Optimizing the physical, mechanical and hygrothermal performance of compressed earth bricks

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The paper is based on findings from research that assesses the potential for enhancing the performance of compressed earth bricks. A set of experiments was carried out to assess the potential for enhancing the bricks' physical, mechanical and hygrothermal performance through the design of an optimal stabilization strategy. Three different types of bricks were fabricated: soil-cement, soil-cement-lime, and soil-cement-fiber. The different types of bricks did not exhibit significant differences in performances when assessed on the basis of porosity, density, water absorption, and compressive strength. However, upon exposure to elevated moisture and temperature conditions, the soil-cement-fiber bricks had the highest residual strength (87%). The soil-cement and soil-cement-lime bricks had residual strength values of 48.19 and 46.20% respectively. These results suggest that, like any other cement-based material, compressed earth brick properties are affected by hydration-triggered chemical and structural changes occurring in the matrix that would be difficult to isolate using tests that focus on "bulk" changes. The discussion in this paper presents findings from a research effort directed at quantifying the specific changes through an analysis of the microstructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-604
Number of pages9
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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