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The effect of the airflow pattern inside air gaps on the assessment of interstitial mould: A theoretical approach

Efthymiopoulos, S; Altamirano, H; Aktas, YD; (2021) The effect of the airflow pattern inside air gaps on the assessment of interstitial mould: A theoretical approach. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology 10.1177/01436244211020470. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Internal wall insulation is one of the few, possibly, the only feasible solution to efficiently reduce heat losses through the external walls of buildings where the application of external insulation is not an option, for example, in conservation areas. However, the application of this intervention may lead to unintended consequences, such as moisture accumulation and mould growth. Currently, no international standards and regulations exist to evaluate these hazards via non-destructive inspections. Air sampling through impaction and culture-based analysis was suggested in previous research as a potential non-disruptive methodology for interstitial mould testing. The method requires the perforation of the inner side of a wall and the creation of airflow through the operation of a pump, to allow the collection of particles from the confined space of interest. The present study aimed to assess the location of perforations and their effect on the airflow created and the airflow pattern variations due to changes in the airflow velocity at the outlet. Results regarding airflow features such as the turbulence intensity, dynamic pressure and volume-averaged velocity were also extracted and discussed. Practical application : The rapid changes in climate and net-zero emissions targets call for major improvements of the existing building stock towards a more sustainable future. The installation of internal wall insulation is one of the few and might be the only feasible solution for the efficient reduction of heat losses through uninsulated walls. However, this intervention might lead to moisture accumulation and thus moisture-related problems such as mould growth. This study aims to build upon previous work on interstitial mould growth assessment and contribute to the development of a well-defined testing protocol for building professionals.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of the airflow pattern inside air gaps on the assessment of interstitial mould: A theoretical approach
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/01436244211020470
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F01436244211020470
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 by SAGE Publications. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Air gaps, airflow pattern, air sampling, internal wall insulation (IWI), interstitial mould, mould growth assessment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128607
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