My research interest lies in the performance analysis of buildings on different scales: materials, components and whole buildings in their environment. These topics matter to me given the risen energy prices and the presure that generations have put on our environment. Currently I’m pursuing a PhD at the Laboratory of Building Physics of the K.U.Leuven after finishing my masther thesis on the hygrothermal response of light-weight wood frame buildings. The focus of most research is the heat-air-moisture (HAM) analysis with the use of finite element models.
Rainwater runoff on porous building materials (Sep 2011 – present)
Damage in historical buildings is often moisture related and affects the building envelope as wel as valuable objects in the indoor environment. A correct assessment of the damage risk requires reliable simulation tools to predict the course of surface, indoor temperature and relative humidity conditions. This can only be done by simultaneously studying the moisture balance of the indoor and outdoor environment, the interaction with the HVAC-system and the hygrothermal behaviour of the building envelope.
My current PhD focusses on the influence of the outdoor environment and the hygrothermal behaviour of the building envelope. Currently I’m researching the effects of wind driven rain (WDR) on the moisture uptake and transport to the inside environment by using both experimental methods and numerical simulations.
Master thesis (June 2011)
Due to the recent growing awareness for high energy prices and durability in construction, low-energy and passive houses are developped and getting more and more popular. In most cases wood-frame construction methods are used with a focus on highly insulated walls and airtightness. In the traditional wood-frame buildings this airtight layer is situated at the warm side, a labour-intensive process due to the many joints and possible perforations.
The master thesis examens the effects of moving the airtight layer to the cold side. Case-studies point out that good results are reached given airtightness and that time reduction in the construction process is high using capillary materials with a bituminous coating.
In the second part of the master thesis the hygrothermic response is both measured in lab-circumstances on real-scale wood-frame walls and the material level and compared to simulations. Construction quality is found to be influencial and risks of mould-growth high at the top part of the walls. Further study and optimalisation of the materials is necesarry.
full text available upon request