[Strawbale]RE: Testing loadbearing straw bale structures
mennohoutstra at yahoo...
Sat Sep 11 19:07:58 CEST 2004
Thank you for this interesting discussion!
Me too, I have a until now (still) a strong preference
for my building plans
in the south of France to depend on the strawbales for
capacity, with the argument that in France the wood
rare/expensive. The option of stone pillars is
attractive, but requires
cement or large cubic stones that are also
expensive/rare/requires a lot of
skills to build.
At the same time it is our mission (or at least I
presume of a large
percentage of the members of this platform) to
convince the conventional
builders/designers to make more use of the advantages
of straw. In this
respect I found the argument interesting to introduce
a test building phase
for the local specific conditions and preferences. In
this way, instead of
standardizing the material, the procedure to build
could be formalised!
In that case a general research should demonstrate
until what extent we can
"upscale" the findings of a small test-building! Or
would this also depend
on too many parameters???
Variables may include type of straw (wheat, rice
length, straw moisture content, straw density, type of
sisal, twine, polypropylene etc.), number of bindings
(2,3), bale size, bale
orientation (flat, on edge), construction bond
(running bond, etc.), wall
even-ness and plumb, pinning (material, method and
placement - if any), mesh
(type, gauge and placement (if any), render
(materials, material mix,
thickness, consistency, setting conditions, curing
conditions, quality of bond, skill of application,
number of coats, method
of application - hand, pump, spray), wall layout
(unsupported wall length),
number and placement of penetrations, bracings (if
any), buttresses (if
any), strappings (if any), top plate and bottom plate
design etc.,etc. etc..
Little wonder that structural engineers throw up their
hands in horror,
commercial builders turn away and architects opt for
The only option seems to be to select your preferred
construction method, build a sample and test it -which
is exactly what Dirk
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