Earthen Masonry for High Wind Regions

Esther Obonyo, assistant professor of building construction, presented a lecture titled Engineered Earthen Masonry for High Wind Regions.”

Obonyo discussed her collaborative research, which aims to experimentally and theoretically quantify the structural resilience of a novel fiber reinforced earthen masonry system for dwellings in high wind regions. This goal will be achieved by engineering and prototyping stabilized earth blocks and mortar, both of which are enhanced through the addition of natural fibers, and verifying the structural response of full-scale walls through physical testing, she said.

Engineering of the mortar and blocks will be based on two criteria, namely: optimization of the amount of stabilizer and fibers, and compatibility of block and mortar where the target strengths are defined to force failure in the mortar joints. Engineering of the wall system will be based on the formulation and verification of interaction laws between applicable in-plane and out-of-plane forces.

The outcome will be a prototype block and mortar combination. The verification of the selected system will be based on proof-tests of full-scale wall specimens under in-plane, out-of-plane, and pendulum impact load simulating the impact energy of representative flying debris, which typically cause most human deaths and injuries.

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