The main purpose of this book, Hygrothermal, Building Pathology and Durability, is to provide a collection of recent research works to contribute to the systematization and dissemination of knowledge related to construction pathology, hygrothermal behaviour of buildings, durability and diagnostic techniques and, simultaneously, to show the most recent advances in this domain. It includes a set of new developments in the field of building physics and hygrothermal behaviour, durability approach for historical and old buildings and building pathology vs. durability. The book is divided in several chapters that are a resume of the current state of knowledge for benefit of professional colleagues, scientists, students, practitioners, lecturers and other interested parties to network.

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Thermal conductivity of TiO2 nanotubes prepared from a NaOH treatment of TiO2 particles with subsequent acid washing and annealing has been investigated. The obtained TiO2 nanotubes have a tetragonal anatase structure, and have a typical inner diameter of about 4-5 nm, wall thickness of about 2-3 nm, and length up to several hundred nanometers. TiO2 nanotubes show a significantly reduced thermal conductivity of about 0.40-0.84 W/(m·K) (average 0.62 W/(m.K)) at room temperature, as compared to about 8.5 W/(m·K) for the bulk TiO2 materials. The great suppression in thermal conductivity can be understood by means of increased phonon-boundary scattering and enhanced phonon confinement in TiO2 nanotubes with unique nanotubular morphology, small featured sizes, and large surface area (~258 m2/g). A theoretical analysis including the surface scattering and size confinement effects of phonon transport in TiO2 nanotubes is also reported, which results in an intrinsic thermal conductivity of 0.30-0.77 W/(m·K) (average 0.54 W/(m.K)) for individual TiO2 nanotubes with wall thickness of 2-3 nm, in harmony with the experimental values.

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The application of manufactured nanomaterials provides not only advantages resulting from their unique properties but also disadvantages derived from the high energy use and CO2 burden related to their manufacture, operation, and disposal. It is therefore important to understand the trade-offs of process economics of nanomaterial production and their associated environmental footprints in order to strengthen the existing advantages while counteracting disadvantages. This work reports the synthesis, characterization, and life cycle assessment (LCA) of a new type of superinsulating materials, nano insulation materials (NIMs), which are made of hollow silica nanospheres (HSNSs) and have great flexibility in modifying their properties by tuning the corresponding structural parameters. The as-prepared HSNSs in this work have a typical inner pore diameter of about 150 nm and a shell thickness of about 10–15 nm and exhibit a reduced thermal conductivity of about 0.02 W/(m K) because of their size-dependent thermal conduction at the nanometer scale. The energy and raw material consumption related to the synthesis of HSNSs have been analyzed by the LCA method. The results indicate that the recycle of chemicals, up-scaling production, and use of environmentally friendly materials can greatly affect the process of environmental footprints. New synthesis routes for NIMs with improved thermal performance and energy and environmental features are also recommended on the basis of the LCA study.

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Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) are photovoltaic materials that replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelopes, such as roofs or facades, i.e. the BIPV system serves dual purposes, as both a building envelope material and a power generator. Hence, it is important to focus on the building envelope properties of a BIPV system in addition to energy generation performance when conducting experimental investigations of BIPVs. The aim of this work was to illustrate challenges linked to the building envelope properties of a BIPV system, and to develop and evaluate relevant methods for testing the building envelope properties of BIPV systems.

A sample roof area with two BIPV modules was built and tested in a turnable box for rain and wind tightness testing of sloping building surfaces with the aim of investigating the rain tightness of the BIPV system, and observing how it withstood wind-driven rain at large-scale conditions. The BIPV sample roof went through testing with run-off water and wind-driven rain with incremental pulsating positive differential pressure over the sample at two different inclinations. The BIPV sample roof was during testing constantly visually monitored, and various leakage points were detected. In order to prevent such water penetration, the steel fittings surrounding the BIPV modules should ideally be better adapted to the BIPV modules and constricted to some extent. It is however important to maintain a sufficient ventilation rate simultaneously.

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Monodisperse hollow silica nanospheres have been prepared by using a polystyrene nanosphere template-assistant approach and their potential as antireflection (AR) coatings for window applications has been discussed. The as-prepared hollow silica nanospheres have a typical inner diameter of 200 nm and a shell thickness of 15–20 nm. The AR effect over the ultraviolet-visible-near infrared spectral region has been observed for the hollow silica nanospheres, with a minimized reflection of about 5.2 % at 500 nm, compared to 8.5 % of a plain float glass substrate. By modifying the structural features of the hollow silica nanospheres, their AR properties can be further enhanced.

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