3D-CFD analysis of diffusion and emission of VOCs in a FLEC cavity

Q. Zhu, S. Kato, S. Murakami, K. Ito

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17 Citations (Scopus)


This study is performed as a part of research that examines the emission and diffusion characteristics of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor building materials. In this paper, the flow field and the emission field of VOCs from the surface of building materials in a Field and Laboratory Emission Cell (FLEC) cavity are examined by 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. The flow field within the FLEC cavity is laminar. With a total flow of 250 ml/min, the air velocity near the test material surface ranges from 0.1 to 4.5 cm/s. Three types of emission from building materials are studied here: (i) emission phenomena controlled by internal diffusion, (ii) emission phenomena controlled by external diffusion, and (iii) emission phenomena controlled by mixed diffusion (internal + external diffusion). In the case of internal diffusion material, with respect to the concentration distribution in the cavity, the local VOC emission rate becomes uniform and the FLEC works well. However, in the case of evaporation type (external diffusion) material, or mixed type materials (internal + external diffusion) when the resistance to transporting VOCs in the material is small, the FLEC is not suitable for emission testing because of the thin FLEC cavity. In this case, the mean emission rate is restricted to a small value, since the VOC concentration in the cavity rises to the same value as the surface concentration through molecular diffusion within the thin cavity, and the concentration gradient normal to the surface becomes small. The diffusion field and emission rate depend on the cavity concentration and on the Loading Factor. That is, when the testing material surface in the cavity is partially sealed to decrease the Loading Factor, the emission rate become higher with the decrease in the exposed area of the testing material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-188
Number of pages11
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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