Associate Professor, Building Physics, leader of Building Physics modelling research group. Vice Head of Department for undergraduate and master's level studies
The research being conducted in the field of building physics aims to gain an insight into basic physical processes associated with the transportation of heat, moisture and air, and energy consumption in order to keep materials hot, cold or dry. It is important to understand these connections because they affect the performance of materials and energy consumption in our environments.
- We develop tools based on existing problems and requirements. Once our detailed models are complete, we will have a new understanding which will help us simplify and develop tools which are suitable for everyday engineering activities. With every research project, we also broaden our knowledge and improve our ability to simplify, explains Angela.
New research area
As a research area, building physics is relatively new compared with building materials and geoengineering, for example. As well as understanding the processes, Angela's group also works on modelling them and developing tools which can help researchers and engineers manage these processes in the right way through various applications.
- My research group has had a great deal of success in recent years and has developed calculation tools and models which are used by other researchers and even by industry – which means that we have understood and managed to solve a number of problems.
The building physics research area has been developed in countries and regions with a climate which is similar to that of Sweden and, as a result, is not very big. This, together with the group's excellent results, means that the research group is a leader in its field, both nationally and internationally, with other national research which is the ideal complement to its work at Chalmers.
The year in review and the future
2015 was a positive year for the research group, with broader areas of application for building physics expertise, which led, for example, to a new doctoral project in the field of energy and a project on the internal environment in schools. In 2015, the research took a step in a new direction: the management of surface water in cities.
- We will look for potential in existing buildings and help prevent flooding. One way to do this could be to design green roofs and, in particular, to develop new models for making assessments. This will require collaboration with other research groups within Chalmers who already have expertise in this field.
Link between research and teaching
Once a research project is complete, its results are quickly incorporated into teaching. A concrete application could be to develop simplified tools to build training scenarios for students.
- We did a project around risk assessment when renovating buildings, which was completed in 2013, and I applied that knowledge in a master's course in 2014-2015. The students get an insight into the latest developments in the field of research and then apply this in their work. They use the models we give them and spread the word that "they came from Chalmers.
The Omstart project, which was launched as part of a major review of the Built Environment courses, is now in the application phase, and Angela has this to say about it:
- I believe that Omstart enables a new type of teaching which is more effective in terms of the use of resources and learning. With the new programme structure, students will get an overall perspective which is complex and cross disciplinary. For example, by combining mathematics with mathematical tools to plan a city. The basic courses will run in parallel, so we will endeavour to link and identify common denominators by showing applications in a clearer way than before.