2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

Mechanical Properties of On-Site Manufactured Compressed Earth Blocks

Ms. Emma Keeler, Queen's University (Presenter)
Dr. SALAH SARHAT, Queen's University
Mr. Md Yusuf
Dr. Mark Green, Queen's University

Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) use ancient building techniques to provide a sustainable building solution which offer an alternative to typical industrial building materials. The CEBs were manufactured on-site by an experienced builder in Coburg, Ontario, Canada using two soil types: coarse and fine. Natural fibre reinforcement (Phragmites) was added in half of the blocks giving the following four block mixes: coarse-grained soil without fibres, coarse-grained soil with Phragmites, fine-grained soil without fibres, and fine-grained soil with Phragmites. The CEBs were tested in compression and in flexure, in air dry state. The air dry compressive strength of the blocks was observed to increase when fibres were added, however this increase in likely statistically insignificant. The fibres had no significant effect on the flexural strength of the blocks, but the type of soil used in the block, coarse or fine, was observed to have a larger effect on structural performance. Correction factors were applied to the compressive strength of the blocks to determine the unconfined compression strength. Comparing compressive strength values with the required strength from the Australian handbook and the International Building Code, it was found that all uncorrected and corrected strengths exceeded the requirements. After comparing results, it was concluded that the Phragmites may have some effect on the strength of the blocks, and more consideration should be given to soil type in addition to fibre type for improvement of structural performance. If optimum performance can be obtained from the CEBs, they could be a useful building material for remote Aboriginal communities where access to conventional building materials is limited.