The Sink-Effect in Indoor Materials Mathematical Modelling and Experimental Studies

University dissertation from Stockholm : Byggvetenskap

Abstract: In this thesis the sink-effect in indoor materials wasstudied using mathematical modelling and experimental studies.The sink-effect is a concept which is commonly used tocharacterise the ability of different indoor materials to sorbcontaminants present in the indoor air. The sorption process ismore or less reversible, i.e. molecules sorbed in materials athigh contaminant concentrations may again be desorbed at lowerconcentrations. Knowledge of the sorption capacity of materialsand the rate at which sorption and desorption takes place is offundamental importance for mathematical simulation of indoorair quality. The aim of this work is to contribute withknowledge about how the sink-effect can be described inmathematical terms and how the interaction parametersdescribing the sorption capacity and sorption/desorptionkinetics can be determined. The work has been of amethodological nature. The procedure has been to set upphysically sound mathematical models of varying complexity andto develop small-scale chamber experiments. Two differentdynamic chamber methods have been used. One is based on amodified standard FLEC-chamber while the other uses a chamberwith two compartments, one on each side of the material. The"twin-compartment" method was designed due to the observationthat the contaminant readily permeated straight through theselected materials, which resulted in uncontrolled radiallosses in the FLEC-chamber. In order to be useful forcomparison between experiments and calculations and parameterfitting, the boundary conditions in the chambers must beprecisely known and controlled. This matter has shown to be themost crucial and difficult problem in the research. A varietyof mathematical models for the sink-effect have been proposed.In some models advanced fluid simulations were used in order totest the influence ofill-defined flow boundary conditions. Theaim of the modelling is to find a formulation with a minimum ofinteraction parameters, which is generally useful, i.e. both insmall-scale laboratory environments and in full-scale like anoffice room. Estimated model parameters are shown to be able toyield a reasonably good fit to experimental data for thesorption process but a less satisfactory fit for the desorptionprocess.Keywords:sink-effect, sorption, adsorption, diffusion,indoor air quality, volatile organic compounds, VOC,contaminants, building materials