Project Overview

Modeling heat transport in insulation measurements

Faculty Sponsor

Beth Parks (


Physics and Astronomy


Heating and cooling are responsible for more than half the energy used in U.S. homes.  One reason for this high use is that most homeowners do not know whether their houses are sufficiently insulated, since there is no commercially available tool that will allow them to measure their insulation.  My lab has been working to develop a tool that could be affordable and easy to use.  Some challenges are that walls are not uniform – they usually contain studs interspersed with insulation—and also that the heat conduction through a wall never reaches steady state because outdoor temperature change over the course of a day.  For that reason, it's important both to test the tool experimentally and also to model its use compuationally.
Students will gather data in the lab on heat flow through walls in a test structure that allows reconfiguration of insulation and studs.  They will also simulate heat flow computationally in order to test how well the tool can measure insulation levels.

Student Qualifications

General physics lab skills are needed.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 10/03/2023 and close on 02/28/2024

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (