The moisture buffering capacity of unfired clay masonry

Fionn Mcgregor, Andrew Heath, Andrew Shea, Michael Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (SciVal)
51 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, the results of static and dynamic hygric tests on 114 unfired clay masonry samples are presented. Samples were prepared as Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) or plasters. The variability of soils, the soil density and the preparation methods were investigated to determine their influence on the moisture buffering capacity, water vapour permeability and sorption isotherms. The Moisture buffering Value (MBV) was measured according to the Nordtest protocol and the results could therefore be compared to conventional materials. The results indicate unfired clay masonry has a much higher potential to regulate the indoor humidity than conventional construction materials previously reported in the literature. Because of the benefits of humidity buffering, using unfired clay masonry could reduce health risk for inhabitants, reduce mould growth, reduce energy consumption of air conditioning and ventilation systems and increase the durability of building materials. The presented results show that the soil selection (mineralogy and particle size distribution) is more important for humidity buffering than changes than can be made to a particular soil (density, preparation methods or stabilisation) and the information presented will therefore allow designers to maximise the buffering capacity of buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-607
Number of pages9
JournalBuilding and Environment
Early online date8 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Unfired clay masonry
  • Compressed earth blocks
  • Moisture buffering
  • Clay plasters
  • Water vapour permeability
  • Sorption isotherms


Dive into the research topics of 'The moisture buffering capacity of unfired clay masonry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this