This research is a materiality study of a vernacular type of construction used for centuries called rammed earth, where soil is compressed to form a structurally strong, insulating and fundamentally beautiful building elements. This specific research will study how linseed oil and cow's blood stabilize and strengthen a Kansas silty loam soil.
Rammed earth is a solution for sustainable construction for it's low embodied energy, low toxicity, recyclability, renewability, and compressive strength. This specific research expands developing knowledge on sustainable stabilization to improve the compressive strength and moisture resistance of earth. A series of tests to find the optimum moisture content and to classify the soil preluded the process of ramming. Then cylinders were crushed to calculate the strength, and washed with water to find the moisture resistance.
I was asked to present this research at the Materials Education Symposium this March.
Other research I have been involved with in this area included testing microorganisms, where chemical waste of the organisms helps strengthen the soil. This research was published in the journal Earthen Architecture, Past, Present and Future