Thermal insulating composites help to reduce the total power consumption in a building by creating a barrier between external and internal environment. Such composites can be used in the roofing tiles or wall panels for exterior surfaces. This study purposes to develop lightweight cement-based composites for thermal insulating applications. Waste materials like silica fume (an industrial by-product) and fly ash cenosphere (FAC) (hollow micro-spherical shells obtained as a waste residue from coal fired power plants) were used as partial replacement of cement and lightweight filler, respectively. Moreover, aerogel, a nano-porous material made of silica, was also used in different dosages for improved thermal insulating behavior, while poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers were added for enhanced toughness. The raw materials including binders and fillers were characterized by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) analysis techniques in which various physical and chemical properties of the raw materials were evaluated like specific surface area, chemical composition (oxide form), and pore size distribution (if any). Ultra-lightweight cementitious composites were developed by varying the amounts of FAC and aerogel with 28-day unit weight ranging from 1551.28 kg/m3 to 1027.85 kg/m3. Excellent mechanical and thermal insulating properties of the resulting composites were obtained ranging from 53.62 MPa to 8.66 MPa compressive strength, 9.77 MPa to 3.98 MPa flexural strength, and 0.3025 W/m-K to 0.2009 W/m-K as thermal conductivity coefficient (QTM-500). The composites were also tested for peak temperature difference between outer and inner surfaces when subjected to heating (in a specially designed experimental set-up) by a 275W infrared lamp. The temperature difference up to 16.78 oC was achieved, which indicated outstanding properties of the developed composites to act as a thermal barrier for building envelopes. Microstructural studies were carried out by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) for characterizing the inner structure of the composite specimen. Also, the hydration products were quantified using the surface area mapping and line scale technique in EDS. The microstructural analyses indicated excellent bonding of FAC and aerogel in the cementitious system. Also, selective reactivity of FAC was ascertained from the SEM imagery where the partially consumed FAC shells were observed. All in all, the lightweight fillers, FAC, and aerogel helped to produce the lightweight composites due to their physical characteristics, while exceptional mechanical properties, owing to FAC partial reactivity, were achieved.
In this research, waterglass based aerogel powder was prepared by sol–gel process and ambient pressure drying. Inspired by limited dust releasing, aerogel powder was introduced to the PET electrospinning solution in an attempt to create required bulk and surface structure for the nanofibers to improve their hydrophobic and insulation properties. The samples evaluation was carried out by measuring density, porosity, contact angle, heat transfer, FTIR, BET, and SEM. According to the results, porous silica aerogel powder was fabricated with mean pore diameter of 24 nm and contact angle of 145.9º. The results indicated the usefulness of the aerogel powder confined into nanofibers to control surface roughness for manipulating superhydrophobic nanowebs with water contact angle of 147º. It can be due to a multi-scale surface roughness which was created by nanowebs structure itself and nanofibers surface irregularity in presence of the aerogels while a layer of fluorocarbon created low surface energy. The wettability of a solid substrate is an important property that is controlled by both the chemical composition and geometry of the surface. Also, a decreasing trend in the heat transfer was observed from 22% for the nanofibers without any aerogel powder to 8% for the nanofibers with 4% aerogel powder. The development of thermal insulating materials has become increasingly more important than ever in view of the fossil energy depletion and global warming that call for more demanding energysaving practices.
The major objective of this study is to understand the potential of a newly fabricated equipment to study the thermal properties of nonwoven textile fabrics treated with aerogel at subzero temperatures. Thermal conductivity was calculated by using the empirical relation Fourier’s law, The relationship between the thermal conductivity and thermal resistance of the samples were studied at various environmental temperatures (which was set in the clima temperature system between +25oC to -25oC). The newly fabricated equipment was found to be a suitable for measuring at subzero temperatures. This field of measurements is being developed and will be the subject of further research which will be more suitable for measurement of the various thermal characteristics.
Sustainability, being the urgent issue of our time, is closely related with the innovations in technology. Nanotechnology (NT), although not a new science, can be regarded relatively a new science for buildings with brand new materials and applications. This paper tends to give a research review of current and near future applications of nanotechnology (NT) for achieving high-performance and healthy buildings for a sustainable future. In the introduction, the driving forces for the sustainability of construction industry are explained. Then, the term NT is defined, and significance of innovations in NT for a sustainable construction industry is revealed. After presenting the application areas of NT and nanomaterials for buildings with a number of cases, challenges in the adoption of this technology are put forward, and finally the impacts of nanoparticles and nanomaterials on human health and environment are discussed.