stabilised and unstabilised rammed earth
During 2002/2003 Mark Lovell Design Engineers were involved in a DTI research project which set out to develop guidlines for the use of Rammed Earth in the UK. The project involved a number of partners including Bath University, Insitu Rammed Earth, Engineers Haskins Robinson Waters, CADRE Architects, Owens Corning Alcopor UK Ltd & Day Contracting. The resulting report primarily focused on the properties of natural (unstabilized) rammed earth.
Rammed earth walls, are constructed by placing damp soil into forms commonly made of plywood held together by a system of clamps and whalers. The soil is then compacted using manual, pneumatic or other rammers. Though published estimates typically vary between 25% to over 50%, it is clear that a significant proportion of the world's population continue to live in dwellings built from unbaked subsoils although their use in the UK remains scarce.
MLDE have since been invloved in anumber of construction projects utilising both Unstabilised and Stabilised Rammed Earth as Structural Load-Bearing Elements. For example, unstabilised Rammed Chalk, excavated on site, was utilised in the construction of Sheepdrove Biodiversity Centre.
Insulated Rammed Earth walls
Cement stabilised rammed earth
Rammed earth cylinder sample
Rammed chalk
Rammed chalk during laboratory test