Trombe wall: experimental analysis and thermal performance simulation


Doctoral Thesis in Civil Engineering
Ana Cristina Briga de Sá
University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal


The need to reduce energy consumption in buildings requires solutions to improve the energy performance of new and existing buildings. One way to achieve this objective is the integration of more sustainable solutions, such as passive solar systems. The use of solar energy is a very old technique, but nowadays its use is no longer such a common practice in construction, especially in what concerns the use of indirect gain passive solar systems, such as the Trombe wall. Its integration into the building envelope in Portugal is still rare, because of the lack of information about its energy performance and its construction system by the stakeholders in the construction sector.

In order to contribute to the increase of scientific knowledge in this area, this study presents the experimental analysis and simulation of the thermal performance of the Trombe wall in the real weather conditions of the city of Vila Real. The experimental analysis included the design, construction, instrumentation and monitoring of an experimental device consisting of a test cell with a Trombe wall. At this stage it was possible to analyze the temperature values obtained in the massive wall, in the air box and at the air vents of the Trombe wall, affected or not by shading devices. In addition to the experimental analysis a dynamic calculation methodology of the thermal performance of the Trombe wall was also applied. This methodology was implemented in MatLab and allowed the calculation of the total gains through this system. This analysis allowed the definition of the periods of appropriate operation of the ventilation system and of the exterior shading device for the heating and cooling seasons, as well as during the various periods the day. The scientific work developed in this thesis is a valuable contribution to a better understanding of the thermal performance of the Trombe wall, which will provide an incentive for its main application in new and existing buildings.

Ana Briga-SáThesis 2011 (pdf)


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