Validation of hygrothermal material modelling under consideration of the hysteresis of moisture storage

Gregor Albrecht Scheffler

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesis

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The achievable accuracy of hygrothermal building component simulation is significantly dependent on the applied material functions. These functions are determined by the material modelling marking the connection between the basic storage and transport parameters which are obtained from basic measurements, and the storage and transport coefficients which are defined within the balance and flow equations. It is the aim of the present study to develop a flexible and widely applicable material model which is not restricted to the current level of the transport theory. Furthermore, limits and options of this model are to be validated by means of four building materials on the basis of special transient moisture profile measurements. The study’s starting point is a comprehensive investigation of both, the different existing modelling approaches and the available experimental methods to determine basic hygrothermal material parameters. On this basis, the material modelling is set into the context of the heat and moisture transport theory derived from thermodynamics. The involved limits and restrictions are highlighted and options as well as requirements for further developments are pointed out. The developments this study focuses on comprise three fields: experiments for basic property determination, material modelling, and experiments for material model validation. The set of basic material investigation methods has been extended by the drying experiment under defined conditions. The different influences on the drying as well as its application to hygrothermal material model calibration are pointed out and appraised. On this basis, a drying apparatus is designed, built and applied. Ultimately, standardisation criteria and the derivation of a single-value drying coefficient are evaluated. Appropriate extensions are indicated. Based on the bundle of tubes approach, an own material model is developed. It is coupled with a mechanistical approach accounting for serial and parallel structured moisture transport phenomena. The derived liquid water conductivity is adjusted by the help of measured conductivity data close to saturation as well as within the hygroscopic moisture range. Subsequently, two internal modelling parameters are calibrated which is done by numerical simulation of the water uptake and the drying experiment under consideration of the hysteresis of moisture storage. Facilitating its application to the obtained laboratory data, the material model has been implemented into a computer program. It is applied to the four building materials brick, lime-sand brick, aerated concrete and calcium silicate. The adjusted material functions are shown and discussed. In all four cases, the calibration provides an excellent agreement between measured and calculated material behaviour. As experimental basis of the material model validation, the instantaneous profile measurement technique (IPM) has been extended to be applied in Building Physics. Special equipment is developed and measurement procedures are designed. Different models to derive the water content from dielectric data obtained by Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) measurements are evaluated and implemented. Ultimately, an extensive program of transient moisture profile measurements within the hygroscopic and the overhygroscopic moisture content range is conducted and evaluated. Within the frame of validation, the developments on the experimental as well as on the modelling fields are combined. The IPM experiments are recalculated on the basis of the measured initial and boundary conditions applying the adjusted and calibrated material functions. The comparison of measured and calculated data reveals the power of the developed material modelling just as the consequences of the simplifications made on the transport theory level. The distinct influences of the hysteresis of moisture storage consisting of effects depending on the process history and effects depending on the process dynamics, are proven. By the presented study, the material modelling has been decisively further developed, the set of basic measurement methods has been extended by a substantial experiment and the instantaneous profile measurement technique has been made applicable to Building Physics. Moreover, the influences of the process history and the process dynamics on the moisture transport and the resulting moisture profiles could be shown and proven. By that, not only a material model is now available which perfectly applies to the requirements of flexibility, applicability and extendability. The obtained data provides also a powerful basis for further research and development.
Keyword: hygrothermal material modelling, material properties, moisture transport, TDR, Instantaneous profile measurements, dynamic effects
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages236
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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