Paper Conference

Proceedings of SimBuild Conference 2012: 5th conference of IBPSA USA


A Systematic Approach to Hygrothermal Modeling and Compliance with Failure Criteria Using WUFI

Pallavi Mantha, Lois B. Arena
Steven Winter Associates Inc., Norwalk, CT

Abstract: Simulating the prediction of moisture movement and related risk within building envelopes has gained momentum with the increased use of thicker walls, new materials and assemblies. One such simulation software used widely across North America for hygrothermal analysis is WUFI 5.1. As with any other simulator, WUFI 5.1 requires a few basic inputs such as location, orientation, climate and construction. But hygrothermal modeling is not a clear-cut task. The interactions between the macro level inputs and the dependency on molecular make-up and characteristics of materials makes prediction of hygrothermal performance very volatile. This volatility could lead to under or over predicting moisture related risk in building elements. As a part of an ongoing research and monitoring project, the authors' team evaluated and intends to monitor several different configurations of wall assemblies in multiple climate and moisture zones to determine the accuracy of moisture modeling. The goal is to make recommendations to ensure durable, efficient assemblies. Based on this research, this paper presents a systematic approach to hygrothermal modeling with WUFI 5.1. Methods to determine compliance with existing failure criteria using results from WUFI 5.1 are discussed. General software observations and possible future improvements are suggested.
Pages: 414 - 422