Current insulation materials in the construction market, which are predominantly inorganic materials, have a high performance in relation to heat transfer, i.e. high R-values, but the environmental impacts in their production processes are significant. The use of bio-based natural fibre materials such as cork, cotton, wood fibre, hemp, etc. with their lower embodied energy, moisture buffering capacity and, consequently, improved Indoor Environmental Quality have received increasing focus in both research and application, particularly amongst environmentally-conscious clients and designers. In this study a natural fibre material in the form of wood waste is examined experimentally to assess its suitability for use as a thermal insulation material, without the addition of any binder, within a timber frame wall construction. The wood waste is from primary production sources using untreated material. According to our experimental results, the thermal conductivity values of wood waste with different densities, ranged from 0.048 to 0.055 W/mK. These values are slightly higher than commonly used inorganic based insulation materials, although comparable to other natural insulation materials in the market, but have the economic advantage of being a low-cost by-product. The values relating to the material hygric performance including the water vapour diffusion resistance factor, water vapour permeability, and water absorption coefficient were also determined and presented, which will help facilitate future hygrothermal modelling.
- Natural building materials
- Thermal insulation
- Wood waste
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Building and Construction
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
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- Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering - Senior Lecturer
- BRE Centre in Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM)
Person: Research & Teaching