Hygrothermal performance of hemp based thermal insulation materials in the UK

PhD Thesis

Latif, Eshrar 2013. Hygrothermal performance of hemp based thermal insulation materials in the UK. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Architecture Computing and Engineering https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3454
AuthorsLatif, Eshrar
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis explores the hygrothermal performance of hemp insulation in the context of the United Kingdom. The key objectives of this investigation were to assess the heat and moisture management capacities of hemp insulations in two constructions typical to the UK, of timber frame and solid brick walls and to put the findings of the assessment into the greater context of conventional insulation materials by comparing hemp insulation’s performance with that of stone wool. The assessments were performed by means of laboratory-based experiments, in situ experimental monitoring and computer based numerical hygrothermal simulations. The most important finding during the laboratory-based experiment is that, in high relative humidity, the likelihood and frequency of interstitial condensation is higher in stone wool insulation than in hemp insulation. In terms of the material properties, one of the key findings during the laboratory-based experiment is the high level of moisture buffering capacities of hemp insulations, and therefore their potential in managing moisture in buildings. The in situ assessment of hygrothermal properties of hemp and stone wool insulations confirms the findings of the laboratory based experiments of the corresponding moisture management capacities of these two insulation materials. Parametric analysis of the in situ data shows that mould spore germination is possible in the insulations in vapour open walls although the visual observation has not confirmed the outcome of this analysis. In terms of thermal conductivity, the important finding is that the equivalent thermal conductivity of hemp and stone wool insulations are always equal or below the manufacturers’ declared thermal conductivity values. Long-term hygrothermal performances of hemp and stone wool insulation in timber frame and solid brick walls have been also assessed using a numerical hygrothermal simulation tool (WUFI). As far as the WUFI predictions are concerned, the application of the hemp or stone wool insulation on solid brick wall does not seem to be feasible with reference to condensation and mould growth in the insulations.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3454
Publication dates
PrintDec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
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