The use of renewable and natural materials characterized by the low environmental impact is nowadays a key issue for the sustainable development of the construction industry. For this reason, the interest for natural fibers, to be used as reinforcement in composites as an alternative to other fibers, is continuously growing. In this paper, the use of hemp for reinforcing lime mortar used as plaster is considered with a multidisciplinary approach, taking into consideration the structural and thermal performance. Natural fibers have several advantages compared to industrial ones, such as low cost, low environmental impact, biodegradability, renewable nature. Moreover, these can show remarkable mechanical performance in relation to specific weight, and sometimes, as in the case of hemp fibers, these can improve the thermal insulation capacity of the plaster. However, the experimental results on the mechanical features are still lacking, especially to assess their durability, and the variability of thermal parameters with the mechanical characteristics. Therefore, this paper proposes an experimental program, developed at Laboratory of Materials and Structures (LAMAS) of the University of Sannio (Italy), aimed at investigating the main mechanical properties (compression strength, flexural strength) of lime mortar reinforced by hemp fibers and subjected to various environmental exposures and aging processes. The characterization is completed with the measurement for the produced samples of the thermal conductivity by means of the standardized guarded hot plate technique.
Keywords: aging; ecofriendly materials; environmental conditioning; experimental tests; hemp-lime mortar; natural fibers.