An analysis of phase change material as thermal mass

Richardson, M. J. and Woods, A. W. (2008) An analysis of phase change material as thermal mass. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 464 (2092). pp. 1029-1056. DOI 10.1098/rspa.2007.0312

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Abstract

Temperature fluctuations within a building can be attenuated by thermal mass. Adding phase change material (PCM) to thermal mass increases the effective heat capacity during the phase transition. This can anchor the temperature of the mass in a narrow band around the melting point of the PCM, further reducing the temperature swings perceived by occupants of the room. A simple dimensionless model for thermal mass forced by a sinusoidally varying air temperature is developed to calculate the performance of the PCM. The mass temperature satisfies the heat equation, with a temperature-dependent thermal diffusivity, and is solved numerically. For a given PCM, the energy stored and returned to the room, the surface temperature amplitude and the penetration depth of heat pulses into a hypothetical semi-infinite mass can all be calculated as a function of a single dimensionless parameter. For optimal performance, the latent heat of the PCM should be as large as possible, the melting temperature range should be narrow and the thickness of the mass should exceed the penetration depth. The PCM wallboard is shown to be potentially as effective as conventional concrete, so lightweight buildings could enjoy the benefits of thermal inertia commonly associated with heavyweight structures.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: BPI
Subjects: 99 - Other
Divisions: 99 - Other
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science
Volume: 464
Page Range: pp. 1029-1056
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspa.2007.0312
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2010 15:19
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:57
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/1483

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