An Experimental Investigation on Thermal Conductivity of Lightweight Foamcrete for Thermal Insulation


  • Md Azree Othuman Mydin School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800, Penang, Malaysia



Foamed concrete, thermal conductivity, lightweight concrete, porosity, void size


Presently, the construction industry has shown considerable consciousness in utilizing lightweight foamcrete as a building material. The demand of lightweight foamcrete is becoming higher now where this material has increased many folds in recent years due to its intrinsic economies and advantages over conventional concrete in a range of structural and semi-structural applications. The major specialties of lightweight foamcrete are its excellent thermal conductivity, low self-weight, high impact resistance and good freeze thaw resistance. The aim of this experimental study is to investigate the thermal conductivity property of lightweight foamcrete with various densities. The main parameters that will be considered are density of lightweight foamcrete, the void size and porosity. The lightweight foamcrete samples are made with constant water-cement ratio of 0.5 and cement-sand ratio of 2:1. According to experimental results, lower densities lightweight foamcrete transforms to lower thermal conductivity values. Meanwhile, the density of lightweight foamcrete is controlled by the porosity where lower densities indicate larger porosity values. For this reason, thermal conductivity of lightweight foamcrete changes significantly with the porosity because air is the poorest conductor in comparison to solid and liquid owing its molecular constitution. The measured values of thermal conductivity should provide a useful database for evaluating the thermal performance of lightweight foamcrete structures.

Author Biography

Md Azree Othuman Mydin, School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800, Penang, Malaysia

Sr Dr. Md Azree obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom in 2010. This followed both a Bachelor of Science (Building Technology) and a Master of Science (Building Technology) that were earned in 2004 and 2005 respectively from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. Before joining Universiti Sains Malaysia as a lecturer, he has worked with Penang Development Corporation Consultancy (PDCC) as a civil and structural engineer; completing numerous successful projects with PDC, PDC Properties, Techware and a few more civil engineering companies from 2005 until 2007.  His specialisation lies in the area of fire engineering, material properties, heat and mass transfer, sandwich construction, thin-walled structures and building surveying (condition survey, dilapidation survey, structural survey, dimensional survey, defect analysis on building and building maintenance). He has published his work in more than 30 indexed journals, and 15 conference proceedings in the field of engineering, building material and building surveying


Jones, M.R., McCarthy, A. 2005. Preliminary Views on the Potential of Foamed Concrete as a Structural Material. Magazine of Concrete Research. 57(1): 21–31.

Jones, M. R., McCarthy, A. 2006. Heat of Hydration in Foamed Concrete: Effect of Mix Constituents and Plastic Density. Cement and Concrete Research. 36(6): 1032–1041.

BCA. 1994. Foamed Concrete: Composition and Properties. Report Ref. 46.042, Slough: BCA.

Aldridge, D., Ansell, T. 2001. Foamed Concrete: Production and Equipment Design, Properties, Applications and Potential. In: Proceedings of one day seminar on foamed concrete: Properties, applications and latest technological developments, Loughborough University.

Yunsheng, X., Chung, D. D. L. 2000. Effect of Sand Addition on the Specific Heat and Thermal Conductivity of Cement. Cement and. Concrete Research. 30(1): 59–61.

Budaiwi, I., Abdou, A., Al-Homoud, M. 2004. Variations of Thermal Conductivity of Insulation Materials Under Different Operating Temperatures: Impact on Envelope-induced Cooling Load. Archaeological Engineering. 8(4): 125–132.

Huang, C. L. 1980. Pore Structure Properties of Materials. Fu-Han, Tainan, Taiwan.

Kessler, H. G. 1998. Cellular Lightweight Concrete. Concrete Engineering International.

Weigler, H., Karl, S. 1980. Structural Lightweight Aggregate Concrete With Reduced Density-lightweight Aggregate Foamed Concrete. Int. J. Lightweight Concrete. 2: 101–104.

BS EN 197-1. 2000. Cement: Composition, Specifications and Conformity Criteria for Low Heat Common Cements, British Standards Institution, London.

BS EN 12620. 2002. Aggregates for Concrete. British Standards Institution, London.

ASTM C177-97. 1997. Standard Test Method for Steady-state Heat Flux Measurements and Thermal Transmission Properties by Means of the Guarded-hot-plate Apparatus. American Society for Testing.

Gustavsson, M., Karawacki, E., Gustafsson, S. E. 1994. Thermal Conductivity, Thermal Diffusitvity and Specific Heat of Thin Samples From Transient Measurement with Hot Disk Sensors. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 65(12): 3856–3858.

He, Y. 2005. Rapid Thermal Conductivity Measurement with a Hot Disk Sensor: Part 1. Theoretical Considerations. Thermochimica Acta. 436(1-2): 122–124.

Cabrera, J. G., Lynsdale, C. J. 1998. A New Gas Permeameter for Measuring the Permeability of Mortar and Concrete. Magazine of Concrete Research. 40(144): 177–182.

ASTM C457. 2012. Standard Test Method for Microscopical Determination of Parameters of the Air-Void System in Hardened Concrete. American Society for Testing.

Demirboga, R., Gul, R., 2003. The Effects of Expanded Perlite Aggregate, Silica Fume and Fly Ash on the Thermal Conductivity of Lightweight Concrete. Cement and Concrete Research. 33(5): 723–727.




How to Cite

Othuman Mydin, M. A. (2013). An Experimental Investigation on Thermal Conductivity of Lightweight Foamcrete for Thermal Insulation. Jurnal Teknologi, 63(1).



Science and Engineering