Using the Analytic Hierarchy Process to Prioritize and Select Phase Change Materials for Comfort Application in Buildings

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Abstract

Phase change materials (PCMs) selection and prioritization for comfort application in buildings have a significant contribution to the improvement of latent heat storage systems. PCMs have a relatively large thermal energy storage capacity in a temperature range close to their switch point. PCMs absorb energy during the heating process as phase change takes place and release energy to the environment in the phase change range during a reverse cooling process. Thermal energy storage systems using PCMs as storage medium offer advantages such as: high heat storage capacity and store/release thermal energy at a nearly constant temperature, relative low weight, small unit size and isothermal behaviour during charging and discharging when compared to the sensible thermal energy storage. PCMs are valuable only in the range of temperature close to their phase change point, since their main thermal energy storage capacity depend on their mass and on their latent heat of fusion. Selection of the proper PCMs is a challenging task because there are lots of different materials with different characteristics. In this research paper the principles and techniques of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) are presented, discussed and applied in order to prioritize and select the proper PCMs for comfort application in buildings. The AHP method is used for solving complex decisional problems and allows the decision maker to take the most suitable decisions for the problem studied. The results obtained reveal that the AHP method can be successfully applied when we want to choose a PCM for comfort application in buildings.

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Mathematical Modelling in Civil Engineering

The Journal of Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest

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