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Sustainability 2011, 3(1), 69-81; doi:10.3390/su3010069
Article

Flooding Effect on Earth Walls

1,* , 1
,
1
 and
2,†
1 School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University, EH14 4AS, Edinburgh, UK 2 Technip, Westhill Industrial Estate, Westhill, Aberdeenshire, AB32 6TQ, UK Formerly Heriot-Watt University, EH14 4AS, Edinburgh, UK.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 November 2010 / Revised: 13 December 2010 / Accepted: 16 December 2010 / Published: 27 December 2010
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Abstract

Earth building is a sustainable, environmentally friendly and economical method of construction that has been used worldwide for many centuries. For the past three decades, earth has seen a revival as a building material for a modern construction method due to its benefits in terms of low carbon content, low cost and energy involved during construction, as well as the fact that it is a sustainable technology of building. Climate change is influencing precipitation levels and patterns around the world, and as a consequence, flood risk is increasing rapidly. When flooding occurs, earth buildings are exposed to water by submersion, causing an increase in the degree of saturation of the earth structures and therefore a decrease of the suction between particles. This study investigated the effect of cycles of flooding (consecutive events of flooding followed by dry periods) on earth walls. A series of characterization tests were carried out to obtain the physical and mechanical properties of the studied earth material. In a second stage, Flooding Simulation Tests (FST) were performed to explore the earth walls’ response to repeated flooding events. The results obtained for the tested earth wall/samples with reinforced material (straw) reveal hydraulic hysteresis when wall/samples are subject to cycles of wetting and drying.
Keywords: flooding; earth walls; laboratory testing flooding; earth walls; laboratory testing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Medero, G.M.; Kennedy, J.H.; Woodward, P.K.; Banimahd, M. Flooding Effect on Earth Walls. Sustainability 2011, 3, 69-81.

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