Structural Assessment of Translucent Walls Built with a Novel Type of Insulating Aerogel-Filled Glass Bricks


  • Vlad-Alexandru Silvestru ETH Zurich, Institute of Structural Engineering
  • Christian Bianchi ETH Zurich, Institute of Structural Engineering
  • Jannis Wernery Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
  • Michal Ganobjak Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology


Among a multitude of functions, the façade is responsible for providing sufficient thermal insulation and supplying the building interior with enough natural light. For the latter, transparent glazed areas are essential. However, compromises in terms of the glass-to-wall ratio are often necessary since large glazed areas lead to overheating in summer and heat loss in winter. A novel type of highly insulating translucent glass brick made from annealed glass and filled with aerogel granulate was developed recently as an alternative in this regard. The bricks are not supposed to replace the transparent glass areas, but to offer a translucent alternative for part of the otherwise opaque wall areas. This paper focuses on the structural behaviour of walls composed of such aerogel-filled glass bricks. The
components of such a brick and their functions are described. Moreover, two prototype systems for supporting the bricks in translucent walls are introduced – one with interlocking connections and pre-stressed wires, the other with interlocking connections and edge clamping. Both systems are analysed in finite element simulations from a structural point of view under out-of-plane loading. The resulting global deformations as well as occurring stresses in different components are analysed. Based on the findings, advantages and limitations of the different systems are highlighted and suggestions for improved alternative systems for translucent walls with insulating aerogel-filled glass bricks are made.





Experimental & Numerical Investigations