UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Fully funded PhD studentship on understanding impacts of moisture excess on internal wall insulation

20 December 2022

Applications are now open for a proposed studentship in 'Understanding the true impact of moisture excess on internal wall insulation: new moisture criteria', as part of 60 studentships to be awarded by the UCL EPSRC DTP.

UKCMB Moisture

About the project

Project title: Understanding the true impact of moisture excess on internal wall insulation: new moisture criteria
Project supervisors: Dr Hector AltamiranoDr Valentina Marincioni
Project ID: 2228bd1129 (You will need this ID for your application)

Internal wall insulation (IWI) is one of the most promising methods of improving the energy efficiency of buildings while maintaining their original facades and construction. However, if wrongly specified and installed, it can lead to moisture accumulation, which could be detrimental to the building fabric and its occupants' health. IWI systems are currently assessed using criteria that are only appropriate for internal surfaces (ADF 2020 and BS5250) and not for interstitial conditions. The latest research suggests that IWI undergoes failure in varying degrees of severity, which has had a detrimental impact on the provision of warranties for IWI. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate insulation systems based on their performance after or during sustained high levels of moisture instead of evaluating them using the current common conceptions of moisture-related failure. The project aims to establish new moisture criteria based on how resilient an IWI system is, hence, its ability to return from adverse conditions to maintain its primary function. 

At the UCL Here East environmental lab, experimental work will be carried out to evaluate moisture-related failures and their short & long-term impact on insulations properties. In addition, a methodology to assess resilience in-situ will be developed; case studies provided by UK Centre for  Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB) industry members will be selected, inspected, and evaluated.

About the Supervisory Team

Primary supervisor: Dr Hector Altamirano
Subsidiary supervisor: Dr Valentina Marincioni

The proposed supervisory team has been working together for over eight years in moisture-related research and consultancy projects. They bring expertise in building physics, thermo-mechanical engineering, moisture transfer within internally insulated solid walls, development of mould and humidity conditions, in-situ monitoring, field surveys and experimental setup of buildings.

Key information

Funder: UCL ESPRC DTP studentship
Value: Fees, Stipend (at least £20,668 per year), Research Training Support Grant
Duration: Up to 4 years (thesis to be submitted within funded period)
Eligible Fee Status: Home, International (EPSRC caps the total number of funded International fee status students across UCL for this award at 30%)
Study Mode: Full or Part time (at least 50% FTE) [Note: Part time is not available to International students]
Primary Selection Criteria: Academic merit
Project ID: 2228bd1129 (You will need this ID for your application)
Application Deadline: 12:00 on 26 January 2023

How to apply

This PhD Studentship topic is one of 19 proposed by The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources to a competition for approximately 60 studentships that will be awarded across UCL as part of the UCL EPSRC DTP. Prospective students are welcome to apply for up to 5 potential studentships - see the full list of projects from our department and the UCL project database for a comprehensive list across the university. The 60 successful proposals will be chosen following applicant interviews.

Before applying, all applicants must read the full eligibility criteria and application guidance on the UCL EPSRC DTP website. There is a 3-part application process, with a deadline of the 26 January 2023 to complete the third part of the application.