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International 2013 Materials Education Symposium

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Thermal Performance of Laminated Materials for Buildings

Dr Hugh Shercliff | University of Cambridge

Thermal Performance of Laminated Materials for Buildings

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Laminated and sandwich panel construction is commonly used in pre-fabricated buildings, giving structural efficiency. This project investigates the thermal performance of laminated building materials, starting from the modeling methods in Granta's Hybrid Synthesizer tool. Thermal conductivity, embodied energy and cost are estimated for various multi-layer panels, using the 2013 release of CES Selector. The project then goes deeper into the thermal response, using finite element analysis to examine the thermal performance of laminates in relation to the typical diurnal temperature cycles to which external walls are subjected, e.g. to investigate the effectiveness of using the walls as thermal mass to store heat during the day for release at night. The analysis investigates "effective" thermal diffusivities for the daily timescale of temperature variation, and tests the sensitivity of the thermal response to assumptions about heat transfer at the panel surface and between layers. Case studies range from high-tech "zero carbon" housing in developed countries, to low-cost simple technologies suitable for all economies (such as walls based on straw bales and rammed earth).