The Measurement and Prediction of Conditions within Indoor Microenvironments

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Biocontaminants, such as dust mites and microfungi, can live in building habitats with a spatial scale of only a few millimetres. With the recent development of very small size microchip-based sensors, it is now practicable to measure the humidity at different locations within these microenvironments. In the laboratory study described here, sensors were used to measure the conditions in a number of typical flooring systems using a variety of coverings. The measurements were compared with the predictions of a well-established and validated dynamic heat and moisture transfer simulation model. In order to provide an accurate input to the model, permeability and sorption tests were carried out on the flooring materials used. Finally, using monitored domestic environmental data, simulation results were coupled to a simplified growth model to predict dust mite activity in the flooring systems under realistic boundary conditions.

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