Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Sanders, John P

Committee Member

Brosnan , Denis A

Committee Member

Skaar , Eric C


Energy efficiency and energy savings are two topics that have continued to gain momentum over the last decade. This topic is extremely important when it comes to the construction of buildings and homes. Efforts have been ongoing to increase the insulation value of brick systems to hinder the conductive heat transfer through the material. The use of pore-forming agents (PFA’s) have been studied to increase the porosity within a ceramic system, through sacrificial burnout or place–holder method, which leave a residual, defined pore size distribution. This increase in porosity leads to better insulating capabilities and inherently lower conductivity values. In this study, varying types and sizes of pore-forming agents were investigated, such as organic fuels/wastes such as peanut hulls, commercially produced ceramic hollow spheres, and aluminum hydroxide. After extrusion and firing, the physical properties (bulk density, cold water absorption, flexural strength, pore size distribution) were investigated to relate to the effect on the thermal conductivity. Both size fractions of peanut hulls (−24/+50 M & −50/+100 M) suggested the lowest recorded thermal conductivity fired to 1100°C at 15% weight addition level at 0.399±0.010 and 0.422±0.011 W/m K, respectively.



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