Patti Stouter has devised a new way of reinforcing earthbag walls in seismic regions. Cement mortar is inserted in some joints between bags to lock the barbed wire in place and increase tensile strength. Mortar isn’t needed between every bag, and most likely every course doesn’t need this extra reinforcement. Designers/engineers could strategically place the mortar only where needed. For instance, analysis might lead to reinforcing the joint on each side of each corner and the middle of each wall on a moderate sized house. This system is very efficient — each joint would use just one shovel of mortar. One option is to tie or cinch the lower and upper courses of barbed wire together (only where mortar is being applied) to better embed the wire and increase strength. You could also mound a little extra mortar on top to add additional strength.
Designers and engineers now have another very good technique to add to our ‘tool box’ of reinforcing earthbag buildings — none of which were available or published just a few months ago. Thank you Patti.
Image credit: Patti Stouter