Volume 17: Technology Innovation to Accelerate Energy Transitions

An innovative method of integrating phase change materials in buildings for thermal energy storage via additive manufacturing Sayathan Ramakrishnan, Shravan Muthukrishnan, Jay Sanjayan



The incorporation of phase change material (PCM) into building fabrics would significantly enhance thermal energy storage, thereby enabling energy savings and CO2 emission reductions. However, the integration method remains a major challenge with the detrimental effects on structural integrity, durability of building elements and performance. This paper proposes a way of integrating PCM into concrete building elements by utilizing additive manufacturing and construction automation technologies. Additive manufacturing of concrete allows the manufacture of non-rectilinear building elements that cannot be constructed using the traditional construction method, thanks to the three-dimensional (3D) concrete printing technology. The concrete elements were constructed as hollow-core using the 3D concrete printing method and PCM incorporated into the hollow-core for thermal energy storage enhancement. Subsequently, the paper assesses performance enhancement of PCM incorporated concrete elements using experimental simulated test rooms and numerical assessment on full-scale buildings. The results reveal that the hollow-core concrete enables a large amount of PCM incorporation of up to 9.88% by weight of concrete, with the increase of heat storage capacity by 7.02 kJ/kg. The simulated test rooms experiment reports that the PCM incorporated hollow-core panels reduced the peak indoor temperature of the test room by 3.86 ℃ while enhancing the thermal storage capacity by 181%. Moreover, the numerical study on buildings incorporated with the innovative PCM panels demonstrated significant energy savings of up to 48% for the Australian climatic conditions.

Keywords Thermal energy storage, phase change materials, additive manufacturing, energy savings, buildings

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