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And the bricks are the first that can interlock and accept steel reinforcements for earthquake and hurricane zones. Menu Sign Up. Popular Science. Search Search. By Elbert Chu. Climate Control Because compressed-earth blocks absorb and release heat more slowly than fired bricks, they can keep interiors cooler during the day and warmer at night. Kevin Hand. Vermeer Dwell Earth. Latest Health. Three ways scientists could search for life on Venus. The truth is out there. We just have to go get it.
The exact recipe used to manufacture CEBs will depend on the soil composition of the region. These ingredients are placed in a large concrete batch mixer that spins at revolutions per minute. The more thoroughly the ingredients are mixed, the less need there is for stabilizer. Later, a smaller mixer was used to combine the mortar, which is also stabilized with lime. A tractor removes the earth mixture and places it into a high-pressure hydraulic ram.
They are used around the world and are particularly useful in remote areas. The machines used to build the Villages of Loreto Bay in Mexico made blocks a day and eventually pressed out 2 million lime-stabalized blocks. Oil is also saved because each hydraulic ram machine consumes only about 10 diesel gallons of fuel a day. A standard CEB is 4 inches thick, 14 inches long, and 10 inches wide. Each block weighs about 40 pounds. The fact that compressed earth blocks are uniform in size saves time during the construction process.
They can be stacked with little or no mortar. The plant employed 16 workers: 13 to run the equipment, and three night watchmen. All were local to Loreto, Mexico. Using local materials and hiring local laborers were part of the philosophies behind the building of this community in Loreto Bay.
Hallock uses the United Nations' long held belief in sustainable development, "to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Earth blocks could be used immediately after they are compressed in the high-pressure hydraulic ram.
However, the blocks will shrink slightly as they dry, so they are cured. The Loreto Bay plant had three compression machines at three production stations. At each station, workers set the newly made earth blocks on pallets. The blocks were wrapped tightly in plastic to preserve the moisture. The month-long curing process helps strengthen the blocks.
CEBs can be stacked in a variety of ways. For best adhesion, the masons used thin mortar joints. Hallock recommended using a clay and lime mortar, or slurry , mixed to a milkshake consistency. Working very quickly, the masons apply a thin but complete layer to the lower course of the blocks.