Natural plant-based aggregates and bio-composite panels with low thermal conductivity and high hygrothermal efficiency for applications in construction

Martin Ansell, Michael Lawrence, Yunhong Jiang, Andrew Shea, Atif Hussain, Juliana Calabria-Holley, Pete Walker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The chapter considers natural plant-based aggregates and bio-composite panels which have been developed for sustainable construction with low thermal conductivity and high hygrothermal efficiency. The cellulosic materials include hemp shiv, straw, corn cob residues together with jute, rape seed and flax fibres. All of these materials possess low embodied energy and low embodied carbon. The combination of the cellulosic materials with the natural matrix materials results in exceptionally low thermal conductivity and high hygrothermal efficiency as a result of their microporosity and breathability.

The physical characteristics of natural plant-based aggregates are assessed in terms of their pore size distribution, density and microstructure. Measurements of the thermal conductivity of the bio-composites are described which confirm their highly insulating properties. Hygroscopic testing demonstrates their effectiveness in absorbing and releasing moisture. The thermal and hygroscopic performance of bio-composite renders and panels in test cells is reported together with their application in construction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNonconventional and Vernacular Construction Materials: Characterisation, Properties and Applications
EditorsKent Harries, Bhavna Sharma
PublisherWoodhead Publishing
Chapter10
Pages217-246
Number of pages30
Edition2nd
ISBN (Electronic)9780081027059
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-102704-2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019

Cite this

Ansell, M., Lawrence, M., Jiang, Y., Shea, A., Hussain, A., Calabria-Holley, J., & Walker, P. (2019). Natural plant-based aggregates and bio-composite panels with low thermal conductivity and high hygrothermal efficiency for applications in construction. In K. Harries, & B. Sharma (Eds.), Nonconventional and Vernacular Construction Materials: Characterisation, Properties and Applications (2nd ed., pp. 217-246). Woodhead Publishing.