Effect of façade impregnation on feasibility of capillary active thermal internal insulation for a historic dormitory – A hygrothermal simulation study

Gholam Reza Finken, Søren Peter Bjarløv, Ruut Hannele Peuhkuri

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Abstract

Internal insulation of external walls is known to create moisture performance challenges due to increased moisture levels and condensation risk on the cold side of the insulation. Capillary active/hydrophilic insulations have been introduced to solve these moisture problems, since they are able to transport liquid moisture to the inner surface and enable it to dry. Experience with this insulation type is rare in Denmark. In hygrothermal 1D computer simulations, several more or less capillary active insulation systems (AAC, calcium silicate, IQ-Therm) in various thicknesses (30–150 mm) have been tested for their hygrothermal performance. The original construction was a 228 mm solid brick masonry wall in a Copenhagen historic dormitory. All simulated systems showed critical relative humidity values above 80% and high risk of mould growth behind the insulation and some also on the interior surface. A moisture safe construction was only achieved when exterior façade impregnation shielding against driving rain was added. The best system showed acceptable relative humidity values both behind the insulation and on the interior surface, a significant increase in minimum temperature on the interior surface, and a reduction of heat loss through the external wall by 85%. The solely application of impregnation also resulted in a moisture safe solution with significant improvements in all parameters and heat loss reduction by 45%. The main conclusion is that capillary active insulation may not be feasible on solid bare masonry walls without additional driving rain protecting especially in case of multi-storey buildings with thin walls in high precipitation areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Volume113
Pages (from-to)202-214
ISSN0950-0618
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Capillary active
  • Internal thermal insulation
  • Mould index
  • Driving rain protection
  • Impregnation
  • Energy savings

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