An opportunity to get your hands dirty exploring a system of block-making common within the African continent.
The stabilized soil system (S3) will explore the design, prototyping, and testing of stabilized soil blocks using an Aurum Press 3000 - a manually operated, high compaction block press. Stabilized Soil Blocks (SSB) are building blocks made from ordinary clay soils mixed with a small quantity of Portland cement, and then highly compacted in a block press resulting in a very solid, dense, and low cost building system. Stabilization is the treatment given to the soil to improve its strength and its vulnerability to water. The student team will iteratively work through hands-on prototyping and destructive testing to arrive at the recipe that includes the correct amount of stabilizer, water, compaction force, and cure time.
When appropriately designed, SSB’s are an environmentally appropriate solution that utilizes material directly from the earth. This technology is ideal for remote regions where mass-produced building material manufacture and distribution is not readily available. In addition, they are 50% more economically when compared to other conventional walling systems, while their technical performance is the same.
A full-scale demonstration prototype of between 90-110 Stabilized Soil Blocks is to be constructed in the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART) Fabrication Factory, part of the SMART Community of Excellence, in 56 Farber Hall. All technical data and testing results will be archived in a digital pamphlet that will be shared with our NGO partner in Tanzania.
|Length of commitment||Less than a semester; 1-2 months|
|Start time||Fall 2021|
|In-person, remote, or hybrid? ||In-person|
|Level of collaboration||Large group collaboration (4+ students)|
|Benefits||Research experience, global collaboration, possible stipend|
|Who is eligible||All undergraduate students|
Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase.