All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Nasim Uddin

Advisory Committee Members

Ashraf Al-Hamdan

Ian Hosch

Jason Kirby

Christopher Waldron

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


Sustainable development of the built environment in developed and developing countries is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. The use of local materials in the building construction is potentially one of the ways to support sustainable development in both urban and rural areas. Earthen buildings have evolved internationally and have created housing opportunities globally. In many countries, Compressed Earth Block (CEB) is the construction material of choice and is also an established existing material. CEB stands up to environmental challenges while also being inexpensive to use in construction. In addition, the raw materials necessary for CEB construction are relatively easy to procure locally and have been used successfully in low-rise buildings. Raw earth materials are abundantly available in many locations and can serve as building materials in low-rise buildings. These attributes make CEB building construction highly competitive The proposed Green Compressed Earth Block (GCEB) consists of the conventional CEB ingredients, which include redundant available materials such as dirt (i.e. Sand, Clay, Aggregates) and, new natural fibers (i.e. Banana Fibers), which will receive prominence in this dissertation. Such fibers are widely available around the world as a sort of agricultural waste from banana cultivation, the remnants of which have been left to decompose, emitting a huge amount of carbon dioxide and methane gases. These emissions, which increase global warming every year, have a negative impact on the environment. This research will perform an experimental study using this fiber in CEB to create a high quality product. We will study its mechanical properties, its impact on the environment and its cost effectiveness. This research seeks to enhance the performance of the CEB by increasing its quality and mechanical properties and decreasing its cost. This study will also test the structural performance of the sustainable GCEB, using testing methods adapted from masonry according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. As part of the testing program, mortar, block prism and bending tests will be conducted in order to investigate the maximum strength of a GCEB wall. Results from these tests will be compared to the Uniform Building Code, which will validate GCEB's usefulness in construction. The results of this study will highlight general trends in the strength properties of different design mixes for blocks and mortars. These efforts are necessary to ensure that GCEB technology becomes a more widely accepted building material. Developing a systematic design approach and testing regime will verify the vertical and lateral load performance of the GCEB masonry wall and will verify the earth building technology for offering affordable houses.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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