A Multiscale Network Model for Simulating Moisture Transfer Properties of Porous Media

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A multiscale network model is presented to model unsaturated moisture transfer in hygroscopic capillary-porous materials showing a broad pore-size distribution. Both capillary effects and water sorption phenomena, water vapour and liquid water transfer are considered. The multiscale approach is based on the concept of examining the porous space at different levels of magnification. The conservation of the water vapour permeability of dry material is used as scaling criterion to link the different pore scales. A macroscopic permeability is deduced from the permeabilities calculated at the different levels of magnification. Each level of magnification is modelled using an isotropic nonplanar 2D cross-squared network. The multiscale network simulates the enhancement of water vapour permeability due to capillary condensation, the hysteresis phenomenon between wetting and drying, and the steep increase of moisture permeability at the critical moisture saturation level. The calculated network permeabilities are compared with experimental data for calcium silicate and ceramic brick and a good agreement is observed.

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