The compressive strength of modern earth masonry

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Abstract

Interest in earth building materials has grown in the UK in recent years. Though the use of traditional vernacular techniques, such as cob, adobe and rammed earth, have raised the profile of earthen architecture, wider impact on modern construction is likely to come from modern innovations such as extruded unfired masonry units. A large driver behind the move to earth masonry is the significant reduction in embodied energy when compared to fired bricks and concrete blockwork, and the passive environmental control provided by clay. This paper summarises results of extensive testing on commercial mass produced extruded unfired clay bricks. The focus of this paper is to investigate the properties affecting the compressive strength of these building products. Both theoretical models and test results demonstrate that the clay content plays a large role in defining the compressive strength of these materials. The reduction in strength with increases in moisture content are similar for different material sources and these strength reductions are unlikely to cause problems under normal operating conditions, even at high relative humidity and in shower rooms.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009
Event11th International Conference on Non-conventional Materials and Technologies, NOCMAT 2009 - Bath
Duration: 6 Sep 20099 Sep 2009

Conference

Conference11th International Conference on Non-conventional Materials and Technologies, NOCMAT 2009
CityBath
Period6/09/099/09/09

Keywords

  • Moisture
  • Strength
  • Earth
  • Masonry
  • Compressive

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