There is increasing interest in the use of earthen construction materials, such as rammed earth, due to their inherent sustainability. These materials have been used by man for thousands of years and some of the earliest examples can be found in China. Features of the structures of these materials arise from the means of production. In particular, in situ earthen construction materials exhibit strong anisotropy due to their layered nature. A more subtle structure effect arises from the way that the earth mixture is deposited. This paper reviews and discusses stratification effects in dry soil mixtures, including some original experimental work, and indicates some links between the features of the dry mixtures and earthen construction materials. Improved understanding of the physical processes in play will allow more accurate specification of these materials in the future, and hence spread their use.
- Rammed earth
- particle size distribution