Research Question: What is the performance of a low-cost and low-tech (Low Fab) desiccant system compared to a highly engineered system?
Hypothesis: Comparable levels of dehumidification, within the thermal comfort zone, can be achieved through a system made from low-cost silica gel packets as a system made from PEBAX™ 1074, a highly engineered blend of polyether block amide (nylon 12) and poly (ethylene oxide).
Construction and Assembly
How it works: Desiccants in either solid or liquid forms have a natural affinity for removing moisture. As air moves from a fan blower through the dehumidifying system’s zone, an interchangeable material component, moisture is removed and the processed air is released into the unconditioned chamber. Herein sensors are used to measure the ambient temperature and relative humidity.
Inline Duct Fan Blower
Rigid Foam Insulation
Dowels and/or Nails
DIY Silica Gel Membrane
PEBAX™ 1074 Membrane
Arduino, sensors, and breadboard
3D Printed Tech Holster and Membrane Molds
Strategies and Predictions
The system presented is targeted to regulate dehumidification only. Therefore control strategies include: 1. providing consistent and regular air flow via air blower, to achieve a steady-state condition representative of New Orleans hot, humid climate and 2. maintaining equal surface area of desiccant material (geometry of air channels). Given these conditions, the resulting dehumidification values of the low fab and the highly engineered system should be comparable - although the silica gel absorbs less total moisture content it will still extend the comfort zone.