Modern earth construction techniques – an overview

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A large portion of the human population reside in earthen structures. Traditional and vernacular earthen structures are eco-friendly, green and sustainable. In order to overcome the inherent limitations of unstabilised earth based constructions and to meet the emerging demand for the low embodied carbon materials certain modern earth construction techniques have evolved. There have been research & development and dissemination efforts across the globe to promote the modern earth construction techniques for the last 40 – 50 years. This review paper aims to provide current information on scientific, technological and recent developments in modern earth construction.The modern earth construction techniques can be classified under the broad categories: (1) masonry materials and techniques, and (2) monolithic building elements (3) earth plasters for indoor air quality regulation. Research & Development and dissemination work on earth constructions based on earth blocks, extruded earth masonry units, fibre reinforced earth, adobe, rammed earth and stabilisation including the growing use of geopolymers in earth construction will be reviewed and details of case studies shall be presented. Beyond the use of earth as a structural material, there has been growing interest in the use of it for the passive regulation of the indoor environment. This has largely focused on the humidity buffering properties inherent with clay minerals. The structural design aspects, design limitations and the information on codes of practice for some of the earth construction techniques will be discussed. The scope for further Research & Development work and standardisation including vocational training in the context of modern earth construction will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Event16th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference, 2016 - Padova, Italy
Duration: 26 Jun 201630 Jun 2016


Conference16th International Brick and Block Masonry Conference, 2016


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