Selection and testing of phase change materials in the physical models of buildings for heating and curing of construction elements made of precast concrete

Nan Yu*, Chao Chen, Khamid Mahkamov, Irina Makhkamova, Qiong Li, Jing Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Steam is used to provide heating and moisture in the curing process for the production of precast concrete (PC) construction elements. The generation of steam requires large amounts of fossil fuels. This study considers the incorporation of solar thermal energy into the steam curing of PC construction elements for reducing the need for fossil fuels and associated CO2 emissions. For this purpose, the board made of composite phase change material covers the inner surface of the main sun-facing wall in the heating & curing building. The PCM board is heated by sun rays and accumulates thermal energy during the PCM's phase transition, and this energy then is released to the indoor environment of the building, reducing the amount of steam required to maintain a certain level of temperature during the curing process. The energy consumption simulation software, EnergyPlus, and two physical models (built on the scale of 1:3) were used to study the effects of two different PCMs on the thermal performance of such new type of heating & curing buildings. Composite PCMs considered were GH-33 and GH-37 with 33 and 37 °C melting temperatures developed by the research team. The theoretical and experimental results are in good agreement and demonstrate that, compared to the GH-33, GH-37 PCM increases the temperature of the inner surface of the main sun-facing wall and the upper surface temperature of the PC construction element by 3.4 and 1.4 °C, respectively. The heat accumulation and discharge rates also were greater by 62%. For the investigated design of the building and given location in China, the deployment of studied PCM wall panels results in a reduction in the annual energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 58.6 GJ and 5 tons, respectively. The method developed for applying solar energy and selecting PCMs for augmenting steam curing of PC construction elements can be deployed in different geographical regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalSolar Energy
Volume226
Early online date24 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2021

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