Renovation of historical facades : the rescue or the kiss of death?

Renovatie van historische gevels: redding of doodsteek?

Research into a hygrothermal reliable risk analysis

A lot of historic buildings suffer from water infiltrations and/or hygrothermal problems. This leads to a decrease in sustainability, interior climate quality and thermal/mechanical performance of the constructions.

It stands to reason that historical heritage is priceless, and that a solution to this problem is urgent. However, due to a lack of knowledge, correct simulations are not achievable. As a result, current renovation strategies are often based on outdated recipes or trial and error.

The application of HAM modeling has great potential here, if the boundary conditions are known. But for historic facades these input parameters (the buildup, the material properties, the interior-/ exterior climate, imperfections, …) are unsure. Monte Carlo Simulations may solve this incertitude and enable us to create a reliable damage model. This model together with a calculation of the financial consequential damages will lead to a reliable risk model.

Capillary absorption visualized with X-ray radiography

Two pieces of brickwork with a piece of lime mortar in between are submitted to a high energy (140 kEV) radiography every two seconds. Afterwards the dry image, before absorption, is subtracted from the wet images, which clearly reveals the moisture front because the intensity of the X-rays that penetrate the sample depends on the moisture content of the sample. This 2D representation of the moisture content will provide insight into the impact of heterogeneities on a construction and will help to validate liquid moisture transport in HAM (Heat, Air and Moisture) models.

In collaboration with UGCT