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Open AccessArticle

FEM Applied to Building Physics: Modeling Solar Radiation and Heat Transfer of PCM Enhanced Test Cells

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CONSTRUCT-GEQUALTEC, Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
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ISISE—Institute for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Minho, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
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CONSTRUCT-LFC, Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(9), 2200; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13092200
Received: 3 April 2020 / Revised: 20 April 2020 / Accepted: 23 April 2020 / Published: 2 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Energy Management in Buildings)
In passive solar buildings, energy can be stored using either sensible heat materials or latent heat materials. Phase change materials (PCM) can contribute to temperature control in passive solar buildings when melting occurs near to comfort temperature required for building’s interior spaces. The use of finite element method (FEM) as a numerical methodology for solving the thermal problem associated with heat transfer in current building materials and PCMs make sense, as it is a well-known technique, generalized and dominated, however, still little applied to the domain of building physics. In this work, a solar model was developed and applied in order to simulate numerically the effect of solar radiation incidence on each face of the test cells (with different solar exposures) without neglecting the main objective of the recommended numerical simulation: the study of the action of PCM. During the experimental campaign, two test cells with distinct inner layers were used to evaluate the effect of solar radiation: (i) REFM test cell (without PCM) with a reference mortar; (ii) PCMM test cell (with PCM) with a PCM mortar. The temperatures monitored inside the REFM and PCMM test cells were compared with the values resulting from the numerical simulation, using FEM with 3D discretization and the explicit modeling of the solar radiation, and the obtained results revealed a significant coherence of values. View Full-Text
Keywords: phase change materials; finite element method; solar radiation; test cells; experimental campaign phase change materials; finite element method; solar radiation; test cells; experimental campaign
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Vaz Sá, A.; Azenha, M.; Guimarães, A.; Delgado, J. FEM Applied to Building Physics: Modeling Solar Radiation and Heat Transfer of PCM Enhanced Test Cells. Energies 2020, 13, 2200.

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