Modeling the similarity and the potential of toluene and moisture buffering capacities of hemp concrete on IAQ and thermal comfort

Anh Dung Tran Le, Jianshun S. Zhang, Zhenlei Liu, Driss Samri, Thierry Langlet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Controlling and understanding indoor humidity and pollutants can help reduce the risk of health concerns. The experimental results suggested that there is a similarity relationship between water vapor and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in diffusion through porous media. In this paper, the similarity between the moisture and pollutant transport and storage coefficients of porous building materials has been clearly established and explained. In addition, two similarity coefficients have been defined for VOC storage and diffusion to estimate the VOC properties from the moisture properties of the same material. A coupled hygric-pollutant (VOC) model which can be used to simulate VOC and hygric behavior of building materials under dynamic conditions is presented. The model which is implemented in the environment SPARK (Simulation Problem Analysis and Research Kernel) suited to complex problems using finite difference technique with an implicit scheme, has been validated with the experimental data. It is then applied to study the effect of toluene and moisture buffering capacities of a hemp concrete wall on indoor toluene concentration and relative humidity (RH). Hemp concrete was chosen in this study because it is an environmentally-friendly material that is used more and more in building construction. The toluene (TOL, selected VOC for this study) transport and storage properties obtained from hygrique properties of hemp concrete based on the assumption of the similarity between toluene and moisture transport have been modelled and investigated. At the room level, the results obtained show that taking into account the sorption capacity toward moisture and toluene has a significant effect on indoor RH and IAQ because hemp concrete contributes to dampen indoor RH and toluene variations. The numerical model presented is very useful for the building design optimization and can be used for a fast estimation of indoor pollution and hygrothermal conditions in building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107455
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021


  • Hemp concrete
  • Indoor air quality
  • Modeling
  • Moisture
  • Moisture buffering capacity
  • Similarity
  • Toluene buffering capacity
  • VOC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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