breathing wall

Water Bath Workshop

The student becomes the teacher. Last week, as part of the workshop series for the new 5th-year class, the current Breathing Wall Mass Timber Research Project team ran a workshop on water bath modeling. Water bath modeling is a way to visualize the flow of heat in a building using fluids of different densities to represent warmer and cooler air. In this case, the team used regular water and salt water with ink. The salt makes the water denser and therefore it sinks, which allows them to simulate warm air. Now, of course, warm air actually rises, so the entire model is tested upside down. The ink makes the heavier salt water visible as it flows through the model, allowing them to see how the heat flows through the space.

Water bath visualization of heat flow through Red Barn

This workshop was built upon the workshop the team did last year with Salmaan Craig, Kiel Moe, and David Kennedy. This year it served as a primer to the workshop that Sal, Kiel, and David ran on the concept of thermal mass and the science behind it, which forms the basis of one of the projects a new 5th-year team will be undertaking. The water bath modeling served not only as an introduction to a new way of thinking about buildings, but also provides the students with a new analytical tool to use in their future work.

Stay tuned for the return of the white lab coats.

For science,

The Buoyant Breathers

Soundtrack: Muddy Waters | LP