Numerical simulation and thermal performance of hybrid brick walls embedding a phase change material for passive building applications

  • Zohir YounsiEmail author
  • Hassane NajiEmail author


Phase change materials (PCMs) have the ability to store/release huge latent heat during phase change. When used in the building envelope, the PCM wall panel can potentially enhance the building’s operation by reducing energy requirements to maintain thermal comfort, downsizing heating/cooling equipment, and shifting the peak load from the electrical grid. This work deals with the numerical simulation of the thermal performance of brick walls with embedded PCMs using an enthalpy-porosity approach. An implicit finite volume method is used for the numerical solution of conservation equations for mass, momentum, and energy. The results gathered have been judged in good agreement with the experiments. It turns out that incorporating PCM into brick masonry can both reduce maximum temperatures up to 3 °C and mitigate daily fluctuations. A higher PCM amount incorporated in a masonry wall reduces the energy consumption required to ensure a suitable comfort temperature. The inward heat transfer decreases if the PCM amount required for efficient storage is 20–30%. Finally, the proposed predictions seem to be useful for developing better storage of the heat energy and latent heat used in buildings to improve their overall energy efficiency.


Masonry brick Composite wall Phase change materials (PCMs) Enthalpy method Thermal performance Simulation 

List of symbols


Specific heat (J kg−1 K−1)


Liquid fraction


Total enthalpy (J m−3)


Specific enthalpy (J m−3)


Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)


Latent heat of fusion (J kg−1)


Total mass (kg)


Phase change material


Total stored energy (J)


Source term


Temperature (K)


Initial temperature (K)


Air temperature (K)


Melting point of materials (K)


Temperature imposed on two faces of the sample (K)


Wall temperature (K)


Time (s)


Control volume


Component of x-direction (m)

Greek symbols


Thermal diffusivity (m2 s−1)


Volume fraction (%)

\( \tilde{\varepsilon } \)

Selected tolerance (“Simulation approach” section)


Time step (s)


Space step (m)

Nabla operator


Heat flux (W m−2)


Relaxation factor


Density (kg m−3)

\( \tau \)

Period (s or h)


Heating/cooling rate (°C min−1)



Initial value



E, P, W

East, center, and west






Liquid phase




Iteration level


Old time value




Solid phase


Imposed temperature



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest regarding authorship and/or publication of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yncréa - Hautes Etudes d’Ingénieur, LGCgE (EA 4515)LilleFrance
  2. 2.Univ. Artois, Univ. Lille, Yncréa-HEI, IMT-Douai, Laboratoire Génie Civil and Geo-Environnement (LGCgE - EA 4515)BéthuneFrance

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