculations, material pricing and availability, it has been concluded to manufacture the cup out of either glass or acrylic for the best results. Once the coffee is poured into the cup, the PCM will begin to melt, immediately activating the PCM. This will instantly cool the coffee to the optimal drinking temperature of 60°C and maintain the temperature of the coffee around 60°C for several hours. We anticipate that the PCM will be able to keep the coffee hot for at least twice as long while, cooling the coffee to drinking temperature in minutes. The PCM will melt at 60°C and will absorb the heat until the temperature of the coffee drops below 60°C. When this happens the PCM will then begin to solidify and radiate heat to warm the coffee back up to optimal temperatures.

Publication Date



mechanical and nuclear engineering, coffee


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

James McLeskey

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Hooman Tafreshi

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2015

The Perfect Coffee Cup