Brick and mortar treatment by cream emulsion for improved water repellence and thermal insulation

James MacMullen, Zhongyi Zhang, E. Rirsch, Hom Dhakal, Nick Bennett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A novel polymer cream was applied to brick and mortar in an attempt to reduce water absorption and to improve thermal insulation for household heating energy saving. Tests were carried out on surface energy, water contact angle, thermal conductivity and sorptivity of brick and mortar with and without cream treatment. A model house was built and a heating and monitoring system was developed to quantitatively evaluate the heating energy consumption in different conditions before and after cream treatment. It was found out that cream treatment can successfully impart good water repellence and enhanced the thermal insulation of the brick and mortar. The results from contact angle and surface energy measurements showed that the materials became highly hydrophobic. Experimental results from the model house showed approximately 9% heating energy consumption reduction in dry conditions and approximately 50% in wet conditions. In addition, the internal humidity typically was reduced to almost 1/3 of that of the control. It has been demonstrated that the novel cream treatment on masonry buildings can help reduce damp problems and save household heating energy consumption which can make a significant contribution to addressing social, environmental, ecological and economic problems resulting from climate change and global warming.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1560-1565
    Number of pages6
    JournalEnergy and Buildings
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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