Ellen Brehob

Assoc Professor

Ellen G. Brehob, is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering and has been working at UofL since 1995. Prior to coming to academia, Dr. Brehob was an NRC Research Associate in Morgantown, WV and worked at General Motors in Warren, MI.


  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 1985
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1983


Numerical simulation of phase change material composite wallboard in a multi-layered building envelope- 2013

Phase change materials (PCMs) have the capability to store/release massive latent heat when undergoing phase change. When impregnated or encapsulated into wallboard or concrete systems, PCMs can greatly enhance their thermal energy storage capacity and effective thermal mass. When used in the building envelope PCM wallboard has the potential to improve building operation by reducing the energy requirement for maintaining thermal comfort, downsizing the AC/heating equipment, and shifting the peak load from the electrical grid. In this work we numerically studied the potential of PCM on energy saving for residential homes. For that purpose we solved the one-dimensional, transient heat equation through the multi-layered building envelope using the Crank-Nicolson discretization scheme. A source term is incorporated to account for the thermal-physical properties of the composite PCM wallboard. Using this code we examined a PCM composite wallboard incorporated into the walls and roof of a typical residential building across various climate zones. The PCM performance was studied under all seasonal conditions using the latest typical meteorological year (TMY3) data for exterior boundary conditions. Our simulations show that PCM performance highly depends on the weather conditions, emphasizing the necessity to choose different PCMs at different climate zones. Comparisons were also made between different PCM wallboard locations. Our work shows that there exists an optimal location for PCM placement within building envelope dependent upon the resistance values between the PCM layer and the exterior boundary conditions. We further identified the energy savings potential by comparing the performance of the PCM wallboard against the performance of a building envelope without PCM. Our study shows that PCM composite wallboard can reduce the energy consumption in summer and winter and can shift the peak electricity load in the summer.

More about Ellen Brehob