Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Comfortable climate indoors with porous glass incorporated into plaster

Date:
July 31, 2014
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Proper humidity and temperature play a key role in indoor climate. In the future, establishing a comfortable indoor environment may rely on porous glass incorporated into plaster, as this regulates moisture particularly well and keeps mold at bay.

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of glass flakes.
Credit: © Fraunhofer ISC

Proper humidity and temperature play a key role in indoor climate. In the future, establishing a comfortable indoor environment may rely on porous glass incorporated into plaster, as this regulates moisture particularly well and keeps mold at bay.

Almost nothing worries tenants and homeowners more than mildewed or moldy walls. The black spots are not just ugly; they also pose a danger to people's health. More than anything else, stringent insulation standards governing living spaces can lead to more moisture, which is the main cause of mildew or mold. In 2002, the German federal government brought in energy saving regulations stating that the external components of new and renovated buildings must be made air-tight to ensure that as little heat as possible escapes. The flip side is that excess moisture becomes trapped inside. "That's why humidity-regulating materials are becoming increasingly important," says Ferdinand Somorowksy, researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg.

Particularly fast water absorption

In collaboration with Bayreuth University and the company Keimfarben GmbH, the researcher and his team are developing supplements for paint and plaster that have a compensating effect on indoor climate and humidity in particular. The project partners have selected artificially manufactured porous glass for the additive because the inorganic material's pore size, volume and particle form can be selectively controlled -- an advantage the naturally occurring alternatives don't offer. Particular attention was paid to glass particles in their flake form, since they have the ability to very quickly absorb, store, and then slowly release moisture. "As invisible vapor, there is always water in the air. A pleasant indoor climate only remains pleasant when excess moisture released into the room's air by showering, cooking and sweating can also dissipate again somehow. Walls and ceilings offer large surfaces that could be used for moisture management -- and by adding glass particles to plaster, stucco and paint, we can even out daily and seasonal humidity differences. The result is a simply more comfortable living space. Up to now, between 95 and 98 percent of all plasters available have been without additives," explains Somorowsky.

The glass particles are based on Vycor® glass. With this glass type, pores form when manufactured in a certain way; adjusting the process parameters allows for selective modification of the pores. In addition to round shapes, these glass particles can be manufactured in fiber or flake form, while other materials with absorption properties, such as zeolite or ceramic, can't be. Filler material can be produced with a pore size ranging from between just a few nanometers to several micrometers. "Since porosity and pore size can be exactly specified, we can also regulate humidity effectively. A minimal change in pore size adapts the material for different temperatures and various applications, such as living areas, rooms with consistently higher humidity or basement rooms," says the researcher.

Porous glass is inexpensive, non-toxic and non-combustible; for the preliminary tests, it was successfully manufactured in large quantities of several hundred kilograms.

In practical testing, researchers demonstrated that, in comparison to other materials used for regulating humidity, such as zeolite or fiberboard, the glass flake and plaster mixture can absorb considerably more moisture and then release it all again. Tests were conducted at a constant temperature and humidity based on a typical indoor climate. In follow-up tests using benchmark plasters, the inorganic material proved itself superior. As humidity increased, the mass of the glass-flake infused plaster increased more and consequently absorbed more water compared to the reference materials. "In a room with a volume of 30 cubic meters, the walls and ceiling offer approximately 4o square meters of surface area that could be used for a moisture regulating plaster. In order to reduce the humidity from 72 % to 47%, some 180 ml of water needs to be absorbed. And our glass flake plaster can actually adsorb more than a half liter of water," says Somorowsky. Mold spore inhibitive substances can be added to the plaster as well.

Another positive effect of the porous glass flakes is their influence on the building's energy balance. In cases of high humidity, water is adsorbed on the glass surface. The energy released makes the room drier and warmer. The opposite occurs with low humidity, when desorption cools and humidifies the room. These processes take place in both winter and summer, which saves primary energy for heating or cooling. The evenly dispersed glass flakes in the plaster layer particularly benefit the indoor environment during heating.

Currently, the project partners are examining how the glass-based material functions under additional paint layers and wallpaper. They estimate that it will take another two years before the environmentally friendly, moisture regulating plaster reaches the market.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Comfortable climate indoors with porous glass incorporated into plaster." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140731094759.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2014, July 31). Comfortable climate indoors with porous glass incorporated into plaster. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140731094759.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Comfortable climate indoors with porous glass incorporated into plaster." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140731094759.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) — CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) — Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

New Corvette Can Secretly Record Convos And Get You Arrested

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) — The 2015 Corvette features valet mode – which allows the owner to secretly record audio and video – but in many states that practice is illegal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins