Volume 39, Issue 2 (March 2011)
Sorption and Thermal Properties of Insulating Mortars with Expanded and Vitrified Small Ball
Expanded vitrified small hollow ball (EVSB), made from a special type of perlite mineral is one of the recently developed materials in China. It is widely used as a cementitious thermal insulating mortar for building envelope construction in hot-humid areas of southern China. However, EVSB is a porous material sensitive to environmental moisture. The thermal insulating property of the EVSB mortar is dependent on its moisture transport and storage characteristics. In this study, hygroscopic sorption properties of EVSB mortars have been investigated in comparison with those of normal expanded perlite particle (NEPP) mortars. The Brunauer, Emmett and Teller specific surface area and the Barrett, Joyner and Halenda pore size distribution, as well as the scanning electron microscope micromorphologies of the mortars were assessed. It was observed that EVSB mortars had lower moisture sorption capacity than NEPP mortars when the relative humidity (RH) was higher than 70 % because of its lower total pore volume. The addition of water-repellent admixtures in the mortar decreased the moisture sorption capacity of EVSB mortars but still maintains the same physisorption isothermal characteristics. It is also evident that the thermal conductivity values of both NEPP and EVSB mortars increased rapidly when RH is above 90 %. However, the increased rate of thermal conductivity of NEPP mortars was apparently higher than that of EVSB mortars. It is hoped that finding from this study will help to develop a better understanding of the in situ thermal performance of the EVSB mortar used for the building envelope construction in hot and humid areas of southern China.