High-Performance Brick Mortar Mix to Optimize Moisture Management in Brick Wall





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The durability of exterior building envelopes is significantly impacted by the presence of water, particularly through the capillary rise mechanism that allows liquid water to penetrate building materials. This process affects both the energy efficiency and durability of buildings. To assess the capillary water intake into porous building materials, the water absorption coefficient is used as a characterization parameter. Additionally, the water vapor permeability of a material indicates its ability to allow moisture to diffuse and escape. In this project, two concentrations of zinc stearate (0.5% w/w and 1% w/w) were added to commonly used mortar. Following the ASTM standard test procedure, the liquid water absorption coefficients and water vapor permeability of brick, mortars, and brick mortar joints were determined. These experimental values were utilized as inputs for the hygrothermal performance analysis (numerical modelling) of the brick wall assembly. The experimental findings suggest that the addition of zinc stearate to the mortar can reduce water absorption capacity while simultaneously enhancing water vapor permeability. Numerical modelling results further demonstrate that the use of high-performance brick mortar materials can significantly improve the moisture management capability for brick walls in the marine-warm and humid climate of Vancouver, BC, Canada.



moisture management, water absorption coefficient, water vapor permeability, mortar, brick, zinc stearate