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Bionic Soil: Turn Soil to Stone — 17 Comments

  1. We have very sandy soil with. We wish to build a single storey house with a basement and root cellar off of the basement. Do we need to bring in clY or cement to mix with our sandy soil? We live in eastern Wyoming.

    • It sounds like you are thinking of making your house with earthbags; if so, it is generally better to add some clay, lime or cement to very sandy soil to make it more stable. In Wyoming you will also need to insulate your house (on the outside) or possibly fill the bags themselves with insulating material to keep the house efficient and comfortable.

  2. Turning soil into rock cannot be achieved by simply adding and compacting the materials referred to in this article. There is no such acceptable term as ‘lithification’ within the highway or road construction community…except by the individuals selling this material and providing both its installation and the data supporting its ‘amazing transformation’ of soil to rock. This entire process is not based in good science and is not supported by either chemistry or geology and in fact,is very unlikely to be effective in road remediation or stabilisation.

  3. Wow, that’s really neat! Is it possible that some version of this could be used to stabilize a particular soil aggregate for a bond beam, as a replacement to poured concrete? Are there any other EB-house-construction uses we might be able to use this kind of highly stabilized soil for?

    • I doubt if it’s strong enough for a bond beam unless you have a low value structure like a cabin in the desert where there are no earthquakes, high wind or other loads. It’s all experimental at this point. I’m sure you could find lots of uses for this material — pavers, etc.

      • Ahh, okay, that makes sense. I am very interested in finding an alternative to the poured concrete bond beam (and would like to not use any portland cement at all in our building), but haven’t managed to track down anything online yet. I saw your post about using corrugated metal three courses below the top bag run, with the top three bags tied together, as a replacement for a bond beam. I’m not sure how I’d pull that off in a cylindrical structure, though (since corrugated metal doesn’t curve, I don’t think). It might also be too experimental at this point to rely upon. Any thoughts on a tested alternative bond beam? I could post this question elsewhere, too, if this isn’t the best place. Thanks!

        • For non-code areas you could use a timber bond beam made in sections. Use overlapping joints (half laps) and spike it into the bags at least 3′.

  4. Can this substance be used to make an underground structure? Something with a ceiling that is 6 feet or more below ground level? I would like to build a house with a small basement and a cistern below even that.

    • Yes. Keep reading our sites. Round is the best shape for underground structures. This is not recommend in rainy climates.

  5. I have some of this that I will be testing this season. A small correction, it’s not bacteria, it’s an enzyme. And technically, it could be produced at home, very similar to brewing beer, but then you have to concentrate it.

    If folks search for “road enzymes” they will find lots of information about this class of products.

    I think they have a lot of potential in building, from stabilizing adobe or earth blocks to an earthbag or hyperadobe that doesn’t even need plaster. That would save significant cost and labor.

      • I don’t have the same brand, because they wouldn’t sell me a small amount for testing. I believe the smallest amount Bionic would sell was 5 gallons.

        From their previous literature, I assumed it was an enzyme, though it is never said.

        Maybe it is different, I kinda think it’s probably the same.

        • Their website explains how their product using lithification. It sounds different. Hopefully somebody can look into this and report back.

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