Parracha, J.L., Borsoi, G., Flores-Colen, I., Veiga, R. & Nunes, L. (2022) Impact of natural and artificial ageing on the properties of multilayer external wall thermal insulation systems.Construction and Building Materials, 317, 125834. DOI:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2021.125834 (IF2022 7,4; Q1 Materials Science, Multidisciplinary)
Multilayer external wall thermal insulation systems are widely used in new constructions and for the retrofitting of building façades. Despite the increasing use as constructive solution, significant anomalies have been frequently identified on these systems only few years after their application, raising questions on their long-term durability. This paper focuses on the effects of one-year natural ageing and artificial ageing through hygrothermal cycles (heat/rain and heat/cold) on the water performance (capillary water absorption and drying kinetics), bio-susceptibility (mould development) and surface properties (colour, gloss, and roughness) of four multilayer external wall thermal insulation systems (three ETICS and a thermal rendering system). Results showed a significant loss of surface hydrophobicity after ageing. Considering the 24 h water absorption results, an increase up to 73% and 432% was obtained for the naturally and artificially aged systems, respectively, and when compared to the reference unaged systems. The drying kinetics was affected by ageing, with increases of the drying resistance ranging between 47% and 122% after artificial ageing. Traces of mould growth were observed on the artificially aged systems; however, no growth was detected on either the unaged or the one-year naturally aged systems. Substantial colour change for all systems after ageing was observed, confirming aesthetic alteration. Results contribute towards the development of implemented artificial ageing protocols, as well as for the delivery of multilayer thermal systems with enhanced performance and durability.