Hygrothermal simulation of building performance: data for Scottish masonry materials

P. F. G. Banfill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Retrofitting thermal insulation to solid masonry walls alters their hygrothermal behaviour, which can be modelled by hygrothermal simulation software. However, such software needs values of key material properties to ensure satisfactory results and until now data has not been available for Scottish masonry buildings. This work aims to contribute to a Scotland-specific dataset of material properties for use by designers working on such buildings. Thermal conductivity, water vapour permeability, sorptivity, water absorption coefficient, hygroscopic sorption, density and porosity were all determined experimentally for selected historic and contemporary masonry materials. Within the range of materials tested three groups of materials properties emerge. Natural hydraulic lime mortars, hot-mixed quicklime mortar and earth mortar all show comparatively low density, high porosity, low thermal conductivity, high water vapour permeability and variable but generally high hygroscopic sorption. Craigleith, Hailes and Giffnock sandstones, no longer available but obtained from conservation works on historic buildings, and Locharbriggs and Hazeldean sandstones, obtained from current production, all show intermediate values of these properties. Crathes granodiorite and Scottish whinstone (from current production) show high density, low porosity, high thermal conductivity, low water vapour permeability and low hygroscopic sorption. It is shown that these materials are all relevant to Scottish buildings constructed in traditional masonry and this paper presents the first comprehensive set of hygrothermal property data for them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
JournalMaterials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions
Issue number4
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Granite
  • Hygrothermal properties
  • Lime mortar
  • Sandstone
  • Whinstone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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