A numerical study on optimizing the designs of applying PCMs to a disaster-relief prefabricated temporary-house (PTH) to improve its summer daytime indoor thermal environment

Caixia Wang, Shiming Deng, Jianlei Niu, Enshen Long

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


PTHs are massively deployed for disaster-relief after various natural disasters. Following a previous experimental study on applying PCMs to an experimental PTH, where only a very limited number of designs were experimentally examined, in this paper, different designs of applying PCMs to a disaster-relief PTH were numerically examined and the best one identified for guiding future practical applications. A numerical model for a full-scale PTH was established using EnergyPlus and experimentally validated. Using the validated model, a two-part numerical study was carried out. In the first part, a total of 16 different designs were defined and D10 identified as the most effective one, resulting in the highest number of acceptable hours at 90. In the second part, increasing PCM's thickness to beyond 20 mm would lead to negligible effects on further improving indoor thermal environment. Hence, 20 mm thickness was recommended as a reference value for future practical applications. Furthermore, the developed EnergyPlus based model for the experimental PTH may be adapted for other types of PTHs used in different climates. Hence, the outcomes of the numerical study may also guide the future applications of PCM to disaster-relief PTHs of various configurations, and located in different climates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


  • Disaster-relief
  • Numerical
  • Optimizing
  • Phase change materials
  • Prefabricated temporary houses
  • Thermal environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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