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In-Situ Experimental Validation of THERM Finite Element Analysis for a High R-Value Wall Using Vacuum Insulation Panels

[+] Author Affiliations
Matthew Schiedel, Cynthia A. Cruickshank, Christopher Baldwin

Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Paper No. ES2013-18207, pp. V001T01A010; 8 pages
  • ASME 2013 7th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2013 Heat Transfer Summer Conference and the ASME 2013 11th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2013 7th International Conference on Energy Sustainability
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, July 14–19, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5551-5
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Team Ontario is one of twenty collegiate teams selected to design and build a solar powered, net positive home for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013. One aspect of Team Ontario’s competition design entry is a high R-value wall using vacuum insulation panels. This paper details the method used for theoretical evaluation of the high R-value wall, stating all simplifying assumptions made. Theoretical simulations were performed in THERM, a two dimensional finite element heat transfer modelling program. Following a weighted average method used by industry experts, the whole-wall thermal resistance value was calculated. To verify the modelling results, an in-situ experimental validation was conducted. An 8′ × 8′ wall test specimen was built to the specifications of Team Ontario’s wall design. Experimental heat flux and temperature readings were collected from the test specimen in Carleton University’s Vacuum Insulation Test Facility located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with the test specimen exposed to exterior weather elements. The experimental and theoretical results are compared and conclusions drawn to determine the effective thermal resistance of the vacuum insulation panels installed in the wall assembly. Finally the theoretical model is refined based on the previous study and a more accurate whole-wall thermal resistance of Team Ontario’s wall design is determined.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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