Assessment of the validity of some common assumptions in hygrothermal modelling of earth based materials

L. Soudani, A. Fabbri, Jean-Claude Morel, M Woloszyn, P. A. Chabriac, H. Wong, A. C. Grillet

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    79 Citations (Scopus)
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    The goal of this paper is to identify the effects of in-pore transport of liquid water and water vapor as well as phase changes on the hygrothermal behavior of earthen buildings. Indeed, one of the main assets used to promote these constructions is their role in moisture buffering hence temperature and relative-humidity quality controlling. However, there is no clear consensus yet concerning the impact of these phenomena on the global energy performance of the buildings. A coupled model is therefore proposed in this paper, based on heat and mass balances inside the earthen walls, in order to clarify this question. This model considers separately the kinematics of each phase (e.g. liquid water, vapor, dry air and solid matrix), in interaction with each other. It also takes into account the impact of pore water confinement on the liquid-to-vapor phase change, in particular on the resulting latent heat released or absorbed. The model is successfully compared to experimental results on instrumented full-scale rammed earth wall subjected to temperature cycles. It eventually allows identifying the singular hygrothermal behaviour of earth material by testing the range of applicability of the simplifying assumptions which are commonly made in function of the permeability of the tested material.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)498–511
    Number of pages14
    JournalEnergy and Buildings
    Early online date21 Jan 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016

    Bibliographical note

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy and Buildings. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Energy and Buildings, [116, (2016)] DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.01.025

    © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


    • Heat and moisture transport
    • Hygrothermal modeling
    • Numerical simulation
    • Rammed earth
    • Adobe
    • Cob


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