Clay Retaining Wall
I live in North Carolina where there is a lot of clay
dirt. I want to build a waist high mud brick retaining wall with my
students this year. What materials will I need to begin and what raw
materials will I need to mix together?
I had a friend in the Peace Corps who went to South America. He helped make
huts from homemade bricks, or, more like blocks.
Reflecting now, I think you have to know your clay. The peace corps guy said,
he used a mold ( basically a box) and clay plus straw. I would think the
straw would be a filler and something to bind the clay. Now, the part
that has me thinking, and kicking it to you ,
is the drying. Will the clay dry so it can be removed from the mold? The
option is heating as in an oven. That is were the mix comes in, if you do go
to mechanical drying, can substances be added to induce the dry hardening.
In grade school we made salt and flour maps, the mixture would harden like a
rock, but it had to be the right mix. My friend got it wrong and it was like
a watery pizza, sliding off the cardboard.
Hope this helps, but you see a lot depends on your materials.
Once you have the solid bricks, you need a similar material for what would be
the mortar. Probably more of the same perhaps in a more liquid state for
workability. More thinking, I recall seeing globs that made the adobe style
wall, no mortar, the blob, rough bread shaped, stacked to dry.
Click here to return to the Engineering Archives
Update: June 2012