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Rammed earth construction
- To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
- Subject: Rammed earth construction
- From: Michael Hemstad <mhemstad(--nospam--at)mbjeng.com>
- Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 11:17:23 -0600
I have a project in Rwanda on which my client
wants to try some alternative means of construction. Rammed earth and
straw bale construction have come up.
(For those who haven't heard of these, rammed earth is
made by building wall forms, placing soil in them, and pounding it until it
rings. It makes a durable, fireproof wall with local materials and
labor. Straw-bale construction involves stacking straw bales, often
dowelling them together with wood dowels, then applying thick parging to each
side. This apparently results in a strong, fireproof, relatively
durable wall too, although I know less about it than rammed
Does anyone have information on either of these? I
am specifically looking for information on what soil properties are needed for a
successful rammed-earth installation (e.g. clay content, sand content, moisture
content). I don't yet know whether a geotechnical engineer is available to
the project; so information of the "holds together as a ball when dropped" type
is also appreciated.
I appreciate any help, or alternate
Mike Hemstad, P.E., S.E.