Green bricks – building a better way

Program Code: 

Dr Obaday Kaylai (; Dr Andrew Neely (

Description of Work: 


A novel building material which uses the waste fly-ash from coal-fired power stations to make bricks has been developed and is currently undergoing production start-up in a dedicated factory in China. This project will firstly establish the cradle to grave energy requirements for the manufacture of these bricks using established analytical techniques. This work is required to help establish the “green” credentials of these novel building products. This project will also establish an experimental method to measure the thermal properties of the range of bricks produced using fly-ash. It is anticipated that numerical modelling of the thermal behaviour of the bricks could also be performed using FEM. This work will lead to recommended recipes to optimise the thermal properties of the bricks both via composition and via geometry.

Description of Work:

Identify the main components of the manufacturing process and use the literature to establish approximate energy budgets for each process.

  • Set up a computational model to calculate the overall energy budget for a range of parameters.
  • Design and perform experiments to measure the thermal conductivity and heat capacitance of the bricks at a range of humidity levels.
  • Determine the dependence of these thermal properties on the brick constituents.
  • Vary the geometry of the bricks to optimise the thermal performance.