Eco-efficient earth plasters: influence of clay content, sand particle size and support

Abstract

Earth construction, including the use of earth mortars, has been extensively used in the past. However, with the appearance of hydraulic binders, the use of earth strongly decreased for new construction and even to repair old earth buildings, whose best solution would be the use of compatible materials such as earth mortars.

Due to the innumerable advantages of earth and with the growing concern on eco-efficient construction, the interest on earth construction has resurfaced, namely on earth mortars.

In order to optimize the composition of an earth plastering mortar made with a defined clayish earth and two siliceous sands with different particle size, six compositions were assessed. Mortars with different volumetric ratios were applied in two different supports (on the back of a tile and on a brick) and planar specimens were also produced. Distinct characteristics were assessed, such as their visual appearance, shrinkage, surface cohesion, surface hardness, dry abrasion resistance, ultrasonic velocity, adhesive strength and thermal conductivity.

It is possible to conclude that a higher clay content in the earth mortar composition increases the shrinkage and occurrence of cracking, the use of fine sand promotes high mass loss by abrasion, and the same mortar applied in different supports behave differently in terms of durability.

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