External walls made with hollow clay brick or block are widely used for their thermal, acoustic and structural properties. However, the performance of the bricks frequently does not conform with the minimum legal requirements or the values required for high efficiency buildings, and for this reason, they need to be integrated with layers of thermal insulation. In this paper, the thermal behavior of hollow clay block with low emissivity treatment on the internal cavity surfaces has been investigated. The purpose of this application is to obtain a reduction in the thermal conductivity of the block by lowering the radiative heat exchange in the enclosures. The aims of this paper are to indicate a methodology for evaluating the thermal performance of the brick and to provide information about the benefits that should be obtained. Theoretical evaluations are carried out on several bricks (12 geometries simulated with two different thermal conductivities of the clay), using a finite elements model. The heat exchange procedure is implemented in accordance with the standard, so as to obtain standardized values of the thermal characteristics of the block. Several values of emissivity are hypothesized, related to different kinds of coating. Finally, the values of the thermal transmittance of walls built with the evaluated blocks have been calculated and compared. The results show how coating the internal surface of the cavity provides a reduction in the thermal conductivity of the block, of between 26% and 45%, for a surface emissivity of 0.1.
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