Developing Cost-Effective and Energy-Efficient Blocks in Field using Indigenous Industrial Waste and By-product Materials

Project: Research

Project Details


With the steady growth of population and increasing demand for energy in Saudi Arabia, the need to conserve energy is becoming more and more pressing to the public and principals. Electricity use, in particular, represents a major concern, and the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center (known in Arabic as KAFAA) has recently been established with the principal and strategic objective of regulating and reducing the consumption of energy. Due to the prevailing very hot and sometimes humid climate, air conditioning accounts for nearly three-quarters of the electricity consumption in residential buildings nationwide, and buildings, in general, consume three-quarters of all the energy generated within the country. In order to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures while reducing the amount of electricity needed for air conditioning, knowledge of the thermal properties and cost-effective building materials are necessary. Most of the thermal load is transferred through building walls that constitute a considerable proportion of the total thermal load. Therefore, the selection of optimal building materials in building walls could considerably reduce this thermal transmission load and make it possible to cool buildings using less energy, by keeping the temperature low indoors despite the intense heat outdoors. Since to the most common building material used in construction in Saudi Arabia is concrete in the form of blocks that are hollow, these blocks could be modified to tune their thermal conductivity, so that they have better thermal insulation properties and transmit less heat. The main goal of this proposed and multi-disciplinary research project is to investigate the use of locally- sourced indigenous industrial waste by-product materials such as perlite, rubber and polyethylene, polyethylene, expanded polystyrene beads, vermiculite and volcanic scoria aggregate and/or cheap chemical admixtures air entraining agent to manufacture in the field new lightweight concrete blocks with low thermal conductivity, and to assess the usefulness of such concrete blocks by comparing their thermal conductivity with those available in the local market. The finite element modeling will be conducted using the commercial software ABAQUS or/and ANSYS to study the heat transfer for various concrete blocks to reach at an optimum design with the ultimate goal of generating a set of guidelines that can be used for producing energy-saving and cost-effective concrete blocks for the construction industry. In order to achieve such a strategic objective of reducing the energy consumption, a multi-disciplinary team has been formulated with their expertise in the field of materials characterization, computational modeling, in addition to assessment of thermal conductivity.
Effective start/end date1/04/201/10/22


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