Development of Earth-Based Mortars for Usage in Earth Construction
Earth as a construction material has been used for thousands of years by civilizations all over the world. Earth construction offers a low energy alternative to conventional building materials in addition to being cost effective and safe, qualities which are particularly important with the ever-growing need for increased awareness to reduce energy consumption worldwide. This study is a part of a comprehensive research at the American University in Cairo on earth construction material. The goal of this paper is to test and develop a mortar to bind Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) to be used for low-cost housing using materials and techniques which are feasible within rural areas in various parts of the world. This paper includes an experimental program to test 20 different mortar mixes all containing loam and sand testing the effect of adding lime, lignin sulfonate and palm fibers on compressive strength and durability. The variations in strength and durability of the mortars with the different percentages of the mixture components were studied. Based on the results, the best mortar based on compressive strength and durability was selected to be used in construction at a future stage of the experimental program.
We would like to thank the lab personnel at the construction engineering department at the American University in Cairo for their constant help and support throughout the process of this work. Also we would like to thank Dr. Naahed Zarifah and Ms. Dalia Zarifah for their help in providing the lignin sulfonate used within the study.
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