Of particular importance to the brick industry is the seismic performance of masonry structures, as earthquake design of all structures (including housing) is now mandatory.
Thermal Performance and Energy Efficiency of Housing
In energy-related research of particular interest to industry is the groundbreaking research being conducted on the thermal performance of masonry housing. Increased emphasis is being placed on thermal performance of buildings, with energy rating systems for housing now in place.
A key feature of the research program has been the construction of four full scale test house modules on campus, which has allowed researchers to properly monitor and study the thermal performance of complete building systems and develop realistic numerical simulations of thermal behaviour. A complementary full scale roof testing facility has also been developed.
A range of walling and roofing systems are being considered (cavity brick and brick veneer with and without insulation, lightweight construction, tiled and metal roofs etc). The effects of windows are also being considered. In parallel with the experimental study, a parallel analytical study is in progress with thermal modelling software in an advanced state of development.
One of the key features of the software is that it is being verified using the actual date collected from the test module and an existing cottage located elsewhere on campus.
This research facility has access to excellent structural testing facilities including a range of universal testing machines, a comprehensive ‘strong floor’ and ‘strong wall’ facility as well as state of the art data acquisition equipment and technical support to assist with specialist consulting to industry and government. ASTM Thermal Hot Box Apparatus and Housing Thermal Test Modules