BA8108 - Thermal Building Insulation Materials


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Oral examination
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Oral examination 100/100 E

Course content

The course Thermal Building Insulation Materials addresses traditional, state-of-the-art and possible future thermal building insulation materials, with respect to properties, requirements and possibilities. Basic thermal transport properties are treated, including solid state, gas, radiation and convection conductance. The advantages and disadvantages of the miscellaneous building insulation materials and solutions are discussed. Examples of insulation materials are mineral wool, expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, polyurethane, vacuum insulation panels, gas insulation panels, aerogels, and future possibilities like vacuum insulation materials, nano insulation materials and dynamic insulation materials. Various properties, requirements and possibilities are compared and studied. Among these are thermal conductivity, perforation vulnerability, building site adaptability and cuttability, mechanical strength, fire protection, fume emission during fire, robustness, climate ageing durability, resistance towards freezing/thawing cycles, water resistance, costs and environmental impact. Currently, there exist no single insulation material or solution capable of fulfilling all the requirements with respect to the most crucial properties. That is, for the buildings of today and the near future, several insulation materials and solutions are used and will have to be used depending on the exact circumstances and specifications. As of today, new materials and solutions like e.g. vacuum insulation panels are emerging, but only slowly introduced in the building sector partly due to their short track record. Therefore it will be of major importance to know the limitations and possibilities of all the insulation materials and solutions, i.e. their advantages and disadvantages. In this respect new conceptual thermal building insulation materials are being explored, also including experimental investigations.

Learning outcome

Knowledge, skills and general competence:Obtain an overview and deeper insight about the properties, requirements and possibilities, including advantages and disadvantages, about:- Traditional thermal building insulation materials.- State-of-the-art thermal building insulation materials.- Possible future thermal building insulation materials like e.g. nano insulation materials (NIM) and dynamic insulation materials (DIM).Obtain an overview and deeper insight about various thermal transport mechanisms, i.e.:- Solid state thermal transport.- Gas thermal transport.- Radiation thermal transport.- Convection thermal transport.- Leakage thermal transport.- Solid state and gas thermal transport interactions.- Thermal transport term accounting for second order effects between the various thermal conductivities given above.Investigate, discuss and explore the possibilties of inventing and making novel high performance thermal building insulation materials.

Learning methods and activities

The tuition in the course Thermal Building Insulation Materials will be mainly based on a guided self-tuition. A few introductory and summary lectures/colloquiums will be given, though (also according to need). To pass the course a score of at least 70 percent is required.

Required previous knowledge

- General knowledge about building materials and building physics.- Basic thermal transport knowledge.- Basic knowledge in mathematics, physics and chemistry.

Course materials

The curriculum is based on the scientific journal articles given in the literature list below, which may be subject to changes:M. Alam, H. Singh and M. C. Limbachiya, ”Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) for Building Construction Industry – A Review of the Contemporary Developments and Future Directions”, Applied Energy, 88, 3592 3602, 2011.M. S. Al Homoud, ”Performance Characteristics and Practical Applications of Common Building Thermal Insulation Materials”, Building and Environment, 40, 353 366, 2005.R. Baetens, B. P. Jelle, J. V. Thue, M. J. Tenpierik, S. Grynning, S. Uvsløkk and A. Gustavsen, ”Vacuum Insulation Panels for Building Applications: A Review and Beyond”, Energy and Buildings, 42, 147 172, 2010.R. Baetens, B. P. Jelle and A. Gustavsen, ”Phase Change Materials for Building Applications: A State of the Art Review”, Energy and Buildings, 42, 1361 1368, 2010.R. Baetens, B. P. Jelle, A. Gustavsen and S. Grynning, ”Gas Filled Panels for Building Applications: A State of the Art Review”, Energy and Buildings, 42, 1969 1975, 2010.R. Baetens, B. P. Jelle and A. Gustavsen, ”Aerogel Insulation for Building Applications: A State of the Art Review”, Energy and Buildings, 43, 761 769, 2011.S. Basu and Z. M. Zhang, ”Maximum Energy Transfer in Near Field Thermal Radiation at Nanometer Distances”, Journal of Applied Physics, 105, 093535 1 093535 6, 2009.S. A. Biehs, E. Rousseau and J. J. Greffet, ”Mesoscopic Description of Radiative Heat Transfer at the Nanoscale”, Physical Review Letters, 105, 234301 1 234301 4, 2010.S. Brunner, Ph. Gasser, H. Simmler, K. Ghazi, ”Investigation of Multilayered Aluminium-coated Polymer Laminates by Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Etching”, Surface & Coatings Technology, 200, 5908–5914, 2006.F. Domínguez Muñoz, B. Anderson, J. M. Cejudo López, A. Carrillo Andrés, ”Uncertainty in the Thermal Conductivity of Insulation Materials”, Energy and Buildings, 42, 2159 2168, 2010.T. Gao, L. I. C. Sandberg, B. P. Jelle and A. Gustavsen,”Nano Insulation Materials for Energy Efficient Buildings: A Case Study on Hollow Silica Nanospheres”, in ”Fuelling the Future: Advances in Science and Technologies for Energy Generation, Transmission and Storage”, A. Mendez-Vilas (Ed.), BrownWalker Press, pp. 535-539, 2012.T. Gao, B. P. Jelle, L. I. C. Sandberg and A. Gustavsen, ”Monodisperse Hollow Silica Nanospheres for Nano Insulation Materials: Synthesis, Characterization, and Life Cycle Assessment”, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 5, 761-767, 2013.T. Gao, B. P. Jelle, A. Gustavsen and S. Jacobsen, ”Aerogel-Incorporated Concrete: An Experimental Study”, Construction and Building Materials, 52, 130-136, 2014.T. Gao, B. P. Jelle, T. Ihara and A. Gustavsen, ”Insulating Glazing Units with Silica Aerogel Granules: The Impact of Particle Size”, Applied Energy, 128, 27-34, 2014.T. Gao, L. I. C. Sandberg and B. P. Jelle, ”Nano Insulation Materials: Synthesis and Life Cycle Assessment”, Procedia CIRP, 15, 490-495, 2014.S. Grynning, B. P. Jelle, S. Uvsløkk, A. Gustavsen, R. Baetens, R. Caps and V. Meløysund, ”Hot Box Investigations and Theoretical Assessments of Miscellaneous Vacuum Insulation Panel Configurations in Building Envelopes”, Journal of Building Physics, 34, 297 324, 2011.T. Haavi, B. P. Jelle and A. Gustavsen, ”Vacuum Insulation Panels in Wood Frame Wall Constructions with Different Stud Profiles”, Journal of Building Physics, 36, 212-226, 2012.X. J. Hu, J. H. Du, S. Y. Lei and B. X. Wang, ”A Model for the Thermal Conductivity of Unconsolidated Porous Media based on Capillary Pressure Saturation Relation”, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 44, 247 251, 2001.B. P. Jelle, A. Gustavsen and R. Baetens, ”The Path to the High Performance Thermal Building Insulation Materials and Solutions of Tomorrow”, Journal of Building Physics, 34, 99 123, 2010.B. P. Jelle, ”Traditional, State-of-the-Art and Future Thermal Building Insulation Materials and Solutions - Properties, Requirements and Possibilities”, Energy and Buildings, 43, 2549 2563, 2011.B. P. Jelle, B. G. Tilset, S. Jahren, T. Gao and A. Gustavsen, ”Vacuum and Nanotechnologies for the Thermal Insulation Materials of Beyond Tomorrow - From Concept to Experimental Investigations”, Proceedings of the 10th International Vacuum Insulation Symposium (IVIS-X), pp. 171-178, Ottawa, Canada, 15-16 September, 2011.B. P. Jelle, T. Gao, L. I. C. Sandberg, B. G. Tilset, M. Grandcolas and A. Gustavsen, ”Thermal Superinsulation for Building Applications - From Concepts to Experimental Investigations”, International Journal of Structural Analysis and Design, 1, 43-50, 2014.P. Johansson, S. Geving, C.-E. Hagentoft, B. P. Jelle, E. Rognvik, A. S. Kalagasidis and B. Time, ”Interior Insulation Retrofit of a Historical Brick Wall Using Vacuum Insulation Panels: Hygrothermal Numerical Simulations and Laboratory Investigations”, Building and Environment, 79, 31-45, 2014.K. Joulain, J. P. Mulet, F. Marquier, R. Carminati and J. J. Greffet, ”Surface Electromagnetic Waves Thermally Excited: Radiative Heat Transfer, Coherence Properties and Casimir Forces Revisited in the Near Field”, Surface Science Reports, 57, 59 112, 2005.S. E. Kalnæs and B. P. Jelle, ”Phase Change Materials for Building Applications: A State-of-the-Art Review and Future Research Opportunities”, Submitted for publication in Energy and Buildings, 2014.J. J. Loomis and H. J. Maris, ”Theory of Heat Transfer by Evanescent Electromagnetic Waves”, Physical Review B, 50, 18517 18524, 1994.J. P. Mulet, K. Joulain, R. Carminati and J. J. Greffet, ”Enhanced Radiative Heat Transfer at Nanometric Distances”, Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, 6, 209 222, 2002.A. M. Papadopoulos, ”State of the Art in Thermal Insulation Materials and Aims for Future Developments”, Energy and Buildings, 37, 77 86, 2005.K. Raed and U. Gross, ”Modeling of Influence of Gas Atmosphere and Pore-Size Distribution on the Effective Thermal Conductivity of Knudsen and Non-Knudsen Porous Materials”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 30, 1343 1356, 2009.E. Rousseau, A. Siria, G. Jourdan, S. Volz, F. Comin, J. Chevrier and J. J. Greffet, ”Radiative Heat Transfer at the Nanoscale”, Nature Photonics, 3, 514 517, 2009.L. I. C. Sandberg, T. Gao, B. P. Jelle and A. Gustavsen, ”Synthesis of Hollow Silica Nanospheres by Sacrificial Polystyrene Templates for Thermal Insulation Applications”, Advances in Materials Science and Engineering, 2013, 6 pages, Article ID 483651, 2013.R. D. Schlanbusch, B. P. Jelle, L. I. C. Sandberg, S. M. Fufa and T. Gao, ”Integration of Life Cycle Assessment in the Design of Hollow Silica Nanospheres for Thermal Insulation Applications”, Building and Environment, 80, 115-124, 2014.H. Simmler and S. Brunner, ”Vacuum Insulation Panels for Building Application - Basic Properties, Ageing Mechanisms and Service Life”, Energy and Buildings, 37, 1122 1131, 2005.E. Sveipe, B. P. Jelle, E. Wegger, S. Uvsløkk, S. Grynning, J. V. Thue, B. Time and A. Gustavsen, ”Improving Thermal Insulation of Timber Frame Walls by Retrofitting with Vacuum Insulation Panels – Experimental and Theoretical Investigations”, Journal of Building Physics, 35, 168-188, 2011.A. I. Volokitin and B. N. J. Persson, ”Near Field Radiative Heat Transfer and Noncontact Friction”, Reviews of Modern Physics, 79, 1291 1329, 2007.K. Ghazi Wakili, T. Stahl and S. Brunner, ”Effective Thermal Conductivity of a Staggered Double Layer of Vacuum Insulation Panels”, Energy and Buildings, 43, 1241 1246, 2011.E. Wegger, B. P. Jelle, E. Sveipe, S. Grynning, A. Gustavsen, R. Baetens and J. V. Thue, ”Aging Effects on Thermal Properties and Service Life of Vacuum Insulation Panels”, Journal of Building Physics, 35, 128-167, 2011.G. Wei, Y. Liu, X. Zhang, F. Yu and X. Du, ”Thermal Conductivities Study on Silica Aerogel and its Composite Insulation Materials”, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 54, 2355 2366, 2011.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  10.0 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2022

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Building Technology
  • Thermal Energy
  • Radiation Physics
  • Solid State Theory
  • Building Materials
  • Building Materials
  • Solid State Physics
  • Theoretical Physics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Examination arrangement: Oral examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Oral examination 100/100 E
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Oral examination 100/100 E
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

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