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New Coffee Mug Holds Liquids at Optimal Temps for 8 Hours

January 5th, 2017

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – On the outside, Hongbin “Bill” Ma’s travel mug looks like an ordinary metal coffee mug used by commuters every day. However, the mug houses a specially designed material developed by the University of Missouri engineer, which absorbs the initial heat of the coffee and brings it to the optimal drinking temperature. Then, as the coffee begins to cool further, the material releases that heat back into the coffee, extending the optimal temperature for much longer than a standard vacuum-sealed travel mug.

A Mug that Keeps Coffee Warmer Longer

“Our mugs have made the ordinary travel coffee mug a thing of the past,” said Ma, the C.W. LaPierre Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the MU College of Engineering. “Our mug takes about two minutes to cool to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal drinking temperature, and it stays there for up to eight hours. Users will wonder how they ever survived being scalded by their coffee or how quickly other mugs allowed their hot tea to become too cold to drink.”

Developed by Ma through his company, ThermAvant Technologies, the secret of the mug is phase-change material and advanced heat transfer, which is capable of storing and releasing high amounts of energy. Because of its vacuum insulation, the mug also can keep cold beverages cold for hours on end.

Mizzou’s Economic Development Impact

Products produced by Ma and ThermAvant highlight the University’s impact on the state’s economic development efforts, including commercialization of research conducted at Mizzou, workforce development and job growth, quality of life improvements for residents, and attracting corporations and businesses to the state. Over the last five years, companies commercializing MU technologies have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and grants to advance their commercialization efforts. ThermAvant currently employs 13 engineers and staff at their headquarters in Columbia.

Editor’s Note: