A review on the buffering capacity of earth building materials

F. McGregor, A. Heath, D. Maskell, A. Fabbri, Jean-Claude Morel

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    59 Citations (Scopus)


    Unfired clay building materials are recognised for their ability to regulate indoor humidity levels through their moisture buffering capacity. Research is being conducted on the moisture buffering capacity of a variety of building materials with natural materials, such as clay, and organic materials, such as hemp or straw, presenting a greater potential to regulate indoor humidity than industrial building materials. Due to their high affinity to water, which is usually regarded as detrimental, clay materials present complex hygrothermal coupling phenomena, which are still under investigation. This paper summarises some recent investigations into the dynamic water adsorption process within clay materials in relation to their ability to regulate indoor air humidity levels. First, a review of the experimental methods to characterise this behaviour is provided. A review of experimentally measured results on the material scale using compressed earth block, rammed earth or plaster samples is then provided, followed by some larger and whole building measurements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-251
    Number of pages11
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Construction Materials
    Issue number5
    Early online date5 Sept 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2016

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