Friday, September 30, 2011

Phase Change Material Trombe Wall

Appalachian State University's The Solar Homestead has taken the second place as on September 30th, 2011 in the Solar Decathlon 2011's communications content!! The Solar Homestead features a phase change material based Trombe Wall.

The simple design comprises of a battery of flat panels constructed in aluminum filled with phase change material. The wall is located on the south side of the house, few inches behind the glass window. Each flat panel can be manually flipped to any angle to absorb the heat during the winter day and still have the capability to get sunlight and see through the window. The absorbed heat is released during the night to warm the inside space.
During the day the sun heats first the air in the space between the panel and glass, then the PCM inside the panel absorbs heat and changes from solid to liquid. The heat is stored as latent heat. Once the air in the space is heated it rises and enters into the room. The upward air movement pulls the cool air from the room and the Trombe Wall heats it. The cycle continues as a natural phenomenon. The PCM inside the Trombe Wall increases the capability of the Trombe Wall to absorb heat with a light construction and release/absorption of heat takes place at a constant temperature. The Phase Change Energy storage technology is promising technology towards energy saving through energy storage and provides a sustainable method for temperature control.

The Solar Homestead is designed with a slide door on the outside of the glass window that is closed during summer to avoid unwanted heat gain.
The Solar Homestead is Appalachian State University's entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. Inspired by the pioneer spirit of the early settlers in the mountain region of North Carolina, they have designed a self-sustaining zero energy home.

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