Aug 022012
 

There are many applications of PCMs in diverse fields (medical, botanical, sports).

Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid UPM have patented gypsum boards able to store thermal energy that can reduce up to 40% of energy consumption of a building.

The boards, that are combined with passive strategies (sunlight, natural airing), can reduce energy consumption in building up to 40% what contributes to mitigate the problem of energy crisis, particularly in Spain that we import the 80% of energy.

The research carried out by the group Department of Building and Architectural Technology at the E.T.S. of Architecture of the UPM is based on the incorporation of phase change materials (PCMs) to the boards. This new constructive element is able to store in a 1.5 of thickness, five times the thermal energy of a conventional gypsum board with the same thickness. As a result, this research has achieved to keep local temperature where the board is installed within the comfort area (20-30ºC) without need of air conditioning systems. In addition, the repayment period is between one and two years.

PCMs are substances that store or release thermal energy by latent heat.
Throughout the day, the “energy surplus” (they come from sunlight, electrical appliances, and users) encourages its liquefied, avoiding the local overheating. Throughout the night, when the outside temperature drops, they solidify by releasing the stored energy to the environment, avoiding subcooling. The effect is similar to a thick and heavy wall of high thermal inertia.

There are many applications of PCMs in diverse fields (medical, botanical, sports). Since the early 80’s, the PCMs applied to buildings are studied to be integrated in building elements (concrete, plaster, ceramic, glass).

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via AlphGalileo Foundation
 

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