Materials and Structures

, 50:253 | Cite as

Effect of temperature on the sorption curves of earthen materials

  • Antonin Fabbri
  • Fionn McGregor
  • Ines Costa
  • Paulina Faria
Original Article


Unfired earth is a sustainable construction material with low embodied energy, but its development requires a better evaluation of its moisture–thermal buffering abilities and its mechanical behavior. Both of them are known to strongly depend on the amount of water contained in its porous network and its evolution with external conditions (temperature, humidity), which can be assessed through several sorption–desorption curves at different temperature. However, the direct measurement of these curves is particularly time consuming (up to 2 month per curve) and thus, indirect means of their determination appear of main importance for evident time saving and economical reasons. In this context, this paper focuses on the prediction of the evolution of sorption curves with temperature on earth plasters and compacted earth samples. For that purpose, two methods are proposed. The first one is an adaptation of the isosteric method, which gives the variation of relative humidity with temperature at constant water content. The second one, based on the liquid–gas interface equilibrium, gives the variation of water content with temperature at constant relative humidity. These two methods lead to quite consistent and complementary results. It underlines their capability to predict the sorption curves of the tested materials at several temperatures from the sole knowledge of one sorption curve at a given temperature. Finally, these predictions are used to scan the range of temperature variation within which the evolution of water content with temperature at constant humidity could be neglected or should be taken into account.


Vapor sorption in porous media Latent heat of sorption/desorption Hygroscopic behavior Earthen material 



This present work has been supported by the French national research agency ANR, though the project BioTerra (ANR-13-VBDU-0005) and has received funding from the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Unions Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement PCOFUND-GA-2013-609102, through the PRESTIGE program coordinated by Campus France. The authors are indebted to Joao Rodrigues Ferreira for its participation in the former experimentations on this subject during its internship at the ENTPE (from March to August 2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LTDS-LGCB, UMR 5513 CNRS, ENTPEUniversité de LyonVaulx-en-VelinFrance
  2. 2.CERIS and Department of Civil EngineeringNOVA University of LisbonCaparicaPortugal

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