New generation insulation material for use within the building envelope

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering


TATA steel is Europe's second largest steel producer and under its Building Systems division, has extensive insulating panel manufacturing capabilities throughout Europe. In the UK alone, the steel faced insulated panel market is worth over £200 million pounds per annum. This type of produce is governed by European Standard EN14509.

Since the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017, reviews of building regulations have resulted in all combustible materials being banned for high rise residential building. Further reviews for all building types are ongoing. With building designers not being allowed to use highly efficient thermally insulating product (i.e. PIR foams) in these types of buildings, demand is rising for non-combustible products (stone wool). With weight and thermal performance being approximately half of the combustible alternatives, the result is lower thermal efficiency in new and refurbished buildings and greater structural costs.

In order to meet government targets on CO2 and gain efficiencies within building design, TATA Steel UK wish to investigate novel insulating materials that are non-combustible, <50Kg/m3, below 0.035 W/mK and lend themselves to adhering to steel face skins.

It is anticipated a range of techniques will be required including but not limited to: Simultaneous Thermal Analysis (STA), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) and Fourier-transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), to characterise substrate material and an identified range of potential novel insulating materials capable of delivering high standards of thermal performance.

The Research Engineer will work closely with the insulating panel manufacturing site in North Wales, to understand manufacturing capabilities and the appropriate legislative drivers. It is intended the experimental programme will deliver a product suitable for upscaling, leading to a roll out across manufacturing sites throughout Europe.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S02252X/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2028
2269754 Studentship EP/S02252X/1 30/09/2019 31/12/2023 Emily Frances Thomas