Our paper is about to be published in Geotechnique, a leading geotechncial engineering journal, and is now available as an ‘ahead of print’ copy.
Rammed earth is a manufactured material comprising sand, gravel and clay, which is compacted between forms to build walls. Primarily a historic method of construction, it is now receiving considerable interest worldwide owing to its zero reliance on materials such as cement, and its potential for recycling. Despite its longevity, the source of its shear strength is poorly understood. This paper presents initial laboratory test results that point to the main source of strength in rammed earth being suction, and indicating that recent advances in unsaturated soil mechanics may also be applied to this material.