Postdoc or Research Assistant: Hygrothermal Performance of Internal Insulation in Historic Buildings

DTU Civil Eng
Thursday 14 Dec 17

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The Department of Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is looking to hire a postdoc or research assistant within the section for building design. The chosen applicant will be working with the Horizon 2020 EU research project “RIBuild” that runs to the end of 2019. RIBuild aims to strengthen the knowledge on how and under what conditions internal thermal insulation can be implemented in historic buildings, without compromising their architectural and cultural values, and with an acceptable safety level against deterioration of wood-based stuctural members, mould growth and collapse of heavy external wall structures. The general objective of RIBuild is to develop effective, comprehensive decision guidelines to optimize the design and implementation of internal thermal insulation in historic buildings across the EU. RIBuild focuses on heavy external walls made of stone, brick and timber framing, as most historic buildings are made of these materials. The general objective is achieved through three main activities; 

  1. To obtain a thorough level of knowledge to characterize the eligibility of a building for deep renovation with internal thermal insulation. This knowledge is obtained through screening of historic buildings, investigation of material properties and threshold values for failure
  2. To determine the conditions under which different internal insulation measures are reliable and affordable based on probabilistic modelling of hygrothermal performance, environmental impact and cost/benefit
  3. To develop a set of comprehensive decision guidelines, which shall be demonstrated in a number of buildings. RIBuild addresses the most difficult retrofitting measure of historic buildings: internal thermal insulation. The adaption of knowledge developed by RIBuild contributes to sustainable historic buildings with improved energy efficiency implying an easier conversion of energy supply from inefficient fossil fuels to efficient renewable energy sources. RIBuild also assesses the hygrothermal performance of the building structure, so no collateral damage occurs; and in case of failure, an easy roll back of the measures shall be possible. The guidelines developed in RIBuild shall strongly support the deep and holistic retrofitting approach, which historic buildings face in the coming years.

The RIBuild project shall develop a methodology to secure the robustness of internal thermal insulation of historic buildings through a pre-renovation assessment of the existing structures. The assessment forms basis for the outcome of RIBuild – decision guidelines of robust energy saving measures indicating the critical points of construction work. Significant energy savings are expected depending on selected building practice.

It is the aim of RIBuild to develop a Database/Simulation System targeted towards professionals in Europe. The Database/Simulation System will be able to answer how much of a certain type of interior insulation can be added to a certain wall, without compromising the walls service life.

Responsibilities and tasks
The Post Doc or Research Assistant will work with the development of the Database/Simulation System. The focus shall be on combined heat and moisture transfer processes and related material characterization in historic building materials when they are combined with new materials in a refurbished construction. Specific focus shall be given to materials and cases eligible for deep renovation of historic buildings with internal thermal insulation of their solid external masonry walls, and for determination of critical thresholds for failure.

The research will encompass deep understanding of moisture transfer processes and related material characteristics of porous building materials. Special focus shall be given to the dimension of historic building materials and their characterization for modelling and design purposes, including determination of threshold values for failure, models for material characterization, and testing methodology. Some laboratory and fieldwork is expected, including measurements of hygrothermal material parameters of both old building materials and materials suitable for internal insulation. Correlation of determined material parameters and material characterization models and the monitored performance of different internal insulation measures (laboratory and real buildings) shall be tested by use of numerical simulation.

The main task for the applicant is to fill in reliable data in the Database/Simulation System in order to provide an answer to the question: How much insulation can one apply to a certain wall without compromising the service life of the wall, and without risk of mould growth in the structure? The assessment system is planned to cover countries from Italy in south to Sweden in north.

The Post Doc or Research Assistant will work together with a team of PhD students and researchers at DTU and at the member institutions in the RIBuild project.

He/she will take part in the semi-annual meetings with the member institutions.

Qualifications
A Research Assistant must have a master’s degree in engineering or equivalent, and a PostDoc candidate must have a PhD degree in a relevant subject.

The chosen applicant must document advanced knowledge in heat and mass transfer theory and experience with experimental methods for hygrothermal material characterization and/or in-situ monitoring. Experience with hygrothermal modelling in programmes like Delphin will be an advantage. The candidates shall be proficient in English.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and terms of employment
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union. The workplace is DTU Lyngby Campus and the position is temporary and terminate 31 December 2019.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Søren Peter Bjarløv tel.: +45 4525 1944.

You can read more about DTU Civil Engineering on www.byg.dtu.dk.

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 31 January 2018. Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Diploma (MSc)
  • PhD documents for the Post Doc position
  • List of publications the Post Doc position

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Civil Engineering is a department with the overall mission of contributing to education, innovation and research based consulting within the following scientific areas: building design, structural engineering, construction materials, geotechnical engineering and geology, building energy, indoor climate energy and building physics and arctic technology.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.