Use of Metakaolin with stabilised extruded earth masonry units

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Modern earth masonry increasingly utilises conventional methods of extruded fired brick production for the manufacture of unfired earth bricks. However, these bricks are not generally recommended for structural applications due to their loss of strength under elevated moisture contents. Disproportionate collapse could occur following accidental or intentional wetting of a 100mm thick load bearing unfired earth wall. Unfired clay bricks can be chemically stabilised, typically by the addition of cement or lime to improve wet strength. However, the use of such binders has been shown to be ineffective for silt and clay rich soils used for extruded bricks.
The research presented in this paper demonstrates the change in compressive strength that can be achieved through the addition of metakaolin to cement and lime stabilised extruded earth masonry. Small-scale bricks were manufactured and tested in compression in both ambient environmental conditions and following a minimum of 16 hours of full submersion in water. Though the addition of metakaolin did not universally improve performance. This research presents a feasible solution using 5% lime and 10% metakaolin, that would allow unfired extruded earth masonry units to be used for structural applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172
Number of pages180
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Cement
  • Lime
  • Compressed Earth Block
  • Natural Building Material
  • Strength


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