INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESEARCH Int. J. Energy Res. 2002; 26:611 } 632 (DOI: 10.1002/er.807)
Heat losses through building walls with closed, open and deformable cavities
Sylvie Lorente*
Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), 135 Avenue de Rangueil, 31077 Toulouse, France
SUMMARY
This article reviews a recent body of work that documents the heat # ow through walls with relatively complicated internal structure. The " rst part presents the fundamentals of natural convection heat transfer in twodimensional enclosures " lled with air. Numerical simulations for Rayleigh numbers in the range 6000 } 30000 and aspect ratio A"40 show that the air circulation is periodic (pulsating) and the core space is dominated by almost equidistant rolls. The heat transfer e! ected by such # ows is documented, and the application to walls with tall cavities (hollow bricks) is discussed. The paper continues with a study of heat transfer through a ventilated wall heated by solar radiation from the side. The heated side is ventilated by an air channel opened at both ends. It is shown that the design of the air channel has a signi" cant e! ect on the share of the radiative heat input intercepted by the air # ow. The concluding part of the paper is a " rsttime review of new work on natural convection heat transfer across elongated vertical cavities with deformed side walls (e.g. air gaps in doublepane windows). It is shown that when the side walls are bent inward so that the cavity is narrower at midheight than at its top and bottom ends, the total heat transfer rate through the system is increased signi" cantly. The deformation of the walls also a! ects the intensity and structure of the buoyancydriven # ow in the air space. Overall, this article reviews some of the newest work on heat losses through complicated wall structures and projects it on the background provided by the existing literature. Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
KEY WORDS:
heat # ow through walls; heat loss; building walls
1. OBJECTIVE
In this article, a recent body of work is reviewed that documents the loss of heat through relatively complicated internal wall geometries: closed, open and deformable cavities. This work is new on the background o! ered by the very active and important " eld of research dedicated to heat and
# uid #ow at the interface between energy systems and the environment. The global interest in energy conservation has stimulated a steady stream of fundamental and applied studies on how energy is lost*how heat & leaks'*from the systems in which energy currents are essential. Key advances are cited in the next section. This activity has placed the focus
* Correspondence to: Sylvie Lorente, Department of Civil Engineering, National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), 135 Avenue de Rangueil, 31077 Toulouse, France.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received 16 January 2001 Accepted 4 June 2001
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S. LORENTE
on the interaction between energy systems and their immediate #uid environments. The # ow of energy (heating) drives the # ow of #uids, and, in turn, # owing #uids convect energy. To predict the rate of heat loss e! ected by #uid # ow is one goal. Another is to interpret this result for the purpose of design: the development of structural changes in the wall of the system so that in future designs the loss of heat is minimized. The work reviewed in this article covers both aspects with application to the loss of heat through walls of buildings. The same mechanism, or the same &coupling' between # owing energy currents and # owing # uids stands behind the largescale environmental # ows reviewed in other articles in this issue.
2. NATURAL CONVECTION IN CAVITIES WITH DIFFERENT SIDE WALL TEMPERATURES
2.1. Review of previous works
Convection heat transfer is an important mechanism in the total heat exchange measured in vertical enclosures heated from the side. In most of the enclosures used in building walls, the #ow is generally laminar and unicellular. Fluid movement in the cavity is due to buoyancy forces resulting from a temperature di! erence between both vertical surfaces. There are situations, always in the laminar regime, in which secondary cells appear in the core cavity. This multicellu lar # ow tends to increase local and average heat transfer coe$cients. The fundamentals of convective heat transfer were reviewed by Bejan (1995). A rigorous analysis of # uid # ows can be found in the book by Padet (1991). Theoretical and numerical studies by Raithby and Wong (1981), de Vahl Davis (1968), Korpela et al. (1982) re" ned the resolution of the problem, i.e. the accuracy of heat transfer calculations. These studies showed that the solution is a function of three dimensionless parameters: the aspect ratio of the cavity A, the Prandtl number of the #uid, Pr and the Rayleigh number, Ra. These and other parameters are de" ned in the Nomenclature. The speci" c e! ect of multicellular # ow was described by Elder (1965), who observed experi mentally a secondary #ow pattern attributable to hydrodynamic instability. Several numerical models have been able to resolve secondary #ow in a vertical slot. Some authors point out that the onset of secondary cells can be delayed by the false di! usion resulting from numerical upwinding schemes. Others use a central di! erence discretization scheme and uniform grids (e.g. Lee and Korpela, 1983; Ramanan and Korpela, 1989; Lauriat and Desrayaud, 1985; Roux et al., 1980; Wright and Sullivan, 1994; Le QueH reH , 1990). In particular, Lee and Korpela (1983) found the expression of the critical value of the Grashof number (Gr"Ra/Pr) at which the onset of secondary cells takes place. Several studies document the number of secondary cells in the core of the cavity according to the Rayleigh number (Lee and Korpela, 1983; Wright and Sullivan, 1994; Wakitani, 1997). Wright and Sullivan (1989) performed a literature review on natural convection in Insulated Glazing Units (IGU). Studies by Zhao et al. (1997) shed considerable light on the multicellular #ows that form in laminar regime. Their work provided a map of the appearance of these cells for several values of Rayleigh number and aspect ratio (Figure 1).
2.2. Mathematical formulation
Figure 2 presents the geometry of a twodimensional rectangular enclosure. The laminar two dimensional air #ow can be put in a mathematical form by assuming that the # uid is Newtonian
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Ra
Figure 1. Flow regimes de" nitions for natural convection in a tall enclosure with side walls at di! erent temperatures (Lartigue et al., 2000).
Figure 2. The geometry and boundary conditions of the twodimensional cavity with di!erent sidewall temperatures.
and satis" es the Boussinesq approximation. It is governed by the laws of conservation of mass, momentum and energy. These equations can be put into dimensionless form using the following dimensionless variables:
x
X" _{¸} ,
Z"
z
_{¸} ^{,}
A " ^{H}
¸ ^{,}
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;" ^{u} , =" ^{w}
^{<}
^{<}
with < _{} "(g ¹¸)
P"
^{p}
<
tH" ^{t}
^{t}
_{} _{"}
¹!¹ _{}
¹
with t _{} "
¸
^{<} " ^{}
with ¹ _{} " ^{¹} ^{#}^{¹}
2
¹ _{}
¸
g
and
¹"¹ _{} !¹ _{}
(1)
The governing equations assume the following dimensionless form:
;
tH
;
X ^{#} =
Z
"0
#; ^{} ^{;}
X ^{#}^{=} ;
Z
"! ^{} X ^{P} ^{#}
Ra ; _{#} ;
Pr
_{}_{}
X
Z
=
tH
#; ^{} ^{=} #= ^{} ^{=} "! ^{} ^{P}
X
Z
Z ^{#} _{}
Ra = _{#} = _{}_{} #
Pr
X
Z
_{Z} "(Ra ) Pr) _{}
tH ^{#}^{;} X ^{#}^{=}
_{}_{}
X ^{#} Z
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
The boundary conditions of velocity and temperature become
;"="0 
at X"0, X"1 
and 
Z"0, Z"A 

"0.5 
at X"0 

"! 0.5 
at X " 1 

/ Z"0 
at Z"0 
and 
Z"A 
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
The solution to Equations (2) } (5) was developed using the commercially available computer code ESTET (Ensemble de Simulations Tridimensionnelles d' Ecoulements Turbulents), which was developed by ElectriciteH de France. ESTET solves the equations of # uid mechanics, which are discretized in a structured grid that uses " nite volumes and " nite di! erences. Grid independence tests revealed that approximately 30 000 grid nodes were necessary to obtain a gridindependent solution when the aspect ratio A is equal to 40. To ensure the convergence of calculation, it is imperative to place the "rst nodes within the viscous boundary layer of the walls, which is the region with the greatest temperature gradients. For this reason, the spacing between the "rst nodes was 0.02. The boundary conditions imposed were: nonslip, impermeability and adiabatic transfer on the top and bottom of the cavity, and nonslip and impermeability on the vertical walls. The heat transfer literature contains many results on the thermal " eld in a high aspect ratio cavity with natural convection. This work began with Eckert and Carlson (1961), and is
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Figure 3. Schematic diagram of the experimental setup (Lartigue et al., 2000).
summarized in more recent reviews (Kakac and Yener, 1994). In the present review the focus is on dynamic " eld results obtained using the experimental setup described below.
2.3. Experiment
The experimental apparatus is a parallelepipedic closed cavity, " lled with air. The main vertical plates are made of aluminium, to approach the isothermal boundary condition. The two other vertical plates are made of glass, to allow the passing of the laser sheet of the particle image velocimetry (PIV). The bottom and top horizontal plates are made of PVC to limit thermal short circuiting. A zero heat #ux boundary condition is very di$ cult to reach experimentally. Neverthe less, in view of the work of Raithby and Wong (1981), if the aspect ratio is large enough (A*40), the in# uence of the horizontal boundary conditions (perfectly adiabatic or perfectly conducting) on the Nusselt number is small. The temperatures of the aluminium plates are regulated by heat exchangers made of rubber pipes, which are glued on the back of the plates. Water and refrigerant circulate in the heat exchangers to maintain desired conditions. The PIV system is based on the relation velocity"distance/time. Thus, the velocity is derived from the measurement of the travelling distance of a # uid particle in a given time interval. It is necessary to seed the # ow with small tracer particles of the same density as air, which travel with the # ow, and which can be visualized. Incense smoke was chosen as seeding material. A two dimensional slice of the # ow " eld is illuminated by a light sheet in the middle of the cavity, as shown in Figure 3. The illuminated seeding scatters the light, which is detected by a camera
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placed at right angle to the light sheet. Two camera images are recorded, the "rst showing the
initial position of the seeding particles, and the second showing their " nal position due to the movement of the #ow " eld. The time between the recording images is known. The two camera frames are then processed to " nd the velocity vector map of the #ow " eld. They are divided into smaller regions that are considered individually. Correlation and Fourier transform methods are used to measure the average displacement of the ensemble of particles in
a " nitesize region. The #uid velocity is then calculated over the time interval between the
successive images. This is repeated for each region, so the entire twodimensional velocity vector
map is constructed. One hundred velocity vector maps are constructed in this manner during every second.
3. THERMAL FIELD
The temperature "eld in the cavity was obtained numerically (Lartigue, 1999). The Nusselt number was calculated in order to evaluate the rate of heat transfer across the enclosure. Local Nusselt numbers are de" ned as the ratio of convective heat transfer over conductive heat transfer:
h(z)"
^{} ^{(}^{z}^{)}
¹
_{} !¹ _{}
Nu(z)" ^{h}^{(}^{z}^{)}^{x} k(¹)
"
^{1}
¹
_{} !¹ _{}
_{k}_{(}_{¹}_{)} ¹ _{} !¹(x, z)
x
(10)
(11)
where (z) is the wall heat #ux calculated on the hot face in the viscous boundary layer (in this
case, for example, x"0.02¸). The value of k is evaluated locally along the vertical wall according to the temperature. The aspect ratio used for all the presented simulations is " xed at A"40, which agrees with con"gurations found in practice. Figures 4(a) } 4(e) show the evolution of the local Nusselt number along the hot wall, as a function of the dimensionless height, and in the Rayleigh number range 3550} 17 750 (this Ra range was chosen in order to compare the results with those found in the literature). When the Rayleigh number is equal to 3550, the # ow is in the conductive regime, according to Batchelor (1954). The Nusselt number is then equal to 1 over the height of the cavity, except close to the horizontal walls. If the Rayleigh number increases to roughly 6000, the # ow becomes multicellular. The # ow is the seat of instabilities, which are evident in Figure 4(b). Thus, for Ra"6800, the local Nusselt number tends to oscillate in a regular manner around the value corresponding to the conductive regime. The same behaviour
is observed for Ra"10 102, which resembles closely the experimental conditions. If the oscilla
tions remain regular, their amplitude grows and the average Nusselt number exceeds 1. If the value of Rayleigh number increases further (Figures 4(d) and 4(e)), the regularity of the oscilla
tions is destroyed and the multicellular laminar # ow becomes fully established before becoming turbulent.
4. VELOCITY FIELD
In this section, the numerical and experimental results that describe the velocity " eld are reviewed. Prior to this work, instabilities in laminar # ow were highlighted only with temperature
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Figure 4. The dependence of the local Nusselt number on the dimensionless height Z/A for A"40 and several values of Ra (Lartigue et al., 2000).
measurements. The study carried out by Lartigue et al. (2000) describes the results obtained using a nonintrusive method of measure: the PIV. Figure 5 shows the numerical streamlines in the cavity for Rayleigh numbers ranging from 3550 to 17 750. For a Rayleigh number of 3550 no # uctuations are observed, and this means that the # ow is unicellular. When the Rayleigh number increases, the stream patterns begin to # uctuate indicating the onset of the instability, and the # ow becomes multicellular. These numerical results
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Figure 5. Numerical streamlines for A"40: (a) Ra"3550, (b) Ra"6800, (c) Ra"10 102, (d) Ra"14 200 and (e) Ra"17 750 (Lartigue et al., 2000).
Table I. Number of cells obtained in di! erent numerical simu lations, as a function of Ra (Lartigue et al., 2000).
Ra
Lartigue et al. (2000)
References
6800 
16 
15 Wright and Sullivan (1994) 

10 
102 
14 
14 Wright and Sullivan (1994) 

14 
200 
13 
13 
Lee and Korpela (1983) 
17 
750 
11 
13 
Lee and Korpela (1983) 
are compared in Table I with the results available in other papers. The table lists the number of cells obtained in the simulations of previous authors and the results obtained by our group. These data show that the number of cells decreases as the Rayleigh number increases. Figure 6 shows the steadystate horizontal and vertical components of velocity obtained experimentally and numerically. The cavity core represents a zone ranging from approximately
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Figure 6. Nondimensionalized horizontal and vertical components of velocity in experimental (exp) and numerical (num) cases in the core of the cavity (Lartigue et al., 2000).
Z/A"0.15 to Z/A"0.85. Nondimensionalized horizontal and vertical components of the velocity vector are presented here for several heights of the measurement window. The experi mental and numerical values of velocity are in close agreement. Two zones of the same intensity,
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Figure 7. Usual brick, and brick with many vertical cavities (Lorente et al., 1996).
and the opposed direction of the component ; coupled with the component =, indicate the presence of a cell. Thus, from the results obtained, we note that the velocity of a secondary cell is practically reduced to its horizontal component in the centreline of the cavity (X"0.5). Figure 6(a) shows the existence of two half cells in the test area between z/H"0.79 and 0.84. In the lower part of the cell the horizontal component of velocity is directed from the cold face toward the hot face. Closer to the hot boundary layer, the vertical component is oriented upward and dominates. It is the reverse in the upper part of the cell, where the horizontal component is directed toward the cold face. In the vicinity of the cold boundary layer, the velocity vector is reduced to its downward vertical component. Consequently, in this case, the rotation of the secondary cell is oriented in the trigonometric sense. Thus, experimental and numerical results make it possible to highlight the existence of secondary cells and their rotation.
5. HOLLOW BRICKS
The physical phenomenon studied is important in practice, as vertical cavities of high aspect ratio are encountered frequently in building components. The # ow in the cavity is laminar, since the transition from laminar to turbulent # ow is around Ra"40 000 when the aspect ratio is equal to 40 (Figure 1). Below Ra+6000, the energy transfer from the hot face toward the cold face is carried out directly by conduction. As the Rayleigh number increases, conduction is no longer able to transfer the imposed heat. The establishment of a secondary # ow (secondary cells) has the role of mitigating this de" cit, permitting the transfer of heat by convection. The observed cells are ordered and characterized by a very slow average movement. The experimental and numerical results also reveal a downward #ow. If the Rayleigh number increases further, these structures lose their ordered character and the #ow enters on the turbulent regime. Usually, terracotta bricks are made with horizontal cavities. When the product is designed with vertical cavities, less material is necessary in order to achieve the same mechanical resistance. In the case of vertical hollows bricks (Figure 7), the heat transfer di!ers from heat transfer through usual bricks because the aspect ratio is large enough to allow # uid motion: an important part of heat transfer is due to natural convection. In the " rst part of this paper, results on the thermal " eld inside a high aspect ratio enclosure were presented. The development of such results requires the use of a # uid mechanics code, which demands lots of computational time and highperformance computers. In the case of an assembly of enclosures (a brick with many cavities), the total heat transferred through the wall cannot be determined with this kind of numerical code, because of insu$cient time and/or computer memory. Consequently, the thermal "eld in each cavity is approximated with a good accuracy by the Karman} Pohlhausen method (Lorente et al., 1996).
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Figure 8. Algorithm for assembling the heat currents (conduction, convection, radiation) for global heat transfer through a brick with many cavities (Lorente et al., 1996).
The heat transfer through the brick is obtained by calculating the convective and radiative heat transfer through each cavity, the conductive heat transfer along the terracotta ribs, and assembl ing these currents using an electrical network, in series and in parallel (Lorente et al., 1996). An example of the algorithm is given in Figure 8. Once the thermal " eld is known, the convective heat transfer is calculated locally using the temperature pro" les of the boundary layers. Local values are integrated along the vertical faces to obtain the averaged values. The radiosity method (Siegel and Howell, 1981) is used to determine the radiative heat # ux, and the Fourier law is used for conductive heat transfer. This analytical procedure was carefully validated by numerous experi ments on cavities with several sizes, which were assembled in hollow bricks. A brick is usually 20 or 25 cm high, while a wall has a height of roughly 250 cm (the height of a # oor). This means that the aspect ratio of each continuous enclosure is multiplied by 10, and, consequently, the heat transfer by natural convection will be di! erent. We performed calculations using the analytical model described above (Lorente et al., 1996) and we compared the thermal
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Figure 9. The evolution of the global thermal resistance through bricks with di! erent heights (Lorente et al., 1998).
resistance of 25 or 250 cm high bricks. The total thickness of the bricks remains constant but the number of enclosures (and thus their thickness) could vary. The cavity width was always greater than the airspace thickness, so that the natural convection pattern was essentially twodimensional. Figure 9 shows a sample of the results obtained for several values of the temperature di!erence between both sides of bricks. When ¹ is increased, the thermal resistance of the 25 cm high brick decreases by 27 per cent while this decrease is less than 10 per cent for the 250 cm high brick. In both cases, the decrease is essentially due to the convective transfer. Indeed, if we analyse the natural convective transfer phenomenon inside enclosures (with constant air thickness and constant temperature di! erence), the average heat #ux density by convection is smaller in a higher cavity. For our range of Rayleigh numbers the # ow regime is the boundary layer type. When the height of the cavities increases boundary layers thicken and temperature gradients decrease. Thus, the global heat rate by convection is weaker. This behaviour was con"rmed in other con" gurations as well (Lorente et al., 1998).
6. INFLUENCE OF MOISTURE ON HEAT TRANSFER
The heat transfer results presented in the preceding section are not related in any way to the notion of moisture level. Building components are exposed to moisture level di! erences as much as temperature di! erences, between the inside of the brick and the outside. We chose to work on a basic element containing a single vertical enclosure (25 cm high), where the boundaries are made of terracotta (Figure 10). Calculations were made using a numerical code (HYGRO, developed by CEBTP, France) where the system of equations linking heat and mass transfer is solved based on the "nitedi! erence method. A description of this code can be found in Vasile et al. (1998). We focused on several boundary conditions: temperature di! erence as well as relative moisture di! erence between the cold and hot faces.
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adiabatic surface 



cold side 
hot side 

adiabatic surface 
Figure 10. Plan view of the terracotta element studied numerically (Vasile et al., 1998).
_{∆}_{P} _{v} (Pa)
Figure 11. The e! ect of the vapour pressure di! erence on the heat # ux (Vasile et al., 1998).
Figure 11 shows the results obtained for the dependence of heat # ux on vapour pressure di ! erence. The heat #ux through a vertical hollow terracotta element increases with the vapour pressure di! erence. The more the temperature rises, the greater is the increase. These results stress the high sensitivity of the heat # ux to the material moisture concentration level, as the heat #ux di ! erences between a lowwater content state and one with a more concentrated level are about 35 per cent.
7. OPEN VERTICAL CAVITIES: VENTILATED WALLS
Passive systems were developed since the 1960s: a good example is the Trombe wall, which has been studied all over the world, and which is still studied (Detunq and Bilgen, 1984; Du$n and Knowles, 1985; Ben Yedder and Bilgen, 1991; Buzzoni et al., 1998). Most of these systems were meant for winter conditions. Indeed, in the case of a Trombe wall, air is taken from the room in the bottom part of the wall. The ventilated wall is made using transparent material (glass) in order to collect solar heat. Then, a natural #uid motion is created, and the air goes back to the room,
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ventilated 

wall 


interior 
exterior 






interior
reference
wall
exterior
Figure 12. Reference wall and ventilated wall operating during summer conditions (Lorente and BeH gueH , 2000).
Distance (mm)
Figure 13. Temperature pro"les at midheight in the open channel (Lorente and BeH gueH , 2000).
from the top part of the wall. An important part of the solar energy is imparted to the room, and this reduces the heating requirements. The thermal system presented in this section is based on ventilated walls, and is meant for operating during summer conditions. The study is mostly experimental, based on an in situ tworoom setup (Lorente and BeH gueH , 2000). The terracotta walls have exactly the same surface, and face south (Figure 12). Consequently, they are exposed to the same climatic conditions, which are monitored: wind, temperature and solar radiation. One of the walls is used as reference. The other is equipped with a vertical air slot in front of the wall. This duct is opened at both ends and is in direct contact with the outside (see Figure 12). Figure 13 shows the temperature pro" les at midheight in the open channel in summer. When solar radiation is almost absent, no # uid motion is detected, and the temperature pro"les
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625
x (mm)
Figure 14. Numerical results for the vertical component of the velocity in the openended duct of the ventilated wall (Lorente and Massias, 1998).
Time (h)
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
100
Figure 15. Inner surface temperatures during 4 days in August 1999. Ventilated wall and reference wall (Lorente and BeH gueH , 2000).
correspond to conductive heat transfer. As the e! ect of solar radiation increases, the ther mosiphon phenomenon sets in and generates a double ascending air motion. This motion was
also studied numerically, as shown in Figure 14. Velocity pro" les are plotted for several values of height (z) along the slot, and x is the distance measured away from the brick side exposed to solar radiation (Lorente and Massias, 1998). The # ow is ascending along both faces of the duct. A comparison between the ventilated wall and the reference wall can be seen in Figure 15. This
" gure shows the inner surface temperatures in both cases during 4 days in August 1999. At night, these temperatures are almost the same. Then, the more solar radiation increases, the more the
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Figure 16. Heat removed in the open slots* one day in September 1999 (Lorente and BeH gueH , 2000).
di ! erence between the two cases becomes important. Note that the values given by the probes in the ventilated case are always lower compared to the reference case. Furthermore, if the inner surface temperatures have a cyclic evolution using both systems, the amplitude of the temper atures is lower with the ventilated wall, due to the solar ducts. This is an important result, as fewer temperature # uctuations on the inner surfaces provide better comfort conditions. Thermal probes inside the walls allowed us to record the temperature pro"les each hour. These data were used to calculate the heat transfer removed by natural convection in the solar ducts. The " rst thermocouples were positioned at only 1 mm from the terracotta faces, so that the convective heat transfer can be calculated by using the de" nition of wall heat #ux on the vertical faces of the cavities. Calculations were performed based on the results collected during fall 1999. The heat removed by natural convection in the opened slots becomes less important, as solar radiation is not as strong as during summer. Figure 16 shows the evolution of the natural convection heat transfer in the ventilated wall during 24 h in September 1999. The heat transfer rate follows the time dependence of solar radiation. The thermal inertia of the outer face induces a time lag of 1 h: on that particular day solar radiation was maximum at 12.30, while the heat removed reached its maximum at 13.30. Plotting the evolution of the room temperature versus time, and comparing this to the solar radiation leads to a phase displacement of 2 h, which accounts for the global inertia of that system. In this case, the ventilated wall allows us to capture a maximum of 30 per cent of the total solar radiation. In summer, when solar radiation is at its maximum, 38 per cent of the heat transfer is removed by natural convection in the solar ducts.
8. DEFORMABLE BOUNDARIES
There are many situations where surfaces of building components undergo deformation due to weather changes. Consider the case for double glazing windows: if the air pressure inside the
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^{T} H
^{T} C
H
z
0
627
Figure 17. Reference cavity with plane walls and cavity with side walls bent inward (Lorente et al., 2000).
0,5
0
θ
0,5
0,5
0
θ
0,5
0,5
0
θ
0,5
0,5
0
θ
0,5
(a)
_{(}_{b}_{)}
(c)
(d)
Figure 18. The nondimensional temperature versus nondimensional height Z/A for the reference Ra"14 200 and several curvatures of deformed cavities: (a) d/¸"100 per cent, (b) d/¸"66 per cent, (c) d/¸"50 per cent and (d) d/¸"33 per cent (Lartigue, 1999).
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cavity decreases (for example, this happens during very cold days when the temperature is below
the initial " lling temperature), the pressure gradient existing between inside and outside the cavity makes the glass panes bend inward (Figure 17) (Patenaude, 1991). Bernier and Bourret (1997) presented some interesting results on this phenomenon, based on the assumption that there is no
# uid motion inside the cavity. In this section some recent results (Lorente et al., 2000) on the e!ect
of convection are reviewed. The results are numerical. The de# ected faces of the cavity have parabolic shape. Figure 18 illustrates the evolution of the nondimensional temperature versus the non dimensional height Z/A, at midwidth (X"0.5), for a reference plane cavity of Ra"14 200, and for several deformed cases with di!erent curvatures. Oscillations indicate the presence of second ary cells. As the curvature increases (Figure 18(b)), the cells increase in number but their size diminishes. The amplitude of the wavy temperature pro" le decreases. When the curvature is signi" cant (d/¸*0.5), the vertical temperature gradient in the centre of the cavity is almost zero, which is characteristic of conduction heat transfer. Secondary cells occur only at the ends of the enclosure, where the dominant mode of heat transfer is convection. The numerical streamlines of the #ow are presented in Figure 19. In the cavity with plane walls (Figure 19(a)), the formation of nine secondary cells is very clear. A de#ection of d/¸"0.66 (Figure 19(b)) increases the number of cells to 18. The cell size decreases. The cells are weaker, and they carry less energy by convection. When the curvature d/¸ is '50 per cent (Figures 19(c) and 19(d)), the # ow presents two distinct patterns in the cavity. In the core the streamlines are vertical, as the horizontal component of the velocity vector is close to zero. There are no cells in the core section. The multicellular #ow is only found in top and bottom regions of the cavity. This behaviour is accentuated when d/¸"0.33. The number of cells diminishes from 14 in Figure 19(c) to 11 in Figure 19(d). In the reporting of overall heat transfer rate the Nusselt number is not used, because the conductive # ux varies with altitude (because of the air thickness) hand in hand with the convective heat transfer. The alternative is to use a local and overall transfer coe$cient de" ned as
(z)"K(z) ¹
K
_{} "
H
1
K(z) dz
(12)
(13)
The same de" nition holds for the perfectly rectangular case. The in# uence of the sidewall curvature on heat transfer is described by the nondimensional parameter:
_{} _{"} K _{} (deformed cavity) K _{} (reference cavity)
(14)
In the numerical simulations compared in Table II, the initial (not deformed) aspect ratio is A"40. A low Rayleigh number, Ra _{} +10 , was initially used and then increased until the value of 30 000. A conclusion can be made on the e! ects of the bent faces on heat transfer when thermal boundary conditions remain constant. The curvature tends to increase heat transfer. It is noteworthy the coe$ cient becomes less important as the Rayleigh number increases. The reason is that at low Ra the heat transfer is enhanced when the vertical faces bend inward; while at
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Int.
J. Energy Res. 2002; 26:611 } 632
HEAT LOSSES THROUGH BUILDING WALLS
629
Figure 19. Streamlines for the reference cavity (a) and three cavities with deformed side walls: (a) d/¸"100 per cent, (b) d/¸"66 per cent, (c) d/¸"50 per cent and (d) d/¸"33 per cent. The Rayleigh number is Ra"14 200 (Lartigue, 1999).
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Int. J. Energy Res. 2002; 26:611 } 632
630
S. LORENTE
Table II. Values of showing the e! ect of wall deformation on overall heat transfer (Lorente et al., 2000).
d (%)*
Ra _{} "10 188 Ra _{} "16 644 Ra _{} "23 394 Ra _{} "30 000
66 
1.173 
1.156 
1.173 
1.125 
50 
1.366 
1.308 
1.256 
1.200 
33 
1.719 
1.591 
1.526 
1.415 
* d (%) ratio between the narrowest part (at midheight) of the cavity and the initial thickness. Ra _{} Rayleigh number based on reference cases (perfectly rectangular cavities).
higher Rayleigh numbers near the transition from laminar # ow to turbulent # ow, the curvature tends to stabilize the # ow, and consequently the heat transfer does not increase as much as before. In sum, the increase of heat transfer through such cavities leads to lower a thermal performance of such products, i.e. to a higher rate of heat loss.
9. CONCLUDING REMARKS
It is demonstrated in this paper that heat losses in buildings are largely due to convective heat transfer inside the vertical enclosures of components. Air is often considered as a nomotion # uid in conductive regime because of the small dimensions of cavities. The reality is quite di!erent. Convective transfer has to be taken into account in the evaluation of heat losses and in the design of thermal systems. It is also shown that since the walls are porous media the level of moisture surrounding the walls has an important e!ect on heat transfer, enhancing it in a signi"cant way (Vasile et al., 1998). It is a phenomenon of importance, which could be taken into account in a revision of the European legislation (European Norm, 1996). Indeed, until now the calculation methods of building components thermal resistance proposed by the European norm are based only on heat transfer under the hypothesis of totally dry components. This study is a " rst step toward a more general project aiming to combine both heat and mass transfer through building envelopes in order to predict and improve their performance.
NOMENCLATURE
A 
"aspect ratio, A"H/¸ 
g 
"acceleration due to gravity (m s ) 
Gr 
"Grashof number, Gr"Ra/Pr 
h 
"convective heat transfer coe$ cient (W (m K) ) 
H 
"height (m) 
k 
"thermal conductivity (W (mK) ) 
K 
"heat transfer coe$ cient (W (m K) ) 
¸ 
"thickness (m) 
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Int. J. Energy Res. 2002; 26:611 } 632
HEAT LOSSES THROUGH BUILDING WALLS
_{6}_{3}_{1}
Nu 
"Nusselt number 
p 
"pressure (Pa) 
P 
"dimensionless pressure 
Pr 
"Prandtl number, Pr" / 
Ra 
"Rayleigh number, Ra"g ¹¸ / 
t 
"time (s) 
t* 
"dimensionless time 
¹ 
"temperature (K) 
u, w 
"xcomponent and zcomponent of velocity (m s ) 
;, = 
"dimensionless xcomponent and zcomponent of velocity 
x, < _{} z X, Z ¹ (z) 
"reference velocity, < _{} "(g ¹¸) (m s ) "Cartesian coordinates "dimensionless Cartesian coordinates "thermal volumetric expansion coe$cient (K ) "nondimensionalized heat transfer coe$cient "temperature di! erence (K) "local heat # ow (W m ) "thermal di! usivity (m s ) "kinematic viscosity (m s ) "density (kg m ) "dimensionless temperature 
Subscripts 

c 
"cold 
h 
"hot 
m 
"mean 
0 
"reference 
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