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Rammed Earth Building Review

Rammed Earth Building Review

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Published by Peter W Gossner
A Review of Rammed Earth Construction

Rammed earth walls are formed by compacting damp soil between temporary forms.
Together with other forms of unbaked earthen construction, such as mud-brick, rammed
earth has a long and continued history throughout many regions of the world. Major
centres of rammed earth construction include North Africa, Australasia, regions of
North and South America, China and Europe, including France, Germany and Spain.
Rammed earth or pisé construction has been practised in the UK for well over 200 years.
Throughout the nineteenth century a significant number of rammed earth and rammed
chalk buildings were built in Wessex. Following WWI a series of experimental rammed
earth and chalk houses were built in Amesbury, Wiltshire. However, it is the revival over
the past 10 or so years that has led to this review of rammed earth construction,
undertaken as part of the DTi Partners in Innovation project `Developing rammed earth
construction for UK housing'. The project seeks to promote the use of rammed earth
construction in the UK through the publication and dissemination of a set of design and
construction guidance notes.
The review comprises a study of the current state of the art of rammed earth
construction as published in over 200 books, journal and conference papers, scientific
reports and other articles. In addition to the literature review recent and historic rammed
earth projects in the UK have also been studied and these findings are presented as well.
This combined literature and project review forms an important contribution to the
process of writing the guidance notes.
A Review of Rammed Earth Construction

Rammed earth walls are formed by compacting damp soil between temporary forms.
Together with other forms of unbaked earthen construction, such as mud-brick, rammed
earth has a long and continued history throughout many regions of the world. Major
centres of rammed earth construction include North Africa, Australasia, regions of
North and South America, China and Europe, including France, Germany and Spain.
Rammed earth or pisé construction has been practised in the UK for well over 200 years.
Throughout the nineteenth century a significant number of rammed earth and rammed
chalk buildings were built in Wessex. Following WWI a series of experimental rammed
earth and chalk houses were built in Amesbury, Wiltshire. However, it is the revival over
the past 10 or so years that has led to this review of rammed earth construction,
undertaken as part of the DTi Partners in Innovation project `Developing rammed earth
construction for UK housing'. The project seeks to promote the use of rammed earth
construction in the UK through the publication and dissemination of a set of design and
construction guidance notes.
The review comprises a study of the current state of the art of rammed earth
construction as published in over 200 books, journal and conference papers, scientific
reports and other articles. In addition to the literature review recent and historic rammed
earth projects in the UK have also been studied and these findings are presented as well.
This combined literature and project review forms an important contribution to the
process of writing the guidance notes.

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Published by: Peter W Gossner on Aug 02, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/04/2013

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Pulverization, the breaking down of cohesive aggregations of soil, is by no-means always
essential. It is usually required for dry clayey or chalky soils that contain hard lumps that
need to be broken down effectively before blending with sand or other additives and
prior to wetting, mixing and ramming (Keable, 1994). Pulverization is most effective
when undertaken on dry soils. Pulverization can be simply achieved by passing the
pneumatic rammer over soil prior to mixing. Electrically powered crushers can consist of
steel angles fixed on a horizontal rotating plate and can crush up to 20m3

to 30m3

of soil
in 8 hours (Minke, 2000). The pulverizer should be able to handle stony and sandy soils
and project the earth some distance to ensure good aeration and proper premixing
(Houben & Guillaud, 1994).

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