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Facts About Rammed Earth Houses

by Sustainable Sally 6 months ago in Sustainability
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Here are some facts about rammed earth houses

Facts About Rammed Earth Houses
Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash

Rammed earth construction is very straightforward. The materials are easily accessible to anyone, require little training, and do not require any special tools. Rammed earth structures are extremely strong, naturally insulated due to the thermal mass of the medium used as infill material, and can be built using recycled or sustainable resources that will last for centuries with proper maintenance and will not harm the environment.

Rammed earth technology is simple, flexible, and easy to learn; it has been implemented all over the world with different cultures and climates in mind. The depth of rammed earth required for a building depends on:

The climate (shallow foundations work well where freezing occurs)

The soil seismic zone (more stringent requirements apply in seismically active areas).

The local building code requirements

Also, the cost of labor and materials needs to be taken into account; rammed earth is sometimes more expensive than other, less sustainable methods. For example, in many parts of the world, rammed earth housing is not an economical alternative to the concrete blocks used for economical housing where the cost of labor is very low. Rammed earth construction can be less expensive than conventional building techniques in places with a high cost of living and skilled labor.

There are a few different types of rammed earth: compressed soil blocks, stabilized rammed earth, and unreinforced rammed earth. Compressed soil blocks are made by pressing moist soil into wooden frames. The most common type of stabilized rammed earth is lime-stabilized, where a small amount of lime is mixed with the soil to help it bind together and resist erosion. Unreinforced rammed earth is just that: wet soil that is tamped down until it binds.

Rammed earth buildings are extremely strong. The shear strength of rammed earth is about 4,000 psi (or 28 MPa), which is much stronger than reinforced concrete's shear strength of 1,500 psi (10 MPa). Also, the load-bearing capacity of rammed earth at 2" or 3" thickness is usually greater than that of structural steel. The thermal mass of the medium used as infill material also helps to naturally insulate rammed earth structures, making them more energy-efficient than other building methods.

The History of Rammed Earth Housing

The first rammed earth structures were built in Africa, Asia, and South America over 10,000 years ago. Rammed earth has been used for a variety of purposes, from housing to public buildings, temples, tombs, and more. For example, the Great Wall of China was built with rammed earth techniques.

Rammed earth construction reached Europe in the 18th century, and has since spread to most parts of the world. Rammed earth housing is becoming increasingly popular due to its environmental benefits and affordability in developed countries.

Rammed earth structures are very versatile; they can be used for anything from individual homes or community centers to apartment complexes or large public buildings. There are many successful rammed earth projects around the world, showing that this building method is a reliable and sustainable option for construction.

This building method has been used for centuries all over the world in different climates and cultures and is a proven method of construction. Rammed earth houses have a long life expectancy and will not harm the environment. They are strong, naturally insulated due to the thermal mass of the medium used as infill material, and can be built using recycled or sustainable resources that will last for centuries with proper maintenance.

Rammed Earth House-Stabilized

There are a few different types of stabilized rammed earth: lime-stabilized, where a small amount of lime is mixed with the soil to help it bind together and resist erosion; Portland cement-stabilized; and polymer-stabilized (polymer fibers are added to help stabilize the mixture). Stabilization helps rammed earth withstand greater pressure without cracking. Lime or Portland cement may be used for structural stabilization in areas where the soil is weak, and polymer stabilization is used in areas with high water tables or where soils are prone to erosion.

Rammed Earth with Structural Support

Structurally stabilized rammed earth (SSRE) is a construction technique that uses a cementitious binder to increase the shear strength of rammed earth. Although SSRE has been used for hundreds of years and is well documented (for example, see Masonry Design and Detailing by C. Jens Jensen), it was not widely used in North America until the mid-1990s when civil engineer Dr. Frederick Havranek started offering workshops exploring the technique's possibilities. One method of constructing SSRE involves hand ramming (see Hand Ramming). Another method of construction requires a rammed earth slip form to limit the amount of pressure on the earthen mixture during construction. A slip form can be made by filling a sturdy wooden frame with sand or metal mesh, filling it with a quick-set cement mixture, then vibrating until the mixture has hardened.

There are many benefits to using rammed earth in construction. Some of these benefits include:

Ramming earth is a very old technique that has been used for centuries all over the world. It is an affordable, environmentally-friendly way to build that is strong and durable. Rammed earth structures can be used for anything from individual homes or community centers to apartment complexes or large public buildings. There are many successful rammed earth projects around the world, showing that this building method is a reliable and sustainable option for construction.

In summary, rammed earth housing is a simple, affordable, and environmentally-friendly way to build. It has been used for centuries all over the world in different climates and cultures, and is a proven method of construction. Rammed earth houses have a long life expectancy and will not harm the environment. They are strong, naturally insulated due to the thermal mass of the medium used as infill material, and can be built using recycled or sustainable resources that will last for centuries with proper maintenance and care.

Sustainability

About the author

Sustainable Sally

I write about sustainability and eco-friendly living.

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