Empirical Validation and Comparison of Methodologies to Simulate Micro and Macro-Encapsulated PCMs in the Building Envelope

Sajith Wijesuriya, Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus Citations


Thermal Energy Storage (TES) has the potential to shift peak electricity demand. Passive TES is usually implemented in building envelope as micro and macro encapsulated phase change materials (PCM) to shift electric energy demand and therefore requires careful heat transfer analysis. Whole building energy modelling with simplified heat transfer analysis has become extremely important for designers, architects, engineers, and researchers to predict energy performance of buildings. It is important to validate PCM modelling algorithms used in building energy programs to quantify their error and prove their capacity to model different PCM encapsulation types. This study uses data from a microencapsulated PCM and two macroencapsulated PCMs (Bio based PCM and hydrate salts) tested in full-scale using the Advanced Multiscale Building Energy Research (AMBER) Lab located at the Colorado School of Mines and is used to validate a numerical algorithm written in MATLAB language. To approximate the heat transfer through a wall assembly with macroencapsulated PCM pouches, several modelling techniques that can reduce 3D heat transfer characteristics to 1D are explored in this research. A parallel path heat transfer modelling approach is found to give the closest agreement with the experimental data for the pouched PCMs in building envelope applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number116646
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-77929


  • Building envelope
  • Macroencapsulation
  • Microencapsulation
  • PCM
  • Validation


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