Analysis of thermal evolution in textile fabrics using advanced microstructure simulation techniques
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Nowadays, membrane structures represent a modern construction element to be used as roof material in modern buildings or as design element in combination with traditional architecture. Membranes are mostly used in an outdoor environment. Therefore they are exposed to wind, radiation (solar and infrared), rain and snow. Specific membranes are three-dimensional fabrics which can be used as energy absorber or as insulation of membrane roofs. The applicability as energy absorber becomes important if the three-dimensional fabrics are designed as a porous flow channel streamed by air and convectively heated up. The transferred energy may be stored in a latent heat storage system. Due to their porous structure, textile fabrics have a large heat-exchanging surface. If they are handled as homogenized porous structures, the heat transfer processes can not be described in a correct way. Therefore a microstructure model locally resolving all filaments of the three-dimensional fabrics has been formulated. By using an advanced meshing tool, a simulation technique has been developed taking into account the local heat conduction properties of the different materials. To analyse the heat transfer processes inside the three-dimensional fabrics, numerical simulations have been performed using the phase-field solver (Pace3D) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the commercial CFD-Solver StarCCM+. For a better understanding of the thermal behaviour of the fabrics, different thermal loads including thermal conduction in the microstructure (filaments) and convection by the surrounding air have been computed. The results show that the advanced simulation techniques allow to analyse the rate of conductive and convective heat transfer in three-dimensional fabrics. The results of the applied computational methods are compared.