An Exploratory Study on the Use of Phase Change

An Exploratory Study on the Use of Phase Change
Materials as a Concrete Ingredient for Effective
Thermal Management of Building Indoors
Brandon A. Rivera
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Phase Change Materials (PCMs) are microscopic particles capable of absorbing thermal
energy and undergoing state transformations. Due to this characteristic, PCMs have been
considered to be used in building materials to reduce the amount of heat transmitted into building’s
interior (1). PCMs can be organic or inorganic materials, Eutectic mixtures, or Commercial PCM
developed by industries. Research on different applications of these PCMs has been ongoing for the
past 20 years. The concept that drives this research is during the day the external surface of
buildings are exposed to solar radiation, and the building interior gets heated due to thermal
conduction. This results in internal temperature increase, thereby requiring cooling to maintain
occupant comfort. Dependence on air conditioning increases energy costs. Phase Change Materials
when added to concrete as an integral component, have the potential to absorb portions of this
thermal energy as latent heat to facilitate phase change. The energy captured by the PCM will be
released during the night as the source of the thermal energy diminishes; thus returning to its solid
state phase at reduced temperatures. This continuous process will maintain a constant and
comfortable temperature for occupants. The use of PCM in building applications can promote
energy efficiency and reduce the dependence on cooling to sustain desired room temperatures. The
purpose of this exploratory study is to understand the behavior of Micronal DS 5001x and 5008x,
provided by BASF The Chemical Company, when directly and indirectly integrated into concrete by
various methods.
Class of 2013, Civil Engineering, Honors Program, Advisor: Prof. Narayanan Neithalath