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Palm leaf thatch for sale at a store in Senkang, South Sulawesi, 2011. 

Palm leaf thatch for sale at a store in Senkang, South Sulawesi, 2011. 

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Reed and grass are widely used in many traditional building cultures all over the world. They are easy availability and good material properties have made them a popular component in roof, wall and other constructional parts of houses. In some areas whole buildings are built out of reed, and in other areas again it is used in combination with a var...


... It was used to make baskets, fences, windbreakers, building walls, roofs, floors, shading barriers, and temporary shelters for men and animals; music instruments; paper; and bio-fuel. Its characteristics, such as its high availability, lightweight stem, and fair mechanical strength and high flexibility (due to the tubular shape of the stem), has allowed for different uses of reed and made it a popular component as a construction material [2][3][4][5]. ...
... A dry specimen was placed in an oven at a controlled temperature, and the amount of water absorbed through only one surface of a non-saturated specimen immersed in a water film of 5 ± 1 mm was measured. The absorption of water through capillarity was the difference between wet mass (m i (g)) that had one surface in contact with water during a time (t i ) and the dry mass (m (g)) divided by the superficial area that was in contact with water (a (mm 2 )), according to Equation (4). ...
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Knowing the properties of vernacular materials is crucial to heritage conservation and to develop innovative solutions. Reed, considered to be a carbon-neutral and a carbon dioxide sink material, has been used for centuries for diverse uses. Its high availability and properties made it a popular building material, including in Portuguese vernacular architecture. An experimental investigation was conducted to evaluate the physical performance, thermal performance, and durability of the reed found in Portugal since the characterisation of this material was not found in previous studies. The influence of geometric characteristics and the presence of nodes on these properties were also analysed, and the results showed that they are irrelevant. The studied reeds were found to have an adequate thermal performance to be used as thermal insulation. Their thermal resistance (1.8 m2·◦C/W) and thermal conductivity (0.06 W/m·◦C) are under the requirements defined by Portuguese regulations on thermal insulation materials. Overall, the physical characteristics (moisture content, density, and retraction) are compatible to its use in the construction. Concerning durability, there was only a trend for mould growth in particular environments. The results provide valuable data to be considered in the development of new construction products based on this natural and renewable material. Additionally, considering the studied samples, the reed found in Portugal has characteristics suitable for use as a building material, especially as a thermal insulation material.