Designing microcapsules to save energy in buildings

Conference Dates

April 3-7, 2016


Buildings consume the major portıon of the world’s energy. Improvements in building elements have been proven to significantly reduce this consumption. Integrating phase change materials (PCM) into a building’s parts is an effective solution to reduce energy consumption. PCMs help to maintain thermal comfort, reduce heating, cooling loads as well as improve passive storage of solar energy in buildings. Previous studies have concentrated on impregnating PCMs into materials like concrete mixes, gypsum wall boards, plasters, textured finishes, as well as PCM trombe walls, PCM shutters, PCM building blocks, air-based heating systems, floor heating systems, suspended ceiling boards, etc.[1]. The current challenge is to find a suitable PCM that can be safe, thermally effective and at the same time not adversely effect the durability of a building. PCMs may be in microcapsulated form to meet these challenges. The most common PCM studied previously is paraffin, be it in bulk or microencapsulated. Leakage of paraffin from porous structures, the breaking of microcapsules and the low thermal capacities of microencapsulated PCMs are the main problems that have been observed [2]. Paraffin is a fossil fuel derivative; thus, it is unsustainable. This study focuses on bio-based fatty acid mixtures as PCMs. We developed microcapsules of fatty acid mixtures that were tried in concrete mixes. Our design approach involved the following steps: determining and characterizing PCMs with suitable thermal properties; developing a method to synthesize microencapsulated PCMs; and finally incorporate these materials in buildings for improving thermal comfort and energy conservation.

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