Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Malta, 16-18 July, 2012.
Gypsum plasterboard is a material used in the building industry for its low weight (porosity 50-65%) and its high resistance to fire due to the endothermic dehydration taking place between 150 and 200°C. Its thermal conductivity which is a decisive thermal property regarding reaction to fire drops by 50% of its initial value after dehydration due to the loss of water (20 mass %) but starts to rise again with rising temperature and reaches its initial value around 750°C. The present study shows that this rise is not due to the increasing radiative or conductive heat transfer but to changes in the bimodal pore structure which leaves the overall structural dimensions nearly unchanged (dilatation of around 2%). Different methods such as mercury intrusion porosimetry, scanning electron microscopy and in-situ X-ray diffraction up to 1000°C were carried out to investigate the correlation between pore structure and thermal conductivity of this material.