Project Overview

Modeling heat transport in insulation measurements

Faculty Sponsor

Beth Parks (


Physics and Astronomy


Heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for 40% of US energy use.  One reason for this high use is that most building and home owners do not know whether their buildings are sufficiently insulated, since there is no commercially available tool that will allow them to measure their insulation.  My lab has been working to devleop a tool, and we have tested it in several different buildings of known insulation.  However, testing is a slow process, and it would be very helpful to have a model of heat conduction through buildings that will allow us to understand how the tool works in a variety of situations, especially when the outdoor temperature is not constant (since it never is!).  This simulation is currently in development in Matlab, and has been used to check the conditions required for accurate measurement. You will expand that simulation to answer questions such as the minimum time required to obtain a good experimental result and the effect of non-uniformities, such as support studs, in the wall.

Student Qualifications

Experience with Matlab and familiarity with differential equations is desirable.

Number of Student Researchers

1 student

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2021 and close on 03/22/2021

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (