JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2023.2185483 ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING Mock-up test on the application of phase change materials in underfloor radiant heating system in apartments a b b Seong Eun Kim , Yong Woo Song and Jin Chul Park a b Graduate School, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea; School of Architecture and Building Science, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 1 November 2022 Apartment housing in South Korea mainly uses underfloor radiant heating systems. However, Accepted 22 February 2023 the performance of these systems has not improved significantly in recent years. The heat storage capacity of the floor influences the heating energy required and impacts the comfort KEYWORDS level of occupants. Thermal energy storage materials, such as phase change materials (PCMs), Apartment housing; can be employed to increase the heat storage capacity. This study aims to investigate the underfloor radiant heating appropriate installation position and phase change temperature of PCMs applied to an under- system; phase change floor radiant heating system. Two mock-up tests were conducted. First, the PCM was installed material; mock-up test on the top, side, and bottom of the heating pipe, and the floor surface temperature was compared with that of a conventional floor structure in each case. Second, PCMs with phase change temperatures of 34 and 43 ℃ were installed in different rooms, and the floor surface temperatures were compared. The results indicated that PCMs should ideally be installed at the bottom of the heating pipe, and a phase change temperature of 34 ℃ is appropriate for use in Korean underfloor radiant heating systems. 1. Introduction capacity owing to cost constraints. Therefore, to In Korea, apartment housing accounts for approxi- improve the heat storage capacity of underfloor heat- mately 53.2% of all residential buildings (Ministry of ing systems at the same thickness, it is necessary to Land, Infrastructure and Transport 2020), which pri- investigate the development of alternative materials marily use underfloor radiant heating systems. This and structures to concrete and cement mortar. system consists of a base, insulating, filling, piping Thermal energy storage materials, such as phase (heating pipe), and top finishing layers, in accordance change materials (PCMs), can be used to increase the with the “regulations for facilities in buildings” (see heat storage capacity. PCMs can store energy and Figure 1). Specifically, the base layer is a concrete slab maintain a specified temperature (Fleischer 2015; Sarı that constitutes the lowest or inter-story floor. The 2004). PCMs can store 5 to 14 times more heat per unit insulating layer is installed on top of it to prevent volume than water, bricks, or rocks (Sharma et al. heat loss through the base layer. Next, the filling layer 2009). Several studies have been conducted on the is installed to adjust the height of the structure or to architectural application of this material. It can be improve the soundproofing and insulation perfor- applied to a structure by mixing microencapsulated mance. In general, the height is leveled using cement PCM with gypsum to create plaster wallboards mortar, concrete, and autoclaved lightweight concrete. (Lachheb et al. 2017) or by directly using PCM mixed On top of this layer, the piping layer is installed with with mortar (Cunha, Aguiar, and Tadeu 2016). PCM can the appropriate positioning of heating pipes, followed also be inserted into the holes in bricks (Vicente and by the pouring of cement mortar. Finally, flooring Silva 2014) for thermal applications. Additionally, it is materials are installed. In this approach, the filling possible to add PCM layers to walls (Panayiotou, and piping layers serve as thermal energy storage Kalogirou, and Tassou 2016) and roofs (Pasupathy layers to maintain the temperature of the floor over et al. 2008) or attach PCM tiles (Chung and Park 2016) an extended period of time. In the system, a hot-water to roofs. Particularly, the use of PCM in a building heater based on a boiler transmits heat to the concrete structure is effective in controlling time lag and peak floor structure via piping. The heat storage capacity of temperature. It has also been reported that ventilation the floor influences the required heating energy, efficiency and energy performance are improved when directly impacting the occupants’ comfort. However, PCM is used in heat exchangers (Promoppatum et al. it is not feasible to substantially increase the thickness 2017) or thermal storage systems (Gholamibozanjani of the floor structure to improve the heat storage and Farid 2020) in ventilation systems. Recently, CONTACT Jin Chul Park email@example.com School of Architecture and Building Science, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Korea © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent. 2 S. E. KIM ET AL. Figure 1. Configuration of a underfloor radiant heating system in Korea. Figure 2. Framework of mock-up test. machine learning technology is used to improve per- phase change temperature of the heating system used formance by combining with PCM-based building in the existing studies is in the range of 27 to 45 °C cooling and ventilation systems(Zhou et al. 2020a; (Zhou and He 2015; Mazo et al. 2012; Cheng et al. 2015; Zhou et al. 2020b; Zhou and Liu 2023) Lu, Xu, and Tang 2020; Larwa, Cesari, and Bottarelli Particularly, the application of PCM in underfloor 2021). This temperature range had a very large interval. radiant heating is known to improve the duration of Since the phase change temperature may vary heating and comfort compared to conventional struc- depending on the temperature of the supplied hot tures. Zhou et al. (Zhou and He 2015) reported that the water and the conditions for setting the indoor tem- application of PCM can double the heat dissipation perature, it is necessary to suggest an appropriate time compared to sand and maintain the indoor tem- phase change temperature according to the general perature within a comfortable range. Lin et al. (Lin et al. climate of Korea, indoor temperature, hot water supply 2005) proposed a dry construction method in which temperature, etc. flooring materials mixed with electric panels and PCM Therefore, in this study, comparative tests were con- were installed. They reported that daytime energy ducted focusing on the PCM installation position and costs are reduced because heat storage is performed phase change temperature in an underfloor radiant at night when electricity rates are low. Xia et al. (Xia heating system to achieve optimal heating perfor- and Zhang 2016) and Park and Kim (Park and Kim mance. Ideally, the findings will lead to increased 2019) confirmed that a higher floor temperature can PCM application in apartment underfloor radiant heat- be maintained in PCM floors than in existing floor ing systems, resulting in optimal heating and energy structures. savings. However, most of the studies on PCM floor heating so far have mainly considered the heat capacity of PCM. There is no study considering the installation 2. Materials and methods location and phase change temperature of PCM. In 2.1. Mock-up test overview a similar study, there is a study on convection and temperature changes inside the packing according to In this study, two mock-up tests were conducted to the location where heat is applied to the PCM (Peng determine the appropriate PCM installation position et al. 2019; Zhang et al. 2021). But research on heat and phase change temperature.(see Figure 2) First, transfer characteristics when materials with different PCM was installed on the top, side, and bottom of characteristics are combined, such as floor radiation the piping in a conventional Korean underfloor radiant heating structures, is insufficient. In addition, the PCM heating system to investigate the effect of the JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 installation position. Here, two identical mock-up In the PCM floor structure, the heat storage and rooms (1) were built indoors. The conventional and transfer characteristics are different because the finish - PCM underfloor radiant heating systems were sepa- ing mortar and PCM are applied together. Therefore, rately installed in the two rooms to compare the tem- the temperature delay time and construction may vary perature change over time and delay time between depending on the installation position of the heating the rooms. pipe and PCM. In the underfloor heating system, PCM Second, the appropriate PCM phase change tem- was installed on the (a) top, (b) side, and (c) bottom of perature for use in the underfloor radiant heating sys- the heating pipe (see Figure 4), and the temperature tem was determined. Here, two identical mock-up change characteristics for each position were rooms (2) were constructed outdoors. PCMs with compared. phase change temperatures of 34 ℃ and 43 ℃ were installed separately in the two rooms, and the tem- perature changes associated with the PCMs were 2.3. Mock-up room configuration measured. 2.3.1. Mock-up room (1): comparative test according to the PCM installation position Two identical mock-up rooms, each having a floor area 2 3 2.2. PCM underfloor radiant heating system of 3.50 m and volume of 8.4 m , were constructed (see structure Figure 5). A conventional underfloor radiant heating system was installed in Room 1 and the PCM system in The typical underfloor radiant heating systems used in Room 2. PCM was installed on the top, side, and bot- apartment housing in Korea are outlined in the “struc- tom of the heating pipe, and a comparative test was tural standards on inter-floor impact sound insulation performed with the standard floor structure of Room 1. for noise prevention (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport 2018)”. The floor structure consists of cushioning material (insulating layer), autoclaved light- 2.3.2. Mock-up room (2): comparative test weight concrete (filling layer), and finishing mortar according to the PCM phase change temperature (piping layer). The type preferred by construction com- Two mock-up rooms, each having a volume of 13.2 m panies is shown in Figure 3. Here, the finishing mortar and a floor area of 5.5 m , were constructed using 100- of the piping layer dissipates and stores the heat mm prefabricated panels and installed outdoors (see obtained from the heating pipe. Figure 5). These two rooms were in the center of the Increasing the thickness of the finishing mortar four consecutive mock-up rooms, and an insulation of layer can increase the heat storage capacity at the 20 mm was added to the side walls to prevent heat loss. cost of the indoor floor height (see Figure 3). Additionally, 250 T extruded insulation boards were Therefore, utilizing PCMs with higher heat storage installed in the walls between the rooms to minimize capacity, compared to conventional mortar in the thermal bridging. The same 28-m heating pipe was floor structure, could effectively improve this para- installed in the two rooms, and blackout curtains were meter without increasing the thickness. installed at each window to block out direct sunlight. Figure 3. Standard floor structure in Korea. Figure 4. PCM installation position of the pipe: (a) top, (b) side, and (c) bottom. 4 S. E. KIM ET AL. Figure 5. Dimensions and layout of mock-up rooms. Table 1. Properties of applied PCMs. PCM Type 43 ℃ PCM* 34 ℃ PCM** Packing Chemical name n-docosane n-eicosane Molecular Weight 310 g/mol 282 g/mol Typical Latent Heat Capacity 63.9 Wh/kg 57.8 Wh/kg Specific Heat Capacity 0.6 Wh/kg 0.6 Wh/kg Heat Conductivity 0.2 W/m·K 0.2 W/m·K Volume Expansion 12.5% 12.0% Phase Change Temperature 40 to 43 ℃ 31 to 34 ℃ *Company Sasol, PARAFOL 22–95 **Company Sasol, PARAFOL 20Z. Figure 6. Locations of sensors. The current standard floor structure applied to ℃ was selected based on the results of a study by Mock-up room (1) was also applied to Mock-up room Beak and Park (Baek and Park 2017). It allows for (2); however, the autoclaved lightweight concrete was a comfortable indoor heating temperature of 22 ℃ removed such that the heat energy received from the and a floor surface temperature of 28–30 ℃, based pipe could be completely transferred to the PCM and on domestic recommendations. The 43 ℃ PCM has upper mortar; the PCM was positioned at the bottom a latent heat capacity of 63.9 Wh/kg (see Table 1). of the pipe. A total of 20 kg of this material was used by preparing 0.2 kg units using an aluminum packing material. In the second comparative test, the 43 ℃ PCM and 2.4. PCM types and properties n-eicosane PCM with a latent heat capacity of 57.8 Wh/ kg and a phase change temperature of 31–34 ℃ (here- In the first comparative test, n-docosane PCM with after, 34 ℃ PCM) were applied (see Table 1). The 34 ℃ a phase change temperature (melting point) of 40–43 PCM was installed in Room 3 and the 43 ℃ PCM in ℃ (hereafter, 43 ℃ PCM) was applied. A PCM with Room 4 using the same PCM amount (20 kg). a phase change temperature in the range of 32–45 JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 Table 2. Measuring instrument. Category Measurement sensor Data collection Product name T-type thermocouple midi LOGGER GL820 Measurement range −250 to 350 ℃ - Error range ±0.5 ℃, ±0.4% ±3% Figure 7. Changes in the average floor surface temperature of the heating cycle for each case. 2.5. Measurement conditions and boiler h for each case, in which four heating cycles could be operation schedule repeated. Unlike the first test, the boiler was set to operate Temperature sensors were installed at the center of continuously to maintain the same indoor temperature each room and at the center points of four equally range (18–20 ℃) in the second comparative test. Thus, divided areas to measure the changes in the floor sur- the boiler was turned on at an indoor temperature of face, heating pipe, and PCM temperatures (see 18 ℃ and turned off at 20 ℃. Here, the PCM tempera- Figure 6). The indoor temperature was measured at ture change was compared between Rooms 3 (34 ℃) 1.2 m above floor level at the center of each room. and 4 (43 ℃). The hot water supply temperature of the T-type thermocouples were used as temperature sen- boiler was set to 60 ℃, which is generally used in sors (see Table 2). Data were measured every minute, Korea’s underfloor heating systems. During the mea- and 10 min average values were used for analysis. surement process, the outdoor temperature ranged In the first comparative test, the boiler operation between 3 and 9 ℃ with an average of 6.3 ℃. was set to intermittent heating based on the time required to supply hot water at the same temperature for a fixed time interval. A 1-h operation with a 2-h stop 3. Results and discussion was repeatedly performed. The hot water supply tem- 3.1. Test results of the PCM installation position perature of the boiler was set to 75 ℃, which is the highest temperature of the boiler. Overall, the surface temperature of the floor was found Here, the floor surface temperature was compared to be higher when the PCM was installed at the bottom between Rooms 1 and 2. Depending on the PCM rather than the top or side. On average, the time installation location, the comparative cases were required to reach the peak temperature during heating divided into the top (Case 1), side (Case 2), and bottom was 10 minutes shorter than that required by the con- (Case 3). The measurement time was approximately 12 ventional room. 6 S. E. KIM ET AL. Table 3. Floor surface temperatures and temperature delay times according to the PCM installation position compared to the standard floor structure. Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Room 1 Room 2 Room 1 Room 2 Room 1 Room 2 Category (Normal) (PCM) (Normal) (PCM) (Normal) (PCM) Temperature 94.6 125.0 150.0 170.8 103.2 138.5 delay time (min/℃) Difference (min/℃) 30.4 20.8 35.3 Figure 8. Test results for the PCM phase change temperature (34 ℃ and 43 ℃). Figure 7 shows the changes in the average surface cases, the PCM room appeared to be longer than the temperature of the floor for the heating cycle and the conventional room. The temperature delay time was time required for the peak temperature to fall to the longer by the order of 35.3 min/℃ at the bottom, 30.4 lowest temperature when heating was discontinued in min/℃ at the top, and 20.8 min/℃ on the side. each case. First, looking at the average floor surface Therefore, by comparing the temperature delay temperature change, compared to the conventional times, it was determined that installing PCM at the rooms, the room with PCM installed at the top and bottom resulted in the best heat storage performance. side of the heating pipe had a relatively lower floor temperature, while the room with PCM installed at the 3.2. Test results of the PCM phase change bottom of the heating pipe had a higher floor height. temperature This is related to the fact that the time taken to rise to the peak temperature during heating operation Based on the experiments, the average temperature appears 10 minutes faster on average than in normal of each room is shown in Figure 8. For the 34 ℃ rooms when installed at the bottom rather than the PCM, the maximum temperature was 38.7 ℃ and top and side. In other words, when installed in the the time required for the phase change range from lower part, the temperature of the floor surface rises 31℃ to 34 ℃ was 1250 min. For the 43 ℃ PCM, faster than in other cases, so it is considered that the however, the maximum temperature was 32.5 ℃. average temperature during the total experiment time As a result, the phase change temperature range is higher than the temperature of the existing room. from 40 ℃ to 43 ℃ was not achieved. This was Next, the heat storage was evaluated by comparing probably because the heat from the heating pipe the temperature delay time (T) required for the tem- could not diffuse throughout the packing owing to perature difference between the conventional and PCM its high heat storage capacity and the low reaction underfloor heating systems to decrease by 1 ℃. Thus, rate of the 43 ℃ PCM compared to that of the 34 the value obtained when the time (H) required for the ℃ PCM. Also, for this reason, it is considered that peak temperature (T ) to fall to the lowest temperature the temperature fluctuation width was smaller at 43 after heating was discontinued (T ) was divided by the ℃ PCM than at 35 ℃ PCM. This implies that the 34 temperature difference (T -T ) for comparison. ℃ PCM stored heat more effectively than the 43 ℃ 2 1 Table 3 shows the calculated values for the tem- PCM, thereby affecting the increase in the surface perature delay time for each case. In all experimental temperature of the floor. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 Funding 4. Conclusions This study investigated the appropriate installation This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea position and phase change temperature of PCMs for (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education application in underfloor radiant heating systems [no. 2016R1D1A1B01015616] and Chung-Ang University using two primary tests. Graduate Research Scholarship in 2019. First, a PCM was installed on the top, side, and bottom of the heating pipe, and its installation posi- Notes on contributors tion was examined by comparing the floor surface temperature with that of a conventional floor struc- Seong Eun Kim is a Ph.D. student at the graduate school of ture. The test results revealed that installing PCM at the Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea. Her research inter- bottom of the heating pipe required the shortest time ests include indoor air quality and carbon-neutral strategies. interval for the temperature of the floor surface to Yong Woo Song is a postdoctoral researcher in the reach its maximum. In addition, it was found that the Department of Architectural Engineering at Chung-Ang temperature was maintained higher than that of the University, Republic of Korea. His research interests include indoor air quality and carbon-neutral strategies. conventional room, and the temperature delay time was maintained longer. Jin Chul Park is a professor at Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea. He was president of The Society of Air- Second, in the phase change temperature test, conditioning and Refreshing Engineers of Korea (SAREK) in the 34 ℃ and 43 ℃ PCM were utilized. For the 2020 and vice president of The Architectural Institute of former, the heat was evenly transmitted through- Korea (AIK) from 2016 to 2018. His research interests include out the packing. But, for the latter, the phase indoor air quality, green remodeling, zero-energy building, change temperature range was not achieved. This and carbon-neutral strategies. was probably because, apart from the region that receives heat directly from the heating pipe, Author contributions a specific time interval was required for heat to S.E. Kim: Conceptualization, Methodology, Data curation, be transmitted to the outer part of the PCM. The Writing – Original Draft. Y.W. Song: Methodology, Formal results of the two tests revealed that the PCM must analysis, Validation. J.C. Park: Supervision, Project administra- be installed at the bottom of the heating pipe, and tion, Writing – Reviewing and Editing. that using 34 ℃ PCM is more efficient than using 43 ℃ PCM in the underfloor radiant heating References system. There were several limitations to this investiga- ASHRAE, and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES. “Standard 55-2013: Thermal tion. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering
– Taylor & Francis
Published: Mar 16, 2023
Keywords: Apartment housing; underfloor radiant heating system; phase change material; mock-up test