# Feasibility and Application of Local Closed-Loop Materials to Produce Compressed and Stabilized Earth Blocks

^{1}

^{2}

^{3}

^{*}

## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

_{2}emissions related to energy production have decreased to below 2005 levels throughout the U.S., thanks to the expansion of the electric grid, improved equipment efficiency, and increased generation of emission-neutral energy, the total energy-related CO

_{2}emissions in 2022 were in the order of 5 billion metric tons (MTm) [6].

_{2}is one of the main greenhouse gases, the increase in its emissions leads us to expect greater negative effects in general [8].

_{2}than traditional oven-fired blocks [11]. It has been established that it is possible to build homes with CSEBs that can withstand the wind loads of category 5 hurricanes and even EF3 tornadoes [12].

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Aggregates and Stabilizers

- Stiff clay soil (SCS);
- Spill way dirt (SWD).

- Mississippi River sand (MRS).
- Recycled glass (R-G) sand, from a mix of colored bottles and jars.
- Construction demolition waste (CDW), originating from demolished structures, construction waste, and other sources of crushed concrete.
- Pea gravel (PG), small stones of rounded and smooth edges as a result of natural weathering.
- Limestone (LS) # 8 is a sedimentary material with angular edges.
- High calcium hydrated lime (Lime), tradename Lhoist, has a composition of >90% calcium hydroxide (CAS# 1305-62-0), <3% magnesium oxide (CAS# 1309-48-4), and <2% crystalline silica (CAS# 14808-60-7) with an apparent density of 400–700 kg/m
^{3}. Figure 1 shows the aggregates and the stabilizer used.

#### 2.2. Characterization of Aggregates

^{3}with 12.05% and 2174 kg/cm

^{3}with 13.2%, respectively. The average value of these densities is 14% higher than the average densities reported in a previous study using five types of soils [43]. In the aforementioned research, mean densities between 1820 and 1980 kg/cm

^{3}were obtained, while their humidity was in a similar range (11.25 and 15.2%) [43]. In another study, a density of 1680 kg/cm

^{3}was established with a 28% higher average soil density than 9% of the soil in this study, coinciding with the SCS soil [44]. Finally, in the third study of natural dredged sediments, the density ranged from 1515 to 1665 kg/cm

^{3}, but in this case the moisture range was 23.5 to 27%; the average is twice as high as the average for SCS and SWD soils [45]. In this study, a compiled table—from six different citations—is presented, showing the recommended values of these properties for Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) [45], and establishing the global density range between 1631 to 2345 kg/cm

^{3}and from 5 to 19% for humidity. SCS and SWD soils are within these limits. Figure 3 shows the results with polynomial trend lines, as well as the respective equations and values of the correlation coefficient (R

^{2}).

#### 2.3. Matrix Design

#### 2.4. Experimental Campaign

#### Mixing

^{®}brand non-slip steel platform, measuring 30.5 × 31.8 cm, with a capacity of 68 kg and an accuracy of 0.09 kg.

#### 2.5. Compressed Earth Block Making Machine

_{0}is defined as the condition of the mixture in the mold before the compressive force is applied, T

_{1}when the CSEB comes out of the mold, and T

_{2}at the end of the curing period.

#### 2.5.1. Curing

_{2}.

#### 2.5.2. Weight and Dimensions

_{2}.

#### 2.5.3. Compression Resistance Test

#### 2.5.4. Absorption Coefficient

_{(10)}). The test procedure applied was the combination of the provisions of the regulations NMX-C-037-ONNCCE-2013 [74], UNE 41410:2008 [75], and XP P 13-901-2001 [76]. The first two standards do not establish an acceptable upper limit, only indicating that it is prescriptive to report the value obtained from this test. However, in the case of the third regulation, it is specified that this property will not be taken into consideration for blocks intended for a dry environment. For blocks to be used on exterior walls, two limits are established: Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}≤ 20 g/(cm

^{2}× min

^{0.5}) for blocks classified as low capillarity and Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}≤ 40 g/(cm

^{2}× min

^{0.5}) for blocks classified as medium capillary. Figure 11 presents the configuration diagram of this applied test, as also indicated in the three standards cited.

## 3. Results

#### 3.1. CSEB Linear Dimensions

_{2}matrix ranged from 10.58 to 12.12 cm, obtaining an overall average of 11.34 cm for all the study matrices. The average outlet height before molding (T

_{0}) as a function of the apparent weight of each mixture was the same, due to volumetric dosing. Figure 13 shows the height prior to compression by the machine, then T

_{1}and T

_{2}. The change in height before and after matrix curing was not significant (the coefficient of variation of average heights was 0.05 for both T

_{1}and T

_{2}).

#### 3.2. CSEB Weight

_{2}ranged from 8.56 to 10.10 kg, reaching an overall average of all the study mixtures equal to 9.21 kg. The R-G10 batch had the least change, losing 6% of weight during the curing process, while the CDW10 had the greatest change, losing 11.4%.

_{1}, matrix B had a decrease of 0.9 kg when increasing from 5 to 10% of lime and of 0.27 kg when going from 10 to 15%. The R-G matrix showed a decrease of 0.54 kg by increasing the lime from 5 to 10%, compared with an increase of 0.43 kg for 10 to 15% of lime. The CDW matrix behaved similarly, with a decrease of 0.25 kg when going from 5 to 10% of lime and an increase of 0.63 kg when increasing from 10 to 15% of lime. Finally, the R-GCDW matrix differs from the previous three because first there was an increase of 0.53 kg when going from 5 to 10% of lime, followed by a decrease of 0.15 kg when using 10 to 15% of lime.

_{2}, all the matrices behaved the same as at T

_{1}, except that the values varied, as can be noted in Figure 14. This shows the average weight of the specimens by type of study matrix and its three batches at T

_{1}and T

_{2}; likewise, the graph shows the percentage variation of the change in weight of the specimens on the secondary axis.

_{1}to T

_{2}.

#### 3.3. CSEB Volume

_{2}ranged from 4752 cm

^{3}to 5447 cm

^{3}, reaching a global average of 5094 cm

^{3}for all matrices. For this determination, the measured dimensions were used (averaged for each batch). The volumetric variation from one matrix to another presents a greater difference compared to the weights; however, the variation expressed as a percentage is smaller, ranging from −3% to 1%.

_{1}, for each matrix and its batches, matrix B showed a decrease of 448 cm

^{3}by increasing lime from 5 to 10% and of 254 cm

^{3}by going from 10 to 15%. For the R-G matrix, there is a decrease of 344 cm

^{3}when increasing lime from 5 to 10% but an increase of 321 cm

^{3}when going from 10 to 15% lime. The CDW matrix behaved similarly, with a decrease of 41 cm

^{3}from 5 to 10% lime and an increase of 451 cm

^{3}from 10 to 15% lime. Finally, the R-GCDW matrix differs from the previous three as in both lime increases the volume also shows an increase; first of 515 cm

^{3}when going from 5 to 10% and then of 11 cm

^{3}when going from 10 to 15% of lime.

_{2}, all the matrices behaved the same as at T

_{1}, except that the values varied, as can be observed in Figure 15, which shows the volume averages for T

_{1}and T

_{2}, with the graph showing the percentage change in specimen volumes on the secondary axis.

#### 3.4. CSEB Density

_{2}was from 1736 to 1887 kg/m

^{3}, with an overall average of 1810 kg/m

^{3}. The base matrices B5, B10, and B15, as a matrix group, were denser after demolding and curing compared to the rest of the matrices.

_{1}, for each matrix and its batches, matrix B had an increase of 1.9 kg/m

^{3}by increasing from 5 to 10% of lime and of 50.0 kg/m

^{3}by going from 10 to 15%. On the contrary, for the R-G matrix, there is an increase of 24.5 kg/m

^{3}when the lime is changed from 5 to 10% but a decrease of 37.8 kg/m

^{3}when the lime is increased from 10 to 15%. The CDW matrix differs from the other two as it shows a decrease of 35.3 kg/m

^{3}when going from 5 to 10% of lime and of 48.5 kg/m

^{3}when increasing from 10 to 15% of lime. Finally, the R-GCDW matrix behaves similarly to the previous one, with a decrease of 91.0 kg/m

^{3}when going from 5 to 10% lime and of 31.2 kg/m

^{3}when going from 10 to 15% lime.

_{2}, the decrease of 1.3% in matrix B would be considered negligible; it could also be said that the behaviors were the same, only with changes in the values. This can be noted in Figure 16, which shows the average density values of all the matrices studied and the percentage change.

#### 3.5. CSEB Compression Resistance Test

^{2}.

^{2}correlation coefficients. This makes it possible to predict linear behaviors between the different variables of replacement contents of the materials in each study matrix, simply established predictive behaviors. In the case of the CDW matrix, a square-type adjustment is necessary to achieve an adjusted R

^{2}. This shows that in this matrix there is a change in the behavior between the variables of the studied batches, with the existence of a “hidden” variable not identified in the experimental campaign, which means the predictive behavior is not easily established. Although it is true, the scalar constant term of the variable in the second order is reduced (−0.008x

^{2}), which indicates that the unidentified effect has an impact on the behavior of the low variables, also denoted in the curve with a reduced slope.

#### 3.6. Initial Absorption Coefficient (Capillarity) for the CSEBs under Study

_{(10)}(always in units of g/(cm

^{2}× min

^{0.5})) decreased directly with the increase in lime concentration: B5 = 57.7, B10 = 32.75, and B15 = 14.7. In the case of R-G, the Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}is also inverse to the increase in lime concentration: R-G5 = 36.6, R-G10 = 30.5, and R-G15 = 21.4. Regarding the CWD matrix, the Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}in the three batches studied continued to show similar values: CDW5 = 13.6, CDW10 = 12.7, and CDW15 = 13.1 (with 10% lime being the lowest). Similarly, the same trend of results was established for the R-GCDW matrix: R-GCDW5 = 19.45, R-GCDW10 = 20.9, R-GCDW15 = 18.45, although in this matrix the concentration of 10% lime reached the maximum value. In a previous study, matrices similar to those studied here (but with fiber additions of 1 to 20%) established average values of the Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}equal to 26 (in a range of variation from 29 to 59) [85].

_{(10)}for each matrix in relation to the percentage of lime included in each batch.

^{2}correlation coefficients with respect to the lime content used in each matrix. As in the compressive strength property, the CDW matrix for the Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}property shows behavior that requires quadratic fitting—consistency between the properties of the same matrix results. However, the R-GCDW matrix for this property, Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}, has required a quadratic fit resembling the CDW matrix (but with a negative sign).

## 4. Discussion

^{3}). Since the initial volume was the same for all units, the variation in the weight of the units is determined by the variation in the composition of the specimens and the rheology inherent in each batch of the matrices.

^{3}, while the smallest average volume was established for batch B15 with 4809 cm

^{3}. This implies that the remaining batches and matrices of this study established average values of volumes among them. In previous studies, it has been reported that the compressibility of materials is directly related to the forces that occur between particles of various types [88]. When it is indicated that the particle size of the aggregates in each matrix batch is also inherent in the associations between the particles, it is feasible to think that some of these associations may be a consequence of the so-called “balling” effect (the formation of almost spherical granules by rotating moistened particles) [89]. This was not within the initial objectives or scope of this research as a parameter that would explain the behavior of the different batches and mixtures, and therefore there is no formal determination of the scope of this effect. However, it appears that reporting this observation is important for showing the source of the particle sizes that affect dosage. In Figure 8, a different granularity can be observed in each of the photographed blocks (also known as surface heterogeneity) [55].

_{(10)}, the increase in lime causes a decrease in the coefficient in three batches of the matrices studied: B15, R-G15, and R-GCDW15. For the CDW matrix, lot CDW10 obtained the lowest coefficient, but for the three batches of this matrix, including CDW10, the values of the Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}obtained a standard deviation of 0.45 with an average of 13 g/(cm

^{2}× min

^{0.5}). Consequently, it is possible that the same condition of the distribution of particle sizes (after mixing) affects the result, and in this case aspects such as pore size and surface open porosity are important for the Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}. Therefore, it would depend on this distribution of particle sizes and the resulting pore size and surface accessibility, which affect water retention [81].

_{(10)}, two batches of the CDW matrix are the best performing: CDW10 and CDW15, respectively. The rest of the study matrices, with the exception of batch B5, manage to satisfy the limits established by the reference regulations. It is necessary to show that there is a clear inverse correlation between the results of both tests: simple compressive strengths with high values produce low Int Abs Coeff

_{(10)}, and in both cases the density of the materials seems to be the link that connects them. Figure 19 shows the classification and order obtained for the study batches, a green rectangle with a dashed line indicating the batches that manage to meet the regulations, and a black rectangle showing the best/worst positioned batches with respect to the hierarchical order achieved in the tests.

## 5. Conclusions

_{(10)}.

_{(10)}and compressive strength are better with a lime content equal to 15% (maximum content specified by NMX-508 [53]), the improvement in these properties may not justify the extra 50% of stabilizer.

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Informed Consent Statement

## Data Availability Statement

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

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**Figure 2.**Particle size distribution of aggregates and ideal reference soil and their finesse module.

**Figure 8.**CSEB, one specimen per batch of the four matrices at T

_{2}, for size reference, the ruler has a total length of 30 cm.

**Figure 12.**Linear tolerances, original drawing inspired by SI: 1077:1997 [80].

Material (%) | Base Mix River Sand | Sand Replacement | Sand and Stone Replacement | Secondary Materials (R-G and CDW) | ||||||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

B5 | B10 | B15 | R-G5 | R-G10 | R-G15 | CDW5 | CDW10 | CDW15 | R-GCDW5 | R-GCDW10 | R-GCDW15 | |

Lime | 5 | 10 | 15 | 5 | 10 | 15 | 5 | 10 | 15 | 5 | 10 | 15 |

Water | 10 | 9 | 11 | 9 | 9 | 11 | 14 | 15 | 14 | 12 | 12 | 13 |

SCS | 16 | 16 | 15 | 17 | 17 | 15 | 21 | 19 | 17 | 23 | 20 | 18 |

SWD | 16 | 16 | 15 | 17 | 17 | 15 | 21 | 19 | 17 | 23 | 20 | 18 |

MRS | 38 | 36 | 31 | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - |

R-G | - | - | - | 37 | 35 | 31 | - | - | - | 13 | 14 | 13 |

CDW | - | - | - | - | - | - | 38 | 37 | 38 | 19 | 19 | 19 |

PG | 7 | 7 | 7 | 7 | 6 | 7 | - | - | - | 3 | 3 | 3 |

LS | 7 | 7 | 7 | 7 | 6 | 7 | - | - | - | 3 | 3 | 3 |

TOTAL | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 | 100 |

Matrices and Batches | Width | Length | Height |
---|---|---|---|

BS | AUP | AUP | 30% ET |

B10 | AUP | AUP | AUP |

B15 | 8% ET | AUP | 33% ET |

R-G5 | AUP | AUP | 25% ET |

R-G10 | AUP | AUP | 55% ET |

R-G15 | AUP | AUP | 17% ET |

CDW5 | AUP | AUP | AUP |

CDW10 | 8% ET | AUP | AUP |

CDW15 | AUP | AUP | 8% ET |

R-GCDW5 | AUP | AUP | AUP |

R-GCDW10 | AUP | AUP | AUP |

R-GCDW15 | AUP | AUP | 9% ET |

**Table 3.**Average results for each matrix and its batches of main characterization parameters, with a ranking grade.

Batch/Matrix | Int Abs Coeff_{(10)},g/(cm ^{2} × min^{0.5}).Rank from Lowest to Highest | Simple Compression Strength Resistance (MPa) | Height Reduction as an Effect of Compression (%) | Dry Density T_{1} (kg/m^{3}) | Dry Density T_{2} (kg/m^{3}) |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

Rank from Higher to Lower | |||||

B5 | ${57.7}_{{\#}_{12}}^{*}$ | ${1.472}_{{\#}_{11}}^{*}$ | ${37.90}_{{\#}_{10}}$ | ${2014}_{{\#}_{3}}$ | ${1858}_{{\#}_{2}}$ |

B10 | ${32.8}_{{\#}_{10};\text{}MC}$ | ${3.188}_{{\#}_{9}}^{**}$ | ${42.53}_{{\#}_{7}}$ | ${2016}_{{\#}_{2}}$ | ${1833}_{{\#}_{5}}$ |

B15 | ${14.7}_{{\#}_{4};\text{}LC}$ | ${4.218}_{{\#}_{3}}^{**}$ | ${44.96}_{{\#}_{1}}$ | ${2066}_{{\#}_{1}}^{*}$ | ${1887}_{{\#}_{1}}^{*}$ |

R-G5 | ${36.6}_{{\#}_{11};\text{}MC}$ | ${2.256}_{{\#}_{10}}^{***}$ | ${40.47}_{{\#}_{8}}$ | ${1930}_{{\#}_{8}}$ | ${1766}_{{\#}_{10}}$ |

R-G10 | ${30.5}_{{\#}_{9};\text{}MC}$ | ${3.237}_{{\#}_{8}}^{**}$ | ${44.43}_{{\#}_{4}}$ | ${1955}_{{\#}_{7}}$ | ${1836}_{{\#}_{4}}$ |

R-G15 | ${21.4}_{{\#}_{8};\text{}MC}$ | ${3.532}_{{\#}_{6}}^{**}$ | ${40.77}_{{\#}_{2}}$ | ${1917}_{{\#}_{10}}$ | ${1773}_{{\#}_{9}}$ |

CDW5 | ${13.6}_{{\#}_{3};\text{}LC}$ | ${4.071}_{{\#}_{4}}^{**}$ | ${44.27}_{{\#}_{5}}$ | ${2012}_{{\#}_{4}}$ | ${1832}_{{\#}_{6}}$ |

CDW10 | ${12.7}_{{\#}_{1};LC}$ | ${4.365}_{{\#}_{1}}^{**}$ | ${44.74}_{{\#}_{3}}$ | ${1977}_{{\#}_{6}}$ | ${1801}_{{\#}_{7}}$ |

CDW15 | ${13.1}_{{\#}_{2};\text{}LC}$ | ${4.267}_{{\#}_{2}}^{**}$ | ${39.57}_{{\#}_{9}}$ | ${1928}_{{\#}_{9}}$ | ${1773}_{{\#}_{9}}$ |

R-GCDW5 | ${19.4}_{{\#}_{6};\text{}LC}$ | ${3.728}_{{\#}_{5}}^{**}$ | ${43.63}_{{\#}_{6}}$ | ${2003}_{{\#}_{5}}$ | ${1841}_{{\#}_{3}}$ |

R-GCDW10 | ${20.9}_{{\#}_{7};\text{}MC}$ | ${3.335}_{{\#}_{7}}^{**}$ | ${37.64}_{{\#}_{11}}$ | ${1912}_{{\#}_{11}}$ | ${1785}_{{\#}_{8}}$ |

R-GCDW15 | ${18.4}_{{\#}_{5};\text{}LC}$ | ${3.188}_{{\#}_{9}}^{**}$ | ${37.62}_{{\#}_{12}}$ | ${1881}_{{\#}_{12}}$ | ${1736}_{{\#}_{11}}$ |

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Reyna-Ruiz, C.; Gómez-Soberón, J.M.; Rojas-Valencia, M.N.
Feasibility and Application of Local Closed-Loop Materials to Produce Compressed and Stabilized Earth Blocks. *Materials* **2024**, *17*, 3358.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17133358

**AMA Style**

Reyna-Ruiz C, Gómez-Soberón JM, Rojas-Valencia MN.
Feasibility and Application of Local Closed-Loop Materials to Produce Compressed and Stabilized Earth Blocks. *Materials*. 2024; 17(13):3358.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17133358

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Reyna-Ruiz, Catalina, José Manuel Gómez-Soberón, and María Neftalí Rojas-Valencia.
2024. "Feasibility and Application of Local Closed-Loop Materials to Produce Compressed and Stabilized Earth Blocks" *Materials* 17, no. 13: 3358.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17133358