Lightweight Steel Frames (LSF) in building construction are becoming more popular due to their fast, clean, and flexible constructability. Typical LSF wall panels are made of cold-formed and thin-walled steel lipped channel studs with plasterboard linings. Due to the high thermal conductivity of steel, these LSF components must be well engineered and covered against unintended thermal bridges. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the heat transfer of the LSF wall of different configurations and reduce heat loss through walls by lowering the thermal transmittance, which would ultimately minimise the energy consumption in buildings. The effect of novel thermal insulation material, Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIP), their position on the LSF wall configuration, and Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and plasterboard’s effect on the thermal transmittance of LSF walls were investigated through numerical analysis. A total of 56 wall configurations and 112 finite element models were analysed and compared with the minimum U-value requirements of UK building regulations. Numerical model results exhibited that using plasterboards instead of OSB has no considerable effect on the U-value of the LSF walls. However, 77% (4 times) of U-value reduction was exhibited by introducing the 20 mm VIP. Moreover, the position of the VIP to the U-value of LSF was negligible. Based on the results, optimum LSF wall configurations were proposed by highlighting the construction methods. Additionally, this study, through literature, seeks to identify other areas in which additional research can be conducted to achieve the desired thermal efficiency of buildings using LSF wall systems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by Innovate UK (Partnership number: 12060), ESS Modular Limited and Northumbria University And The APC was funded by Northumbria University.
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