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University of Newcastle Rammed Earth Tests

October 31, 2016

Luke Mahony

We have been partnering with Newcastle Uni’s Department of Engineering exploring the properties of unstabilised rammed earth for post carbon construction methods. We made a test panel from ‘average’ dirt that represented the worst case scenario. See previous post here.

The test panel was allowed to dry for a long period and was recently placed back into a thermal testing box. There were some surprising results in terms of actual performance and there will a paper published shortly.

The test panel was then tested for strength.

Dr Michael Netherton from Newcastle Uni, who conducted the tests, said the “wall is a lot stronger than expected.”

“Based on the Cylinder tests we did when the wall was first made, we expected the wall would crack @ 20 tonnes today; but, maybe the drying out has had an amazing effect?”

“In the end, we had to abandon the test, because we would have damaged our equipment which was limited at 50 tonnes. I’ve attached a few images from today’s “failed” test. Which isn’t really a failure at all, as the higher the strength, the better.”

They will now shift up to a 100 tonne ram.