Engineering | Neithalath Lab

  • PCM characterization and property prediction in cementitious systems

Phase change materials (PCMs) are combined sensible-and-latent thermal energy storage materials that can be used to store and dissipate energy in the form of heat. In addition to building energy efficiency, PCMs can be used to restrict/control thermal cracking and freeze-thaw induced damage in concrete. These applications require a fundamental characterization of the influence of several types of PCMs and an understanding of the mechanical response of these systems.  The effect of PCM characteristics (shell thickness and properties) and its interaction effects with other inclusions in the paste are being studied.

  • PCMs for energy efficiency in building envelopes

The incorporation of phase change materials (PCM) in the structural element is one of the promising strategies to develop energy efficient structural materials.  We have developed a finite element-based framework that is used to study the thermal performance of structural precast concrete wall elements with and without a layer of phase change material. A simulation platform is developed, that can be implemented for a wide variety of input parameters. The energy flow through the inside face of the wall, which determines the indoor HVAC energy consumption, is used as the defining parameter in the simulation scheme.