Processed straw as effective thermal insulation for building envelope constructions
The efficiency of thermal insulation materials obtained from renewable resources depends on the possibilities of reducing thermal transfer via solid and gaseous conduction, thermal radiation and, in some cases, convection. The heat transfer mechanism for thermal insulation materials mostly depends on the structure and density of the material used. Efficient thermal insulation materials consist of a gaseous phase and a solid skeleton. Gas content in such materials can take more than 99% of material by volume. In this case, thermal transfer via solid conductivity is negligible.
The current work analyses the possibilities of reducing heat transfer in the straw of a varying structure. For conducting experiments, barley straw was used. To evaluate the impact of straw stalk orientation in a specimen on thermal conductivity, strongly horizontally and vertically oriented specimens of straw stalks were prepared. To reduce heat transfer via gaseous conduction and convection in large cavities in straw stalks and between stalks, barley straw were chopped and defibered. In order to decrease heat transfer via radiation after thermal conductivity measurements, mechanically processed straw were coated with infrared absorbers. Due to thermal conductivity measurements of chopped and defibered straw, an optimal amount of infrared absorbers were determined.