rammed earth construction, rammed earth walls, agricultural engineering
Rammed earth construction, as a building process, dates far back into history. The knowledge of how to build with this material was brought to America from Europe. There are records of homes and churches in the eastern United States which were built of rammed earth and have stood for more than 100 years. Rammed earth construction is usually associated with a "build it yourself" program of construction in which earth, the building material, costs nothing, and in which the owner provides much of the labor of construction. Led by the Department of Agriculture, many of the state agricultural experiment stations of the Great Plains area constructed test walls and buildings in the 1930's. All stations concerned found that the material could be used, the buildings were substantial, and construction involved much labor. Most of the stations built only one or two small buildings. The South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station constructed five buildings and a number of test walls and protective walls and studied many soil mixtures and combinations. Work continued from 1929 to 1940. The structures have been in use from 20 to 25 years. Additional conclusions, which were not fully realized as early bulletins were published, can now be reported. Inquiries concerning rammed earth construction continue to come from various parts of the United States and foreign countries. This publication reviews briefly the various considerations in using rammed earth as a building material. It gives the physical properties of rammed earth, describes the construction procedures, reviews the characteristics of the finished buildings, and suggests some ways for further mechanizing the process. Favorable and questionable features are discussed to guide those who might consider rammed earth construction for their own building projects.
South Dakota State State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Agricultural Experiment Station
DeLong, H. H., "Rammed Earth Walls" (1959). Agricultural Experiment Station Circulars. 147.