The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 90 (2012) > Issues > Issue 4 > Modern earth masonry – Structural properties & structural design
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Modern earth masonry – Structural properties & structural design

There has been recent increased use of earth for construction of buildings in developed countries, largely because of concerns with the environmental impact and embodied carbon from fired bricks and cement-based products. Of all forms of earth construction, the widest impact on modern construction is likely to come from commercially produced unfired earth masonry where large-scale production can significantly reduce costs. While there are benefits to using earth masonry, structural design with earth masonry raises some specific issues that are not necessarily relevant to other forms of masonry construction. This paper summarises these issues and presents results of extensive structural testing on modern earth masonry. The structural properties required for design are compared with typical values for other masonry types in Eurocode 6, showing that commercially produced earth masonry can meet or even exceed the structural capacity of other commonly used masonry systems.

Author(s): A. Heath, D. Maskell, P. Walker, M. Lawrence and C. Fourie (BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath, UK)

Keywords: research, masonry, walls, soil, properties, strength, brickwork, blocks, design, eurocode6, autoclaved aerated concrete, comparing, bs en1052, bs en771, testing