Date of Award

December 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Member

John P Sanders

Committee Member

Kyle Brinkman

Committee Member

Vincent Blouin


There has been an effort over the last 30 years to reduce energy consumption and increase the efficiency of nearly everything that uses power. As the building sector utilizes a sizeable portion of the overall energy usage, increasing the efficiency of homes and office buildings is key to reduce energy consumption. One aspect of increasing energy efficiency in buildings is to reduce the heat loss through the building envelope. The thermal performance of wall systems requires testing in a hot-box apparatus. This thermal performance is usually denoted by the thermal resistance, or R-value of the system. This measurement, however, does not account for the dynamic nature of real-world conditions. Wall systems that are constructed with fired clay brick show significant improvements over lightweight wall systems with similar R-values under dynamic thermal loading. The thermal performance of the system can be enhanced further by optimizing the thermal properties of the fired clay brick layer. The thermal properties of fired clay brick were found to have a significantly wider range than previously reported. The thermal properties of this layer were found to depend on the porosity, mineralogy, and grain size. The model developed would allow for further optimization of fired clay brick performance. Utilizing a custom finite-element tool, the yearly thermal performance was simulated utilizing measured climate data to investigate how both the thermal mass and thermal insulation impacted the overall thermal performance of the system.



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