C. Stone, R. Drab, F. Vranay


Engineers, architects and designers increasingly rely on mathematical constructs incorporated into civil engineering programs to explain physical and mechanical phenomena. A low thermal diffusivity represents a material’s ability to slow down the rate of heat transfer due to heat absorption and storage, so that high thermal masses are desirable. The thermal inertia of the earth structures in general is an under-researched topic, especially regarding their unique ability to delay and attenuate temperature responses. The paper uses a high temperature difference example, in the form of an experimental stove, to highlight the benefits of a thermal mass. Countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are known for their ornate historical masonry stoves that grace many stately houses, castles and palaces. They were stoked once or twice daily and radiated heat constantly during the winter months. This guild developed and thrived until the advent of modern HVAC systems in the 20th century. The paper sets out to monitor the temperature difference produced by stoking and firing a simplified experimental stove and analyses the decrease in temperature until it approaches a fixed room temperature. Temperature and heat flux are then observed to determine the total residual heat energy after burning, and the results are discussed in the conclusion. Inspired by these sound principles, based on lessons from the vernacular building traditions that have been used for centuries, the output of this work could be used in future to design an appropriate amount of the thermal mass to maximize thermal efficiency in fireplaces and stoves and as a precedent for a synergetic combination of the thermal mass and renewable energy sources.



volumetric heat capacity, thermal conductivity, heat flux

Full Text: PDF

Print ISSN: 1392-1231
Online ISSN: 2029-719X