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Hygro-mechanical characterisation of hypercompacted earth for building construction

Abstract : The present work explores the hygro-mechanical behaviour of a raw earth material and investigates different stabilisation techniques to improve the durability of the material against water erosion. An extensive campaign of laboratory tests was performed on both unstabilised and stabilised materials at two different scales: small cylindrical samples and large bricks. An innovative manufacturing method based on the application of very high compaction pressures (hypercompaction) was proposed. Also, the compaction load was maintained constant for a sufficient period of time to allow soil consolidation. The main objective was to increase material density, thus improving mechanical performance. Samples compacted with the proposed method exhibited a dry density of about 2320 kg/m3, which is the highest value registered in the literature for an unstabilised earthen material. The effect of the compaction pressure on the material fabric was assessed by means of mercury intrusion porosimetry and nitrogen adsorption tests. Results showed that the increase of compaction pressure reduced material porosity with major effects on large inter-aggregate pores. On the contrary, small intra-aggregate pores were not affected by the mechanical compaction. Mechanical tests were then performed to measure stiffness and strength of both unstabilised and stabilised samples. These tests demonstrated that hypercompaction can largely improve the mechanical response of the material over conventional manufacturing methods. Hypercompacted bricks showed a compressive strength comparable with that of traditional building materials, such as stabilised compressed earth and fired bricks. The hygroscopic behaviour of both unstabilised and stabilised samples was investigated. The capacity of the samples to absorb/release water vapour was assessed by measuring their moisture buffering value (MBV). Results showed that unstabilised earth has an excellent capacity to buffer ambient humidity. This capacity was significantly reduced by the different stabilisation techniques tested in the present work. Finally, the durability against water erosion of both unstabilised and stabilised bricks was assessed by performing different tests prescribed by the norm DIN 18945 (2013). Stabilised bricks exhibited a higher resistance against water erosion compared to unstabilised bricks. Still, these materials cannot be adopted for structural applications exposed to natural weathering as indicated by the norm DIN 18945 (2013). Therefore, further investigation is required to identify novel stabilisation methods that can balance the needs of sustainability, durability, moisture buffering and mechanical performance.
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Submitted on : Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 6:39:01 PM
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Agostino Walter Bruno thesis 2...
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  • HAL Id : tel-02366888, version 1



Agostino Walter Bruno, Domenico Gallipoli, Agostino Walter Bruno. Hygro-mechanical characterisation of hypercompacted earth for building construction. Construction durable. Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour - Laboratoire SIAME, 2016. English. ⟨tel-02366888⟩



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