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

Martin P. Ansell, Michael Lawrence, Yunhong Jiang, Andy Shea, Atif Hussain, Juliana Calabria-holley, Pete Walker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This 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, flax and rape shiv, straw, corn cob residues together with hemp and flax fibers. All of these materials possess low embodied energy and low embodied carbon compared to conventional materials of construction. The combination of the cellulosic materials with natural matrix materials results in exceptionally low thermal conductivity and high hygrothermal efficiency compared to conventional materials of construction 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 bio-composite panels 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 panels in test cells is reported together with their application in construction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNonconventional and Vernacular Construction Materials
Subtitle of host publicationCharacterisation, Properties and Applications
EditorsKent A. Harries, Bhavna Sharma
Place of PublicationDuxford, UK
PublisherElsevier
Chapter10
Pages217-245
Number of pages29
Edition2nd
ISBN (Print)9780081027042
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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