Hygrothermal performance of building envelopes: uses for 2D and 1D simulation

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Conference10th Conference on Building Science and Technology Proceedings: 12 May 2005, Ottawa, ON
Pages3241; # of pages: 10
Subjectmodeling, simulation, building envelope, hygrothermal; Hygrothermal properties
AbstractA building's durability depends on controlling heat and moisture within its envelope. Moisture diffuses through porous materials that may suffer mould growth and decay (if wood-based) when left moist and warm for too long. Designers try to keep vulnerable components dry, but materials can start to deteriorate before reaching the dew point temperature. Researchers use two-dimensional hygrothermal modeling to calculate time-varying moisture content and temperature at points on a plane through the building envelope thickness. One-dimensional versions of several research programs have been written to assist designers and other building envelope specialists in their work. This paper compares moisture and temperature histories in two building envelopes exposed to a variety of climatic conditions over three years, as calculated by 2D and 1D versions of one such computer program. The 2D calculations come from reports on a methodology for moisture management of wood-frame walls, published in 2003 by a consortium of industry and research partners. Results for a face-sealed stucco wall with rain entry by diffusion only (no seal deficiencies) showed reasonable agreement between 2D and 1D, whereas those for a brick wall with a ventilated air space diverged considerably. With due respect for limitations, 1D simulation can give a first indication of the differences in performance of a wall exposed to different climates, or between different wall assemblies. In some cases the user should consider following up with 2D simulation or field monitoring.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number48156
NPARC number20378024
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Record identifierfdc5cb7e-053c-44d8-8934-a6773b131aff
Record created2012-07-24
Record modified2016-05-09
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