Fabric Reinforcement for Improved Toughness of Adobe Block Wall Systems
This paper investigates an inexpensive but potentially very effective reinforcement method for adobe block wall systems. Reinforcing fabric materials were embedded in the mortar between each layer of blocks to provide a barrier against the propagation of the dominant diagonal cracks which are commonly observed in adobe walls after a seismic event, and are largely responsible for the collapse of adobe structures. The effectiveness of the reinforcing materials in resisting and arresting cracks was investigated in splitting tension tests. Reinforced and unreinforced adobe walls were fabricated and tested in diagonal compression to simulate the transfer of shear due to lateral forces. Felt fabric reinforcement was found to provide the greatest physical deformation of the wall sample and greatest dissipation of energy while maintaining acceptable load-bearing capacity. The final displacement of the reinforced sample was found to be nearly three times that of the unreinforced control specimen. A secondary motivation for this investigation was to address the need for such engineering solutions to be highly affordable to those most likely to build with adobe block. Earthquakes have ravaged many regions of the world, and while advancements in engineering and life-safety codes have resulted in significant improvements in performance of modern structures, we must also seek out methods by which traditional building systems, which continue to house large numbers of people, can withstand the scrutiny of modern safety criteria. Further investigations are encouraged to determine location-specific solutions with this goal in mind.
Prof. Khosrow Ghavami, Normando Perazzo Barbosa and Alexandr Zhemchuzhnikov
H. M. Böttger and C. Ostertag, "Fabric Reinforcement for Improved Toughness of Adobe Block Wall Systems", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 600, pp. 156-165, 2014