Internal Temperatures Variations In Hot/Humid Climates

  • YEAR
    O’Brien, Dr. David
    2007 Conference Papers
    Construction and materials


Abstract: The effect of time-lag (or thermal-lag) – where thermal mass and ground coupling provide
dampening effects that reduce the amplitude of temperature variations – is often used as a way to justify
masonry construction technologies in hot/humid climates. Structures with mass walls are thermally more
stable than those with lightweight walls because thermal mass diminishes the effects of both high and low
temperatures. This paper questions the value of mass construction technologies in hot/humid climates. A
series of test modules were constructed from both lightweight and mass materials with a series of internal
temperature measurements recorded over an extended period of time. Analysis shows that in hot/humid
climates the thermal comfort advantages associated with mass construction are particular to a short period
of the day in specific conditions and are on the whole negligible. It finds that additional factors such as
ground coupling, ventilation and the presence or absence of shade play a more significant role determining
temperature variations. The paper suggests that lightweight construction offers additional advantages over
mass construction and concludes by suggesting that internal temperature fluctuations within lightweight
and mass modules are more closely linked to factors other than thermal mass.


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