Rammed Earth: an Environmentally Friendly Alternative Material


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Title: Rammed Earth: an Environmentally Friendly Alternative Material


Publication: CIA



Appears on pages(s):


Date: 2/28/2011

With the aim of investigating procedures and materials to reduce the cost of housing construction for local indigenous communities on the Dampier Peninsula, in the West Kimberly region (WA), stabilised rammed earth (SRE) was identified as a viable alternative to the standard typologies (mainly steel framed houses) in remote areas. The identification was based on economic (cheaper than steel or concrete), environmental (low embodied energy) and social (employment of local labor) benefits. Following that analysis, some mechanical properties of SRE made of collected in-situ (the Dampier Peninsula) soils were investigated. The unconfined compressive strength (UCS) for different soil grading and different cement contents was studied. The UCS and the accelerated erosion test (AET) results are reported in this paper. The soil collected in situ was shown to be suitable as construction material. However, the lack of a proper Australian code and a full understanding of rammed earth seem still to represent an obstacle for the acceptance and promotion of this alternative material. This paper aims to encourage the use of SRE not only in remote areas but also in metropolitan ones.

Concrete Institute of Australia, International Partner Access.

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