Award Date

5-1-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Department

Architecture

First Committee Member

Alfredo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Second Committee Member

Deborah J. Oakley

Third Committee Member

Jacimaria Batista

Fourth Committee Member

Joshua Vemillion

Number of Pages

117

Abstract

Two prototype thermoelectric atmospheric water generator (AWG) devices were constructed and evaluated for their performance in collecting water. The devices consisted of two Peltier thermoelectric cooling (TEC) modules connected to a heat sink and a condensing surface. The TEC/heat sink assembly was anchored to an air-well constructed of extruded polystyrene and 3D-printed frames, and a fan was installed to draw in surrounding air. The condensing surfaces were either copper or aluminum and featured a surface area larger than the cold side of the TEC.

The performance of aluminum and copper surfaces were compared by measuring condensate collected after a test period of 5 hours (300 minutes). Relative humidity, ambient temperature and dew-point temperature were recorded at 15 minute intervals. Tests were conducted in Las Vegas, Nevada and Oceanside, CA. Oceanside featured a much higher average relative humidity than Las Vegas (65.3%) and overall, the average condensation collected was higher than condensation collected in Las Vegas, 11.8 mL versus 0.4 mL. Aluminum performed the best, with average condensate of 5.9 mL, suggesting thermal conductivity is not an essential measure of performance. The highest observed condensate collected was 26.9 mL in Oceanside, CA with a 68.4 in2 aluminum surface. T-tests were utilized to compare mean values between datasets to determine significance. Comparisons suggest that in arid environments air inside the air well is significantly colder than ambient temperature (~2°F), however there is no significant difference in humidity.

Regression analysis was performed on the data to characterize the relationship between environmental variables. The highest R2 values were associated with relative humidity and the ratio of sensible heat to latent heat. Calculations suggest that large numbers of these devices could generate a large amount of water on-site. The applications to architectural systems are discussed along with the significance in reducing water

consumption in buildings.

Keywords

Atmospheric Water Generation; Peltier Effect; Sustainable Building; Thermoelectric Cooling; Water Conservation

Disciplines

Architecture

Language

English


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Architecture Commons

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