Development of a cost effective probe for the long term monitoring of straw bale buildings

Jim Carfrae, Pieter De Wilde, John Littlewood, Steve Goodhew, Peter Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper reviews current methodologies for measuring the moisture content of straw bale walls in buildings. It discusses the development of an affordable and accurate moisture probe that has been designed to be easily assembled by the builder or owner of a straw bale building from items readily available in the United Kingdom (UK). The probe uses a timber block inserted into the wall, relying upon the measurable moisture variances of the timber and relating this to the surrounding straw. The probes are designed to be used in pairs of varying length, taking measurements at different depths to give an estimate of the moisture gradient through the wall. In order to properly calibrate this device, a full set of sorption and desorption isotherms were established for both Oat and Wheat straw and three different timber species. The results from an environmental chamber have been compared to readings from specimens of the new probe installed in a straw bale house in the south west of the UK. The results were found to be consistent, to within 2%, with the laboratory findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

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