Thermal bridge effect of vertical diagonal tie connectors in precast concrete sandwich panels: an experimental and computational study

Our energy transfer sensors are convenient for researchers to measure the thermal properties of building elements. The latest example we would like to share is a paper published by Paul Kloseiko and Reimo Piir (Tallinn University of Technology), Marti Jetlsov (Estflow consulting) and Targo Kalamees (Tallin University of Technology and Smart City Center of Excellence). The paper is open-access published in the E3S Web of Conferences 172.

The purpose of this work was to quantify the thermal bridge effect of vertical diagonal tie connectors in precast concrete sandwich panels (PCSPs). For that purpose, the researchers focused on the cases where the use of rigid insulation (e.g. PIR) would leave air gaps between insulation boards and diagonal ties, thus intensifying the thermal bridge.

For the experimental setup, they used the gSKIN XP sensor, combined with other temperature sensors. The sensor was fastened using thermal paste and tape together with a logger.

Regarding the results, it was found that the joints in the insulation caused by diagonal ties affect the overall thermal performance of the building envelope significantly when efforts are not made to fill the air cavities around the connectors. The thermal transmittance of the building element increases by up to 56% depending on the air cavity adjacent to the diagonal tie. Any kind of additional insulation around diagonal ties reduces the heat loss through the insulation joint by an order of magnitude compared to a non-insulated cavity.

At greenTEG, we appreciate this research as another example of a precise measurement of the thermal performance of building elements. It shows that measuring is of utmost importance to properly assess the insulation of building elements since calculations are not enough to figure out the influence of construction regular practices on the thermal properties of the whole structure. If you want to learn more about how to use our sensors for this purpose, please refer to our website.

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