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Water wall with filled wine bottles instead of huge containers?  RSS feed

 
Tanja Sieger
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Hi everyone,
I am in the process of planing our strawbale house and I have just stumbled over an awesome idea: water walls! But our house will be very small and I don't have the space for big containers. So I thought: Why not fill wine bottles that have a cap with water and integrate them in the already planed interior wall that is facing north (southern hemisphere) and the wall behind the heater. It might look somewhat similar to the picture attached but with caps put on. Does anyone have experience with something like that? I don't find any information online. There are heaps of bottle walls but none of them are filled. I thought of letting the neck and bottom of the bottles look out of the wall in order to get the amazing glas bottle effect. The first wall will be approx. 1m x 2.30m and the second 2m x 2.5m. Is this a stupid idea? Anyone has made experience with this kind of thing or has more information than I do?
The house will stand on stilts but I don't think that the extra weight will be a problem. Will address that with my arcitect.

Thanks so much in advance for your opinions and help!
bottle-canada-pei-bottle-houses.jpg
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Glenn Herbert
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The one serious issue I see would be expansion. If sealed, when the water heats up it will try to expand a small amount, and glass bottles have no give. A bit of airspace in each bottle might work to allow water expansion, or it might not... you would have to experiment to find out.
 
Tanja Sieger
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Yes I thought of that too but then I saw the drawing attached and for one liter of water the difference is almost non-esisting. If I leave like 1 cl of space that should be already enough. And the wall won't heat up to boiling point for sure. But that's just what I found in internet... I have absolutely no clue about things like that... so if anyone knows better: your advise is very welocme.
water_temperature_specific_volume.png
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Tanja Sieger
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Ah and I forgot to ask: do you know how much sunlight per day a wall like this needs in order to function well as a heating source?
 
John Wolfram
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I'm not exactly sure what you are planning on doing with the water in the bottles, but leaving them empty would would improve the insulative properties of the wall because water conducts heat about 25 times more than air.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/thrcn.html
 
Tanja Sieger
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Thanks John but I don't need the water for insultaion as it is an interior wall in a really well insulatet strawbale house. Water is aparently the best thermal mass you can find. Therefore I wanted to use the filled bottles as a termal mass inside a wall that receives sunlight during the day in order to help us heat the house.
 
wayne fajkus
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Algae might be an issue. Light transmission a criteria?
 
John Wolfram
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Tanja Sieger wrote:Thanks John but I don't need the water for insultaion as it is an interior wall in a really well insulatet strawbale house. Water is aparently the best thermal mass you can find. Therefore I wanted to use the filled bottles as a termal mass inside a wall that receives sunlight during the day in order to help us heat the house.

If you really want to get creative, you could fill the bottles with a wax that goes through a phase change around room temperature. Here is an article about BASF's product that uses paraffin wax to capture and release heat.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Glenn Herbert wrote:The one serious issue I see would be expansion. If sealed, when the water heats up it will try to expand a small amount, and glass bottles have no give. A bit of airspace in each bottle might work to allow water expansion, or it might not... you would have to experiment to find out.


Actually air and gasses expand dramatically with temperature rise, but water doesn't change volume much, so if you want to prevent expansion, it's better to keep all air out of the bottles, and only water. That's why when you travel, a half-full container of shampoo or lotion is MORE likely to spill in your bag than a full one. It helps to squeeze all the air out before sealing.
 
Christopher Steen
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Hey Tanja,
My buddy did just that with a trombe wall in his Earthship, cobbed right in. Bottoms face Sun obviously. Believe he's been happy with it for at least a few years now. Guess you'd want to borrow a brewers capping rig or order synthetic corks so that they're good.
 
Tanja Sieger
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Thanks so much for your answers:
Wayne: yea I thought of puting some clorine in the water to avoid that. I would love some light to come through the bottles but am not depending on this light source for the house.

Rebecca: Perfect, thank you! I did not know that. Very helpful!

Christopher: great, thank you. I actually thought of just using white wine bottles that come with caps or spirit ones. I thought of bottoms facing inside though and not all cobbed in so that some light passes through. i would leave the whole neck and a bit more facing the sun and some 3 cm of the bottom facing into the room to make light transmission bigger and the wall less thick. Nevertheless there will still be around 20 cm of cob wall.
 
Christopher Steen
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Don't know why I wrote 'obviously', just trying to explain his wall. I think your wall will perform nicely.
I've personally been partial to the aesthetic of laying the bottles vertically, wherein the bottle diameter is slightly proud of the cob thickness.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Re: expansion, yes water expands much less than air with temperature, but gases are compressible and water is not. A mitigating factor would be the difference in expansion of water and glass, which might not cause any significant stress if the coefficients are close enough. Both water and bottle would be heating up together. Sealing the bottles while they are filled with hot water would further minimize expansion pressure, as long as the seal is truly complete.

Wax as a heat storage phase change material is interesting... it wants some numbers looked up and calculations to see whether there is enough benefit to be worth the effort and expense.
 
Tanja Sieger
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Thanks for your answers.

We are on a tight budget so I am not thinking of buying wax when there are similar free options, but thanks a lot for the idea.

Well as I have understood until now expansion wouldn't be a problem as long as I fill the bottles with warm water and seal them well.

My friends told me that I should be careful with this idea though because the weight will be an issue and also it might not be possible to start with the bottles right from the bottom of the wall because the glas bottle might not resist the weight of the wall on top of it and burst. They don't know how this is with filled bottles but empty bottles are prone to burst when the wall above is too heavy.

So many things to think about...
 
Christopher Steen
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Google image search "bottle temple"
Doesn't look like they have a crushing problem with empty bottles.
 
Tanja Sieger
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Yea I saw that (put the picture in this post way at the top) but aparently there were other people that had problems with it. Supose it depends on how thick the wall is, how you stack the bottles, what material you use for the wall, ... but it's really just a guess...
 
shilo kinarty
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add alcohol for antifreez
 
Rebecca Norman
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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The guys at our school made some concrete bricks with bottles of water inside this autumn, planning to install them as a trombe wall next spring when construction resumes. They were stacked outside. But in early November they started to freeze and break. Oops! Maybe they'd never have frozen and broken if they'd been installed in a passive solar building, but still, I now think it's a fragile thing to include in construction. Anyway, plain old mud bricks or rammed earth walls or concrete bricks make a perfectly good trombe wall, and i just don't see the need for bottles of water in it.
 
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