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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Window, Fenestration, Heat-transfer, Three dimensional (3-D), Numerical analysis, Convection model


Buildings in USA consume close to 40% of overall energy used and fenestration products (e.g. windows, doors, glazed-wall etc.) are the largest components of energy loss from buildings. Accurate evaluation of thermal performances of fenestration systems is critical in predicting the overall building energy use, and improving the product performance. Typically, two-dimensional (2-D) heat transfer analysis is used to evaluate their thermal performance as the 3-D analysis is highly complex process requiring significantly more time, effort, and cost compared to 2-D analysis. Another method of evaluation e.g. physical test in a hotbox is not possible for each product as they are too expensive. Heat transfer in fenestration products is a 3-D process and their effects on overall heat transfer need to be investigated. This thesis investigated 3-D heat transfer effects in fenestration systems in comparison to the 2-D results. No significant work has been done previously in terms of 3-D modeling of windows, which included all the three forms of heat transfer e.g. conduction, convection and radiation. Detailed 2-D and 3-D results were obtained for broad range of fenestration products in the market with a range of frame materials, spacers, insulated glass units (IGU), and sizes. All 2-D results were obtained with Therm5/Window5 (e.g. currently standard method of evaluating thermal performance) and GAMBIT/FLUENT while all 3-D results were obtained with GAMBIT/FLUENT. All the three modes of heat transfer mechanism were incorporated in the heat transfer modeling. The study showed that the overall 3-D heat transfer effects are relatively small (less than 3%) for present day framing and glazing systems. Though at individual component level (e.g. sill, head, Jamb) 3-D effects were quite significant (~10%) but they are cancelled by their opposite sign of variation when overall fenestration system effect is calculated. These 3-D heat transfer effects are higher for low conducting or more energy efficient glazing and framing systems and for smaller size products. The spacer systems did not have much impact on the 3-D effects on heat transfer. As the market transforms towards more insulating and higher performance fenestration products, 3-D effects on heat transfer would be an important factor to consider which it may require correlations to be applied to 2-D models, or may necessitate the development of dedicated 3-D fenestration heat transfer computer programs.


First Advisor

Dragan Charlie Curcija