Improved Design of an Earth Block Press

Requested Research

  • A technical set of drawings of the initial block press, of which we know for sure that it works well.
  • Improved design and a new set of drawings for a machine with larger block sizes. This machine must be tested for a minimum required compression and its maximum compression capacity.
  • Design of a mould for stabilized earth blocks that can be used in earthquake resistant construction.
  • Designs and technical drawings of all accessories, special plates, moulds and so on. Including a do-it-yourself guideline for assembling, maintenance and calibration of the machine.

Status of Research

Open for students and professionals of Mechanical, Industrial and Product Engineering. Send us an email to request the full assignment sheet via this link.

Past and current research:
2015-2016: Ryan Clancy, University of Limerick

Background: Stabilized Earth Block

Earth has been used for thousands of years as a building material. There are numerous buildings across the world that still are made of cob, adobe, rammed earth and such. Many earthen buildings have even withstood heavy earthquakes.

A modern variation of earth construction is the use of stabilized earth blocks. These blocks are made from a mixture of earth and sand, with cement or lime as stabilizer, and a bit of water added. Then with a simple press these blocks are compressed. They don’t need to be fired which consumes expensive and often scarce firewood, but they are simply dried in the outside air. Initial curing takes about 10 days and then they are ready for masonry.

Background: The Mardini Press

For our school building in India we used the Mardini Press, which has been developed at the Technical University in Bangalore. This machine we will modify so that it can be used for making different block sizes and for different purposes.

In terms of seismic resistance, building with stabilized earth blocks looks quite promising when compared to other types of earth block masonry. Part of this research is to develop a system of blocks, as well as to design a set of special moulds and plates, to be used for building in seismic areas. It is very important that the minimum required compression of 35 kg/cm² is met with the new and modified machine.