Foam and Function

Comprised of 9 parts robotically cut foam, 2 parts gorilla glue, 1 part mylar, and many parts thermodynamic theorizing, CHAOS Lab presented their foray in indirect evaporative radiant cooling on September 1, 2014. The ThermoHelioDome, the culmination of a summer’s worth of work, planning and optimization, combines a cooling tower and spherical and conical geometries to focus the effects of evaporative cooling on the interior of the spherical dome shape by focusing the radiation from the cooled bulbs on occupants

Experimental evaporative cooling reflective radiant cooling pavilion
Experimental evaporative cooling reflective radiant cooling pavilion

The interior maximizes reflective surface area while minimizing cost and shapes for ease of construction, using only 5 unique shapes generating 3 unique dishes and spanning 5 rows of foam. The external insulated piping, connected to a chiller, circulates water chilled to the wet-bulb temperature with a 0.75 HP pump at a flow rate of roughly 30 gpm, which is high enough to minimize temperature gains across the system. Mylar surfaces reflect the depressed temperature, and by altering the surface temperatures, a cooler-than-ambient temperature is perceived while walking through the pavilion. Information was collected via Arduino-based sensors for mean radiant temperature, ambient temperature and humidity, flow rate, water temperature, dome interior temperature, and cooling power.

thermoheliodome-camera-cone-image img_1864

Research team led by Prof Forrest Meggers, faculty jointly appointed in the School of Architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.