[Strawbale]Testing loadbearing straw bale structures ++ Need HELP for conception ++ Questions at the end

huffnpuff huffnpuff at shoal....au
Mon Sep 13 00:48:46 CEST 2004

G 'day Chris and Dirk

Just a quick response to the load bearing issue that Dirk has raised 
after 1.5 hours of writing!

I tend to agree with your view that there are so many variables to 
consider when comparing test results from different countries as well as 
the other many variables found in a bale of straw.

Having said that I note with interest that the bales that Dirk is 
looking at are 850mm or 85cm wide.  We have used the same size bales on 
their flat 900mm or 90 cm wide and 850mm or 85 cms high.  We used these 
bales in a load bearing winery 4.450 metres high or 5 bales high.  The 
spans in both buildings that make up the winery were 10m using a timber 
truss frame roof with corrugated iron cladding.  It is now 3.5 years old 
and apart from some minor cracking in the cement render there have been 
zero problems.

See: http://strawbale.archinet.com.au/Monicas.htm

Our engineer had no problems in issuing a certificate of compliance with 
our Australian Building Code for this load bearing winery.  We are about 
to build another smaller version of this winery in Victoria also load 
bearing.  Following this building we will be building our own large 
shed/factory using the smaller version of jumbo bale this time 3 high on 
edge.  The size of the bales are 2.4m long x 900mm high x 600mm wide. 
 The bales will be load bearing on edge with an earthen/lime render. 
 The walls will be 3.6 metres high i.e. 3 bales high.

Personally speaking we have now built 4 jumbo bale building two of which 
are load bearing and two are in-fill. I like the method and I love the 
size of bales.  The two homes that we have built using jumbo bales are 
stunning examples of what these bales can achieve for our clients and I 
have no problems using them in a load bearing structure even in a wet 
climate like Ballarat in Victoria.

I do not have the time to write for 1.5 hours these days but if you need 
pictures of our latest jumbo bale home please write to me off list and I 
will send you a photo or two. Hopefully I can upload the pics on our web 
site one day soon.

In summary I feel that the jumbo bales offer a more uniform bale no 
matter which cereal straw is used.  I have even seen jumbo sugar cane 
residue straw bales which were very solid and we are looking at these 
for Fiji.

How much testing do we need to do?  Most of the balers are made by three 
or four manufacturers mainly in the USA i.e. International, Massey 
Ferguson, New Holand and John Deere.  The quality of the bale then 
depends on the conditions at baling including the length and strength of 
the stubble and the operator.  How you maintain a standard under these 
variables is the hard question. However the jumbo bales seem to maintain 
a consistencey of strength and compression as the jumbo balers are 
infinatley better than the small balers.

Kind regards John Glassford aka The Straw Wolf
61 2 6927 6027

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