Multiphysics design optimization model for structural walls incorporating phase-change materials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of energy-efficient building envelopes has been an ongoing effort in many countries owing to the pressing need to achieve energy independence. In this study numerical optimization techniques and finite element analysis provide the means to find a compromise point between adding phase-change materials (PCMs) to a concrete wall, the energy savings and the wall's structural capacity. The primary objective is to minimize the overall lifetime cost of a wall by understanding the implications of PCM layer thickness, material properties and position in the wall on the overall energy consumption. While it is difficult to manually configure a typical wall for the lowest total cost, the developed computational framework provides an automated tool for searching for the best design. The results show that successful designs can be obtained where material and energy costs can be minimized through a judicious combination of existing building materials with thermal energy storage materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-327
Number of pages20
JournalEngineering Optimization
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015


  • cost minimization
  • finite element analysis
  • numerical optimization
  • phase-change material

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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