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Earth Block and Earthbag Testing — 2 Comments

  1. Great to see some performance information, even when done in an informal way. It would be helpful to have an idea of the proportions of fiber and earth in the different blocks. And it would be helpful to have some information about the clay used- how it performed in some sort of ribbon test and hardness test.
    Owen: Please refer to my YouTube videos that show the exact proportions and techniques. The clay soil is the same material used to make CEBs. We also used it for our earthen plaster. Works great for everything.

    Last on my probably impossible list is to hear how much extra time these different materials took to mix and place in bags. Even a guess at this point can be helpful. The mesh tubes and bags will throw earthbag wide open for adding fibers if the mixing can be done in an efficient way.
    Owen: Fiber isn’t needed in earthbags in most cases. Adding fiber is one more step that will slow you down, and so I wouldn’t use it unless there’s an important reason. One option is to use straw that’s already been cut short so you don’t to cut it manually. Straw bale builders prefer long straw, but some machinery cuts it short — about 5″-8″.

    Fiber in clay blocks can be important for insulation in many climates. But often damper clay is used when combining fibers. Did any of these seem lighter when formed than ordinary subsoil earthbags?
    Owen: Yes, the fiber blocks are slightly lighter weight. But to really make a noticeable difference I made samples with extra vetiver, but unfortunately they didn’t pass the drop test. But keep in mind they had been sitting around for about 5-6 months. They’re the same samples used in the termite test.

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