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CIVIL ENGINEERING MATERIALS (SKAA 2112) GROUP ASSIGNMENTS : ADVANCED MATERIAL OTHER THAN CONCRETE TITLE : REPORT

CIVIL ENGINEERING MATERIALS (SKAA 2112)

GROUP ASSIGNMENTS :

ADVANCED MATERIAL OTHER THAN CONCRETE

TITLE : REPORT ON STRUCTURAL INSULATED RAMMED EARTH WALL (SIREWALL)

LECTURER : DR. ABDULLAH ZAWAWI B. AWANG

SECTION

: 3

GROUP MEMBERS :

NAMES

MATRIC. NO

ATHIRAH BINTI ABDUL AZIZ (K)

B17KA0001

MUIZZATUN NASIRAH BINTI KEPLI

B17KA0049

NORSYAFIQAH BINTI ABD WAHAB

B17KA0012

1 MARKS
1
MARKS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

NO.

CONTENTS

PAGES

REMARKS

1.

INTRODUCTION

   
  • 1.1 What is Rammed Earth and SIREwall

  • 1.2 Brief History and Development

3

- 5

  • 1.3 Differences Between Rammed Earth and Concrete

 

2.

MATERIALS FOR RAMMED EARTH CONSTRUCTION

   
  • 2.1 Raw Materials

  • 2.2 Soil Specifications

5

- 9

  • 2.3 Soil Selection for Cement Stabilized Rammed

 

Earth

  • 2.4 Properties of Rammed Earth

3.

CONSTRUCTION OF RAMMED EARTH WALLS

10

- 12

 
  • 3.1 Building

 

4.

MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF RAMMED EARTH

   
  • 4.1 Maintenance of Rammed Earth Walls

  • 4.2 Defects in New Construction

12

- 15

  • 4.3 Repairs To Rammed Earth

 

5.

CONCLUSION

 

15

 

6.

REFERRENCES

 

16

 

1) INTRODUCTION

  • 1.1 What is Rammed Earth and Structural Insulated Rammed Earth?

Rammed earth is a simple construction technique based on compacting earth between formwork to make a homogeneous wall. Other applications include floors, roofs and foundations. Recently it has also been used for furniture, garden ornaments and other features. It is recognized as a sustainable building material.

Structural Insulated Rammed Earth is an advanced materials for rammed earth. It is widely use in the United States (US) ,Canada and Australia. It is recognized as advanced material because rammed earth generally has low wall stability and has uncontrolled thermal properties as it depends on the surrounding weather. However, SIREWALL are able to sustain load bearing by using the same material which consist of dirt but with more engineering properties to improve its mechanical properties and aesthetic values.

  • 1.2 Brief History and Development

Earth is one of man’s oldest building materials and most ancient civilizations used it in some form. It was easily available, strong, cheap and required only simple technology. Major centres of rammed earth construction include North Africa, Australia, regions of North and South America, China and Europe, including France, Germany and Spain. In Egypt the grain stores of Ramasseum built in 1300BC still exist and the Great Wall of China has sections built in rammed earth over 2000 years ago. Iran, India, Nepal and Yemen have examples of ancient cities and large buildings built in various forms of earthen construction.

Besides, in England there is sample evidence of earth’s use as a building material which is as around 60% of scheduled “ancient monuments and archaeological sites” are constructed of earth or have earthworks associated.

Since soil has poor strength and dimensional stability, cement can be used as a stabilizing agent. Rammed earth technology has been used in many countries with varying degrees of success. Some of these buildings are still surviving which were built about 200 years ago in United Kingdom. Therefore, rammed earth could be considered as an alternative building material to be adopted in Sri Lanka. In line with the general move towards off-site fabrication of building elements, pre-formed or prefabricated rammed earth has developed. Prefabrication potentially allows higher-quality factory construction of elements under sheltered conditions which also can minimize on-site construction time.

1.3 Differences Between Rammed Earth and Concrete Construction Table 1 shows the comparison between rammed earth and concrete.

 

Rammed Earth

Concrete

Materials

Raw materials such as gravel, lime, chalk, earth, clay-rich soil and water. Use natural stabilizer such as animal urine and blood, plant fibres and bitumen.

Heavy materials such as coarse aggregates, fine aggregates, cement and water.

Formworks

Compacted by layer around 100-150 mm depth in formwork.

The mixture of concrete can be poured into formwork and forms a stone like mass on hardening.

Binding Agent

Blocks are bonded together with a thin mud slurry.

Bonded together with cement.

Compressive Strength

Low

High

Reinforcement

Can be reinforced with rebar, wood or bamboo which can prevent collapse caused by earthquakes or heavy storms.

Can be reinforced with rebar to prevent it from failure.

Sustainability

Sustainable building material as it use natural raw material.

Not a sustainable building material.

Cost

Low cost

High cost

Eco-friendly

Environmentally friendly and does not contribute to emission of greenhouse effects.

Released large amount of carbon dioxide that can caused global warming and not environmentally friendly.

Labour

Can be done by unskilled labour.

Have to be done by skilled labour.

Durability

Need special protection from wind and rain.

More durable and resistance to wind and rain.

Finishing

Does not need any render or plaster as the final texture is very unique and beautiful.

Need finishing as the final texture of the concrete is not beautiful.

  • 2.0 MATERIALS FOR RAMMED EARTH CONTRUCTION

Rammed earth can be classified as stabilized and non-stabilized. Non-stabilized rammed earth is consisting of clay, silt, sand, gravel, and water. Stabilized rammed earth includes other materials to improve its properties. SIRE wall, a structural insulated rammed earth construction which is a modernized material used in construction which still implied the traditional rammed earth techniques except with better material selection and stabilized wall.

  • 2.1 Raw Materials

There are five basic types of soil (gravel, sand, silt, clay, and organic), and the dirt according to the climate and seismicity of local site. Based on past construction, the longest lasting rammed earth walls were made of soil that consist of 70% (sand) and 30% (clay). Organic material must be removed from the soil and, if necessary, a different type of soil can be trucked in and mixed with the existing dirt to create a blend that will work.

Cement are added to the soil to increase both its strength and its resistance to moisture which at about one-fourth the ratio that would be used to make concrete. Steel reinforcing bars are placed in the foundations and sometimes in the walls. Plywood is used to make the removable forms for standard rammed earth construction. Sheets of three-quarter-inch (1.9 cm) plywood are thick enough. High-density-overlay (HDO) panels, which have a thin, plastic coating on one side, work especially well because they release more easily from the wall after construction. This not only leaves a clean finish on the just-completed wall, but it leaves the form boards in good condition to be used on future projects.RE structures utilize locally available materials with lower embodied energy and wasted materials than traditional method (Earth Materials Guidelines, 1996).

The differences between a traditional rammed earth and a structural insulated Rammed Earth are :

  • i. A reduced of clay component in the soil mix. The stabilization of the rammed earth mix with Portland cement, blast furnace slag and/or other pozzolans.

ii.

iii.

An incorporation of interstitial insulation to improve thermal performance.

iv.

The addition of steel reinforcing.

v.

The application of the masonry and concrete code principles by structural engineers

vi.

in designing the structures. The mechanization of mixing, delivery, and ramming of the soil mix.

vii.

The composition of cement and consistency of soils.

There is a simplicity and elegance to a traditional rammed earth wall. The materials embodied within it are truly raw before being transformed into a monolithic earthen wall. The embodied energy of such a wall is extremely low if the earthen material is locally sourced. (SRE) provides a viable and more sustainable alternative to conventional building technologies.

2.2 Soil Specifications 2.2.1 Colour

Colour is an important aspect in specification of soil as it has aesthetic values which is important for the client and designer. Natural soil is available in a wide range of colours. Variation in aggregate colour can lead to non-uniform finishes. Natural colours can be varied by using additives, such as lime and cement, or by blending different soils to enhance the stratified (layered) finish as shown in Figure 3.1. Use of some surface treatments, such as sodium silicate and PVA, can alter the surface colour, and should generally be checked before main application.

iii. An incorporation of interstitial insulation to improve thermal performance. iv. The addition of steel reinforcing.

Figure 1 An example of structural insulated rammed earth wall located in Spring Island, Canada.

2.2.2 Particle Size Distribution

Particle size distribution testing by sieving and sedimentation testing has become acceptable practice for appraisal of soil for rammed earth. However, influence of acceptable practice for variation in grading on physical characteristics of rammed earth, including both strength and durability, remains unclear (Keable,1994). Organic matter content should be avoided, as this may lead to high shrinkage and possible biodeterioration as well as increasing susceptibility to insect attack. Organic material also interferes with action of stabilizers such as cement.

2.3 Soil Selection for Cement Stabilized Rammed Earth Soils for cement stabilized rammed earth tend to have proportionally higher sand and gravel content and correspondingly lower fines content. Figure 3.2 shows the recommended composition of soil cement as proposed by various authors.

2.2.2 Particle Size Distribution Particle size distribution testing by sieving and sedimentation testing has become acceptable

Figure 3.2 Grading proportion for Cement Stabilization

The most suitable soil for cement stabilization should have a significant sand content, at least greater than 50% and preferably closer to 75%, and at the same time low clay content, typically less than 25%. As in the case of unstabilized rammed earth, these criteria are intended as a broad initial guide for soil selection and include recommendations for soil blocks as well as rammed earth. In Table 2, the design and specification of rammed earth are summarized as follows.

Table 2 Rammed earth Walls: Design and Specification Considerations

In Seismic areas,rammed earth walls may require vertical and horizontal reinforcing steel. In low seismic risk areas,reinforcing may not be necessary.

Foundation for rammed earth are usually reinforced concrete and should extend far enough above grade to ensure that the walls will never contact standing water.

Formwork for rammed earth construction must be stable enough to withstand the pressure and vibration from the ramming process.Small,simple forms may be the simplest to manage. Since forms are moved along the structure as it is formed,ease of assembly and dismantling should be considered when forms are designed.

If cement is used ,the erath mixture must be prepared and placed / rammed in small batches as the cement will begin to cure as soon as it is mixed with water .

Rammed earth mixes are usually drier than other types of earth construction.Keeping moisture levels low will prevent the mix from shrinking and cracking as it dries.However,if it is too dry,it may crumble.

Soil should be placed in six-to-eight-inch lifts and compacted to approximately half this height.

Rammed earth construction waste can be used to form soil cement in pathway and paving applications.

Sources: State of New Mexico 2003; Minke 2006;Easton 2000;Norton 1997;Sorving 1995.

  • 2.4 Properties of Rammed Earth

In a study conducted in France (Morel et al., 2001), the use of locally sourced materials in rammed earth construction demonstrated a significant reduction in the environmental impact when compared to a case in which the construction material is sourced far away and transported to the building site. Table below shows the comparison between all types of rammed earth according to its mechanical characteristic.

Table 3 : The difference between types of rammed earth according to its mechanical characteristic

Mechanical

Rammed Earth

Stabilized

Non-

SIREWALL

Characteristic

Rammed

Standard

(Structural

Earth

Insulated

Insulated

Rammed

Rammed

Earth

Earth)

Compressive

1Mpa-3Mpa

3Mpa-7Mpa

3Mpa-

20Mpa-30Mpa

Strength

28Mpa

R-value (static)

R6

R6

R12-R25

R33 & UP

R-value(dynamic)

R9-R13.5

R9-R13.5

R38-R56

R50-R74

Erosion Resistance

A garden hose

Garden hose

Widely

2,500 psi

erodes this

resistant

variable

pressure washer

resistant

Quality Control

Unlikely

Possible

Unlikely

Yes

Protocol

Risk of

Possible

Possible

Possible

Unlikely

efflorescence

Curing Protocol

No

Possible

Possible

Yes

Air barrier

No

No

Possible

Yes

detailing

Pre-build soil

No

Unlikely

Minimal

Yes

optimization

Vapour drive

No

No

Unlikely

Yes

barrier

Engineer and

No

Yes

Unlikely

Yes

Building Permit

Friendly

Large Project

Possible

Possible

Unlikely

Yes

capability

  • 3.0 CONSTRUCTION OF RAMMED EARTH WALLS

3.1 Building a) Soil Mixing
3.1
Building
a) Soil Mixing
Quality Control Unlikely Possible Unlikely Yes Protocol Risk of Possible Possible Possible Unlikely efflorescence Curing Protocol
b) Foundation
b) Foundation
Quality Control Unlikely Possible Unlikely Yes Protocol Risk of Possible Possible Possible Unlikely efflorescence Curing Protocol
c) Formwork d) Ramming
c)
Formwork
d)
Ramming
e) Plastering, rendering and re-touch
e) Plastering,
rendering and
re-touch
c) Formwork d) Ramming e) Plastering, rendering and re-touch Figure 2 shows the building methods and

Figure 2 shows the building methods and techniques.

  • a) Soil Mixing

Soil mixing is the most important operation to ensure the homogeneity of the soil and it is depend on the type of the soil available on the site. The agreed proportions on site are 2.5 gravel, 2 course sand and 2.5 clay. Firstly, the soil was going on a dry mixing process using a drum mixture. After the soil trough dry mix process, water was added gradually. While water is added, the mixture had to be turned over to ensure that all the particles will be moistened. The amount of water is really important as if the mixture contain too much water the soil becomes too wet and water will resist compaction, and if the mixture contains little water the soil will not be properly squeezed. Generally water forms 10.15% of the mixture and the mixture must look quite dry after adding it. The drop test gave an indication of the amount of water needed. Soil screening, crushing and mixing as a one continuous process are necessary in order to obtain optimum result.

  • b) Foundation

Foundation design for rammed earth buildings is very similar to that for low rise buildings. Concrete strip footing are the most common types of footings. The size of footings depends on the type of the supported structure and the soil bearing capacity underneath the foundation. It is important that foundation is of sufficient depth to avoid frost underneath and footings should be well protected from water infiltration. The ground immediately adjacent to the base of a rammed earth wall should be well drained. Also extended eaves and raised footings protect walls from rainfall. Generally the installation of surface and underwater drains and damp-proof courses are considered essentials. We used bitumen sheets for water insulation.

  • c) Formwork

Formwork as a temporary support during the soil compaction. It can be from simple formwork systems to complicated formwork systems. Usually, plywood or steel is used to make formwork. Unlike concrete, rammed earth formwork can be removed after compaction resulting in efficient in re-use of formwork and much faster. Like concrete formwork, it is required to have sufficient strength, stiffness and stability to resist pressure applied during the assembly, pouring of soil mix and dismantling.

  • d) Ramming

The mixed moist soil was poured in the formwork creating a uniform level of almost 15 cm, which after ramming was compressed to 10 cm. As soon as the first layer was rammed properly another was poured to be rammed, and so on. Both electric and hand metal rammers were used to ram the soil. The metal is composed of a steel rod with a flat steel plate, the weight of the rammers and the size of the plates differs to suit the purpose for example to ram the corners. A layer was considered to be properly rammed as soon as an echoing sound was heard from the rammers, an indication of the compactness of that layer. The width of the formwork enabled users to stand inside it and ram, an advantage that ensured that all the corners and the edges were rammed properly.

  • e) Plastering, Rendering and Re-Touch

One of the importance of using smooth formwork is to get a smooth surface. Rammed earth does not need plastering as it is beautiful and unique. After dismantling, it is advised to sponge the surface with a moist towel immediately. Just in case there were any small holes in the wall,

they can be filled by hand from the same soil mixture. From the research, the materials were used are dissolved in water and is easily applied to the walls using brushes or sponges.

  • 4.0 MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF STRUCTURAL INSULATED RAMMED

EARTH

  • 4.1 Maintenance of Structural Insulated Rammed Earth Walls

In order to keep the buildings sustained, maintenance activities should be done to avoid any failures or defects to buildings. Rammed earth buildings provide a very durable low maintenance. It is necessary that a detailed maintenance schedule for rammed earth structures is established and sustained. The major agent of decay for earth buildings is water. So, any maintenance activities should primarily focus on preventing deterioration from the effects of water.

Maintaining the integrity of the roof and renewing the exterior wall coatings, cleaning back gutters and downpipes, removing of vegetation growth should be part of routine maintenance. Under proper preparations of the wall surface and good paint application can protect earth walls between 3 to 5 years. Breathable lime renders protect rammed earth and cob walls for many years. Painting and repairing render coats will extend the building life. Because of the problems with water, cement based renders are not recommended on natural earth walls. Transparent coatings maintain the appearance of rammed earth, are preferred to paints or renders care should be taken over time to maintain the as damage to transparent surfaces are hard to notice.

There are no generally guidelines on the routine maintenance of rammed earth, these depends very much on the nature and complexity of the structure but some guidance is provided in Australian earth building handbook (Standards Australia, 2002) and summarised as table below:

Item

Check

Control Joints

Condition of sealant, cleanliness of joints, vegetation

Damp

Integrity of damp proofing and flashing along base

proofing/flashing

Course

Door/Window frames

Loosening of door and window frame anchorage, evidence of moisture penetration, condition of sealant, difficulty opening (evidence of building settlement)

Drainage

Leaking drains, downpipes, guttering, blockage of drains and evidence of overflow, ponding of rainwater, integrity of splash- back courses.

Earth floors

Wearing of surface, damage to protective coating, damp

Footings

Damp, settlement (cracking of footing/ground slab), scour of foundation material, evidence of roots undermining foundation

Metallic Fixtures

Integrity of fixing connection, evidence of corrosion of metallic fittings, cracking or spalling of wall

Roofs/verandas

Structural integrity, tighten holding down bolts, leaks

Surface coatings

Abrasive damage, cracking, erosion, peeling; spalling, Separation

Termites

Evidence of termite and other harmful insect activity, integrity of barrier

Vegetation

Cut-back overgrowth near building, avoid planting large trees close to buildings

Walls

Cracking (shrinkage, settlement, thermal, overload, lintel bearings; services), structural integrity, erosion, damp, weep-holes/ventilation ducts clean

  • 4.2 Defects in New Construction

After construction, defects in rammed earth will arise include formwork pattering, colour variation between panel, mismatch colour patch repairs, bolt hole repairs, shrinkage cracking, efflorescent staining and boniness. Defects of earth building can be assumed through deficiencies of surface coatings and structural defects. Deficiencies to surface coatings can result more significant structural deficiencies if not treated.

Surface Defects

Structural Defects

  • 1. Cracks

  • 1. Water borne erosion of wall

  • 2. Blistering

  • 2. Freeze-thaw heave of wall

  • 3. Flakes

  • 3. Low level erosion at base of wall

  • 4. Peeling

  • 4. Rat runs and animals holes

  • 5. Boniness

  • 5. Abrasion damage

6.

Loss of adhesion

  • 6. Structural cracking

 
  • 7. Bulging

4.3 Repairs To Rammed Earth 1) Repair of surface coatings

Coating should be repaired locally or if necessarily when there are deficiencies on the surface coating such as cracks, flakes, peeling, blistering and loss of adhesion. Different types of coatings require different types of techniques. The surface of the rammed earth should be dry before the application of repair. The render material should be compatible with the fabric of the wall. The most importantly, uniformity of appearance and surface texture should be maintained.

2) Repair of structural defects

Structural defects in rammed earth such as tensile cracking, arising from both structural action, material shrinkage, spalling, bulging, scouring from erosion and even partial collapse. The main causes of defects are damp, abrasion from general use, poor design, poor construction, poor maintenance, settlement.

For old building, nothing should be made to realign leaning or bulging section of earth walls by using hydraulic jacking or leaning sections. Wall should be stabilised as they stand except if unacceptable degree of outward lean has developed. Rammed earth wall shrinkage cracks can be repaired by pointing or filling with damped soil of same characteristics such as colour, grading and plasticity as the colour and bond with the main walls are the main concern.

No attempt should be made to repair a structural crack if there is no reasonable degree of certainty that all movement has ceased. There are two main method of repairing structural cracks and under scour erosion damage by Pearson Standards Australia, 2002. First method is by using the pre-cast earth blocks with or without reinforcement to form a repair in the earth mortar. The second method is by ramming into place new material, with or without reinforcement, temporarily supported by formwork on one face and then cut back the exposed surface to the original line of the wall. If there is large cracks or the section of the wall have partially collapse, the main floor beams and roof rafters may need support. Masonry, timber posts or stabilised block work pillars can be used to support the end beams.

5.0

CONCLUSION

As the conclusion, it can be concluded that structural insulated rammed earth are categorized as advanced material that have potential in construction world. Although it is significant to historic preservation but it has the advantage of being one of the sustainable building techniques. Structural Insulated Rammed earth walls have a nominal twelve-hour temperature cycle which is keeping them cool in daytime and warm at night. This can minimize the need for artificial air conditioning and heating with affordable costs and also can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Due to modern era of globalization, rammed earth has been innovated to develop the new technology building technique which has increase in strength and durability called Stabilized Rammed Earth wall (SIRE wall). Other than that, there is pre-formed rammed earth which allow higher quality factory construction of elements under sheltered conditions whilst also minimizing on-site construction time. In brief, we hope that this technology building technique can be more practiced to keep the environment more healthy, clean and eco-friendly for the use of future generation.

  • 6.0 REFERRENCES

    • 1. Anderson DW. Rammed earth construction. 2000. Retrieved May 21, 2009, from Ashl and

  • 2. Earth Materials Guidelines (1996). Retrieved 2009, from green builder:

  • 3. Rammed. Fu X, Chung DD (1998). Effects of water-cement ratio, curing age, silica fume,

polymer admixtures, steel surface treatments, and corrosion on bond between concrete and

steel reinforcing bars.

  • 4. Nelson W. Compressed earth blocks. 1976. Retrieved 2009, from Network Earth:

  • 5. Calkins, M. (2009). Materials for Sustainable Sites (Vol. 1). New Jersey, USA: John

Wiley & Sons .

Date Accessed : December 04, 2017.

  • 7. Morel, J., Mesnah, A., Oggero, M. and Walker, P. (2001) “Building houses with local

materials: means to drastically reduce the environmental impact of construction”, Building and Environment, 36: 1119-1126.

Date Accessed : 13/12/2017

buildings-made-of-rammed-earth-38040. Date Accessed : 13/12/17