Courses

I can provide courses on mud brick or rammed earth construction. These courses range from simple ‘how to’ sessions, to full scientific theory and practice. Examples of two recent courses are given below.

Imperial College London 7th February 2009

I gave a course for Engineers without Borders at Imperial College, London as part of their Development Construction weekend. The course taught how to identify the best soils for making mud bricks, how to make and how to test mud bricks, so that the participants would be able to make bricks in a development situation, such as post disaster reconstruction or new construction in developing countries.

The full day course began with a talk on different types of mud brick construction, looking at cob, adobe and rammed earth. We discussed the suitability of mud bricks in construction, and where they are used. I described some of my work on the fundamentals of mud bricks, and where they derive their strength and stiffness.

The second part of the day was a practical, looking at soil selection and mixing. The students divided into groups with each group trying to find a good mixture of sand and clay to make a quality mud brick. We performed some basic tests which could be carried out in the field such as the drop test and field sedimentation.

The third part of the day was consturction and testing of some mud bricks. Once a good soil mix had been found, the optimum water content was determined and the mixture compacted in cube moulds.

Finally, we tested the finished bricks, to see which soil mix was stronger. Some of the bricks were tested on the day, and some two weeks later.

EWB Small is Beautiful Festival September 2010

I gave workshops on mud brick construction at the Engineers without Borders Small is Beautiful festival. The workshops were designed to give a flavour of mud brick construction in developing countries and participants were able to have a go at making their own mud bricks. We used soil from the site, and sieved it to remove the larger particles.  The soil was mixed with water and compacted into mould. The bricks were then left to dry and carefully removed from the moulds, showing how quick and easy it is to make mud bricks.

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