Measurement of water vapour transport through a porous non-hygroscopic material in a temperature gradient

Thor Hansen, Tim Padfield, Kurt Kielsgaard Hansen, Ruut Hannele Peuhkuri

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This was an experiment to identify the driving potential for water vapour diffusion through porous materials in a temperature gradient. The specimen of mineral fibre insulation was placed between a space with controlled temperature and relative humidity and a space with a controlled, higher temperature, and a measured but not controlled relative humidity (RH). This assembly was allowed to reach equilibrium with no vapour movement between the spaces, as tested by a constant RH on each side and by zero flux of water vapour measured in the cold side chamber. The RH and temperature values were converted to partial vapour pressure and to vapour concentration in g/m3. The concentrations proved to be more equal on either side of the specimen than the partial vapour pressures. This supports an argument that it is concentration difference that drives diffusion of gases. Isothermal diffusion cannot be tested experimentally in this way, but it is reasonable to assume that concentration is the driving potential. The close equality of the concentrations makes it unnecessary to invoke temperature difference as a third possible potential for driving diffusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th Nordic Symposium on Building Physics: Nsb 2014
EditorsJesper Arfvidsson, Lars-Erik Harderup, Anders Kumlin, Bitte Rosencrantz
PublisherLund University
Publication date2014
Article number130
ISBN (Print)978-91-88722-51-5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event10th Nordic Symposium on Building Physics - Lund, Sweden
Duration: 15 Jun 201419 Jun 2014
Conference number: 10


Conference10th Nordic Symposium on Building Physics
Internet address


  • Diffusion
  • Potential Partial vapour pressure
  • Vapour concentration
  • Temperature gradient
  • Porous
  • Experimental

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