Bricks and blocks, being two of the most important building materials in our construction field, can be made out of different materials, most popular of which are earthen materials. Ancient civilizations used earthen materials as a cheap and easy way to make bricks from which they built their houses and shelters. Ancient Egyptians used "mud" (which is technically silt and clay) to make bricks which we call now adobe. These days, despite the low cost of adobe it is loosing grounds in the construction of housing because of its very low compressive strength and poor durability against weathering. Accordingly, cement blocks and red blocks are gaining usage instead. Unfortunately, cement blocks and red bricks are not only more expensive than adobe, but also, are energy intensive and generate a lot of pollution during the production. A promising alternative is to use compressed earth blocks (CEB) which maintain housing environment similar to adobe and provide the required strength and durability. The objective of this research is to work on improving the mechanical properties and durability of CEB in order to match those of cement and red blocks. In an attempt to fulfill this objective, properties of CEB will be enhanced by adding stabilizers, fibers, or both. Lime and acronal were used as stabilizers while rice straw was used as a fiber by itself in one mix and added to lime and acronal in other mixes. The results obtained from these mixes were compared amongst each others as there is no control block. In order to keep results as accurate and informative as possible, the molding moisture content and pressure were kept constant for all mixes. The optimum moisture content was obtained using the unconfined compressive strength method while the molding pressure was set to be 16 MPa according to previous research done on similar CEB made from the same soil (Agha 2004). The mix that had Lime stabilization with 8% by weight and rice straw with 1.5% by weight was found to give the highest resistance to erosion while acronal stabilization with 3 percent in addition to 1.5 % rice straw was found to give the highest strength. According to the main objectives of this study, it was found that the mix that included lime as the stabilizer (8%) and rice straw as reinforcing fibers (1.5%) had the best results.


School of Sciences and Engineering


Interdisciplinary Engineering Program

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Construction Engineering

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Safwan Khedr

Committee Member 1

Farouk El Hakim

Committee Member 2

Mohamed Nagib AbouZeid

Committee Member 3

Edward Smith

Document Type



117 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Blocks (Building materials)

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2


Library of Congress Subject Heading 3

Idrīs, Yūsuf;Faulkner, William


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Call Number

Thesis 2005/67