Selection of a phase change material and its thickness for application in walls of buildings for solar-assisted steam curing of precast concrete

Nan Yu, Chao Chen*, Khamid Mahkamov, Fengtao Han, Chen Zhao, Jie Lin, Lixing Jiang, Yaru Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prefabricated concrete (PC) components require curing at the specific environment after being cast for the concrete to harden to the required levels over a certain period of time. Currently, steam curing is used as the major technique in concrete production. However, this method is highly energy consuming and requires large amounts of fossil fuels. Analysis of thermal process parameters in PC curing and thermal properties of phase change materials (PCMs), developed by the research team at Beijing University of Technology for the greenhouse applications, resulted in the development of the conceptual design of passive solar PC steam curing buildings with on-wall PCM heat storage. The process of selection of the PCM for installation on the inner surface of the main sun-facing wall of solar passive curing buildings is described. The selection is the result of the evaluation of suitable PCMs using the simultaneous process of transient energy consumption simulation with the deployment of EnergyPlus software and one-dimensional unsteady heat transfer modelling across the thickness of the thermal storage. The EnergyPlus simulations were calibrated against experimental data obtained in the curing building in Hebei Province, China. Theoretical simulations for such the building demonstrate that a GH-37 PCM panel with a thickness of 50 mm is suitable for such the application. The temperature range of phase transition for the GH-37 PCM is between 37.4 and 43.5 °C with latent heat equal to 227.5 kJ/kg. Compared to the same case but without PCM, the monthly and nocturnal average temperature of the inner surface of the main sun-facing wall increases by 1.3 °C and 2.7 °C, respectively. The heating load is reduced by 6.4, 5.8, 3.4 and 2.9 GJ in spring, autumn, summer and winter periods, respectively. The amount of annual steam consumption is reduced by 4.7%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-820
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume150
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

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