Assessment of Stabilized earth structural and environmental merits for sustainable construction in Saudi Arabia

Project: Research

Project Details


Stabilized Earth Construction (SEC) technologies are not widely adopted and used in most countries in the world. However, earth-based construction materials are environmentally friendly, and therefore, the outcome of the experimented SEC projects is very successful. Factors that are influencing the adoption of contemporary SEC technologies are well-understood, and there are limited appropriate alternative construction materials in Saudi Arabia that are environmentally sustainable. One of the adoption inhibitors of contemporary SEC in Saudi Arabia is the absence of construction standards. Literature review reveals that there is sparse research to date carried out to find out why are the potentialities of SEC not recognized and used locally. However, Saudi Arabia is a very large country with various types of unique soils, and historically earth is the major traditional construction material of Saudi Arabia. Earth building in Arabian Peninsula traced back thousands of years, and archaeological evidence shows the usage of sun-dried mud-brick in Saudi Arabia from the Abbasid era. The durability and resilience of sun-dried earth-based material in Saudi Arabia's vernacular and historic buildings proved that it is worth researching and using this material in contemporary urban construction. In addition, to its durability and easy availability, the rich insulation quality of earth-based material made it appropriate and suitable for using it in Jeddah. In Jeddah, during summer, the temperature goes up to 54 0C, and the chunky earth walls keep the rooms cool. On the other hand, in winter, during cold nights, the earth walls contain desirable heat. This study aims to identify appropriate Jeddah soil types and provide empirical evidence of the structural and environmental suitability of stabilised earth (SE) in formulating construction standards for Saudi Arabia. The structural suitability of SE will be determined by collecting soil samples from Jeddah, carrying out soil characterization, unconfined compressive strength tests, and comparative analysis of the strength of the SE mixing different stabilizers. The environmental suitability of SE will be assessed by determining acoustical characteristics, thermal conductivity, and moisture absorption of the SE mixing different stabilizers. It is expected that the overall outcome of this research project will formulate a major part of the SEC standard of Saudi Arabia
Effective start/end date1/01/221/01/23


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