Hygrothermal simulations of foundations: Part 1: Soil material properties
Journal article, 2013
Deep basements, crawl spaces and slab on grade are typical foundations in residential buildings in North America. The foundation of a house is a somewhat invisible and at sometimes ignored component of the building. Appropriate foundation design and construction practice must not only include thermal performance, but also design for a durable and safe hygrothermal performance. A hygrothermal simulation tool can be used to evaluate and predict the hygrothermal behavior of an insulated foundation constructions, in cooperation with the surrounding soil. Though, further development of the tool might first be needed and validated to fulfill the prerequisites. Transient hygrothermal simulation tools have existed in Building Science for more than 20 years, but are mainly used for building envelope simulation above ground. A lot of knowledge already exists in Soil Science concerning the variation of the soil material properties in relation to soil texture, moisture content etc. However, Soil Science uses these properties for other purpose and with different modeling approaches, hence a conversion is needed. This paper studies the existing knowledge of soil properties, converted to apply for simulation in Building Science. Further, the soil properties are implemented in a transient hygrothermal simulation tool, studying the applicability for modeling soil temperature and moisture flow. Finally the results are compared with measurement and followed by a discussion of further investigations and development needed.