Flooding Effect on Earth Walls
Earth building is a sustainable, environmentally friendly and economical method of construction that has been used worldwide for many centuries. For the past three decades, earth has seen a revival as a building material for a modern construction method due to its benefits in terms of low carbon content, low cost and energy involved during construction, as well as the fact that it is a sustainable technology of building. Climate change is influencing precipitation levels and patterns around the world, and as a consequence, flood risk is increasing rapidly. When flooding occurs, earth buildings are exposed to water by submersion, causing an increase in the degree of saturation of the earth structures and therefore a decrease of the suction between particles. This study investigated the effect of cycles of flooding (consecutive events of flooding followed by dry periods) on earth walls. A series of characterization tests were carried out to obtain the physical and mechanical properties of the studied earth material. In a second stage, Flooding Simulation Tests (FST) were performed to explore the earth walls’ response to repeated flooding events. The results obtained for the tested earth wall/samples with reinforced material (straw) reveal hydraulic hysteresis when wall/samples are subject to cycles of wetting and drying.
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