Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dirt Bricks

Here are some Protestants using technology at the service of man. Dirt bricks came out of the environmental movement. But we can see how a basic idea can be developed. Catholic missionaries need to follow their lead on this one. It is basically dirt mixed with cement and pressed to make bricks.

They are very strong. One added feature I have not seen added to this technology before is used here in this application (see video above ). The bricks are molded as to let a mesh of wire hold them in place, WITHOUT cementing them in place. Very clever!! This makes the walls earthquake resistant because it can shake and will not lose strength integrity.

Compressed Earth Block often referred to simply as CEB, is a type of manufactured construction material formed in a mechanical press that forms an appropriate mix of dirt, non-expansive clay, and an aggregate into a compressed block.
Thermal advantages

Due to the enormous mass - these are monolithic walls - CEB has excellent thermal performance, reducing heating and cooling costs.

Thermal testing: From May 31 to June 3, 2004, the Biology Dept. of Southwest Texas Junior College, Del Rio, Texas, conducted tests for thermal change on three structures: concrete block, adobe and compressed earth block.

Results indicate the interior temperature of the adobe and CEB modules were significantly lower than for concrete blocks.

With a maximum ambient temperature of 107 °F (42 °C), the interior temperatures were:
Concrete Module:111 °F (44 °C) (four degrees Fahrenheit above ambient)
Adobe Module: 95 °F (35 °C)
CEB Module: 91 °F (33 °C)

The CEB module was consistently cooler inside than the adobe by approximately 3 degrees.

Other Advantages

The advantages of CEB are in the wait time for material, the elimination of shipping cost, the low moisture content, and the uniformity of the block thereby minimizing, if not eliminating the use of mortar and decreasing both the labor and materials costs.

CEB can be pressed from humid earth. Because it is not wet, the drying time is much shorter. Some soil conditions permit the blocks to go straight from the press onto the wall. A single mechanical press can produce from 800 to over 5,000 blocks per day, enough to build a 1,200 square feet (110 m2) house in one day. The Liberator, a high performance, open source CEB press, can produce from 8,000 to over 17,000 blocks per day.

Shipping cost: Suitable soils are often available at or near the construction site. Adobe and CEB are of similar weight, but distance from a source supply gives CEB an advantage. Also, CEB can be made available in places where adobe manufacturing operations are non-existent.

Uniformity: CEB can be manufactured to a predictable size and has true flat sides and 90-degree angle edges. This makes design and costing easier. This also provides the contractor the option of making the exteriors look like conventional stucco houses.

Non-toxic: materials are completely natural and do not out-gas toxic chemicals

Sound resistant: an important feature in high-density neighborhoods, residential areas adjacent to industrial zones

Fire resistant: earthen walls do not burn

Insect resistant: the walls are solid and very dense, discouraging insects

Mold resistant: there is no cellulose material - such as in wood, Oriented Strand Board or drywall - that can host mold