Hengrui Zhu

Hengrui Zhu

Before starting as a PhD student in UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE), Henry worked as a research assistant in CEGE on the Waterproofing Insulated Cavity Wall (WIC) project, funded by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in collaboration with the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB), UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE) and Building Research Establishment (BRE).
Previously graduated from MSc in Modern Building Design at University of Bath, Henry developed skills in sustainable design applying to different standards including BREEAM, LEED and Passivehaus. With his background in both civil engineering and architecture, his overall research interests are the identification of the most efficient, economic and elegant solutions in building design and construction, wind-driven rain and flooding impact on built environment and the moisture induced decay in building materials.

His PhD title is:

Performance and durability of masonry walls treated with surface waterproofing products

Brief description of project:

Moisture is one of the major causes of damage on building systems in UK. Water penetration can lead to defects such as ineffective insulation, damp inner walls and freeze-thaw damage, causing issues in both energy efficiency and wall integrity. Among the most common solutions available in the market to enhance the hygric performance of masonry facades is the surface treatment products. The development of these products has shown great potential as a new method of improving the moisture condition in these existing buildings. This research aims at investigating performance and durability of surface waterproofed building elements through a range of materials and wall tests. To this end, the CEGE environmental chambers in Here East will be used to test masonry cavity walls under extreme environmental impact, by simulating indoor and outdoor environmental conditions simultaneously, to observe moisture induced damage and durability features. To date we do not have a well-established understanding of the performance and durability of these products on the masonry walls and impact on the condition of the walls. As products with high potential for the maintenance of masonry buildings, their performance has not been studied and tested systematically. The research outcomes reveal the improvements these products could bring to the masonry buildings in moisture vulnerability and their reliability in long-term application, as well as fill the gap in our knowledge on monitoring and assessment of moisture in various building materials and components.

Supervisors: Dr. Yasemin Didem Aktas, Prof. Dina D’Ayala