Durability of Compressed Earth Bricks: Assessing Erosion Resistance Using the Modified Spray Testing
The discussion in this paper is part of research directed at establishing optimal stabilization strategy for compressed bricks. The deployment context for the use of the compressed bricks was Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) where manually fabricated bricks are increasingly being used in low cost housing units. This discussion specifically focuses on strategies that can be used to counter deterioration due to wind-driven rain erosion. The impact of using cement, lime, fiber and a commercial stabilizing fluid was assessed. Factory-produced bricks were used for benchmarking. The durability of the bricks was assessed using the “modified” Bulletin 5 Spray Test. The different brick specimens were sprayed with water at 2.07 MPa and 4.14 MPa over one-hour time period while measuring the depth of erosion every 15 minutes. Factory-produced bricks hardly eroded at both 2.07 MPa and 4.14 MPa pressure levels. The maximum depth of erosion for Soil-Cement bricks ranged from a maximum of 0.5 mm at 2.07 MPa water pressure to 0.8 mm at 4.14 MPa. The maximum and minimum depths of erosion for Soil-Cement-Lime bricks were 25mm and 17 mm respectively. The inclusion of natural fiber in the bricks resulted in a sharp increase of the erosion depth to a maximum of 40 mm at 2.07 MPa and 55 mm at 4.14 Mpa. As the use of natural fibers and lime enhances some physio-mechanical properties, further research is necessary to determine ways of achieving this goal while maintaining acceptable levels of erosion resistance.
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