Here’s the latest from Patti.
“People building with trash have relied on bottles filled with sand or adobe or film plastics to provide strength in infill walls. They have needed either cement mortar or chicken wire to hold the walls together. Some good info on previous projects is at:
Because of the strength of the mesh I’ve been given, softer trash can be used and chicken wire is not necessary. If you firmly stuff #5 and #6 small containers (yogurt cups, scraps of everything else) into an 8 inch diameter wattle it becomes slightly springy but pretty firm. I also used wattles filled only with foam- which ends up a little softer. I alternated hard trash wattles with foam wattles in a row.
I made 5 tubes each 4′ 6″ long and sewed one edge to the next tube at top and bottom quarters. Then I turned the tubes over so the sewed edge was on the floor, and used a sticky clay plaster with straw for fiber to fill the nooks left between tubes. On that I added enough light clay plaster (like straw clay, but with a slightly stickier/ thicker clay slip) to level the surface out. The clay plaster seems to adhere well to the mesh. This is a strong black UV resistant mesh from Master Net Limited (of Canada). A small order would cost 9 cents per foot including shipping. Smaller 6″ diameter mesh could cost about 5 cents per foot and might result in slightly lighter panels.
I find I can lean this wall panel upright pretty well. When several tubes are attached together they brace each other somewhat. It is conceivable that bundles of 3 smaller tubes could be used as piers to stiffen a wall surface. With a cast cement or poured adobe base, this material could be made into panels that could be easily stood up and fastened into a structural framework. Pre-sewing and doing infill plastering seems to make it easier to keep the material flush and make a neat wall. There may be a chance that fully plastered on two sides with lime plaster and/ or cement stucco these wattle portions will become strong or stiff enough to function as bearing wall in a small building. It could be that like foam core, although the interior is not terribly strong or stiff, it can brace two exterior skins. But it can certainly make a good infill wall.
I’m thinking about piers of Harvey’s Ubuntu-blox with my vertical trash wattle panels between. This wall would be flood-resistant, have a decent R-value, light enough to weather earthquakes well, and be very inexpensive. I really want to make a dent in that Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I know others do too. So let’s stop feeding it and start using it for shelter.”
Please support us in our quest of promoting low cost sustainable housing for the world’s poor by voting in the $300 House design contest. Patti has a very real shot at winning this. Her project is Hyper-wattle on Rubble Bags.
Patti’s web page has photos and more details.
[Note: Max Bldg., who’s been causing so many problems in the contest (see blog post below about vote stuffing), is still up to his dirty tricks. Let’s hope the jurors adjust the ratings again to compensate for the fraud. But just to be sure, please vote if you have a chance.]