Comparison between ray-tracing simulations and bi-directional transmission measurements on prismatic glazing
Evaluation of solar heat gain and daylight distribution through complex window and shading systems requires the determination of the bi-directional transmission distribution function (BTDF). Measurement of BTDF can be time-consuming, and inaccuracies are likely because of physical constraints and experimental adjustments. A general calculation methodology, based on more easily measurable component properties, would be preferable and would allow much more flexibility. In this paper, measurements and calculations are compared for the specific case of prismatic daylight-redirecting panels. Measurements were performed in a photogoniometer equipped with a digital-imaging detection system. A virtual copy of the photogoniometer was then constructed with commercial ray-tracing software. For the first time, an attempt is made to validate detailed bi-directional properties for a complex system by comparing an extensive set of experimental BTDF data with ray-tracing calculations. The results generally agree under a range of input and output angles to a degree adequate for evaluation of glazing systems. An analysis is presented to show that the simultaneously measured diffuse and direct components of light transmitted by the panel are properly represented. Calculations were also performed using a more realistic model of the source and ideal model of the detector. Deviations from the photogoniometer model were small and the results were similar in form. Despite the lack of an absolute measurement standard, the good agreement in results promotes confidence in both the photogoniometer and in the calculation method.