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Earthbag Construction

An Introduction to the Basics

Temporary Construction Details

Permanent Construction Details

Sitework, Cisterns, Etc

Testing that has been done with Earthbags

An Introduction to the Basics

Earthbag Building Basics is a simple poster covering some of the most basic aspects of earthbag building. It can be translated automatically with the Google Translate button. A PDF version of the same poster can be seen here.

Step by Step Earthbag Construction The basics of filling and laying bags are demonstrated in 8 easy steps, complete with videos showing exactly how to do things.

Soil Tests for Earthbags describes how to test for proper soil for earthbag works. A 14-page more comprehensive PDF document can be seen here.

Temporary Construction Details

Temporary Wall Construction shows a crossection of how a tarp roof can be attached to the wall, with temporary wall protection, and berming to keep water out.

Raised Floors for Tents described a simple way to use earthbags for strengthening the sides of tents and raising the floor level.

Permanent Construction Details

Wall Reinforcement describes various ways to reinforce earthbag walls in key locations, including corners, to resist lateral movement.

Openings in Walls discusses ways to safely make openings in walls: reinforcement, lintels, window grills, vent block and pipe.

BOND BEAMS: Concrete, Tubular Steel, Corrugated Metal, or Tubular Bag

Alternative Bond Beam outlines a method of creating bond beams and lintels with rectangular section metal tubing or wood beams that is integrated with the earthbag wall, with step-by-step instructions.

Earthbag Modules advocates the use of 24" modules for earthbag lengths.

Sitework, Cisterns, Etc.

SITE WORK: Figuring Soil Needed, Grading for Drainage, Footings, Cisterns shows how excavation for buildings and and cisterns can provide the soil for filling the bags.

Testing that has been done with Earthbags

Earthbag Housing: Structural Behavior and Applicability in Developing Countries  by Bryce Daigle. This thesis explores the structural behavior of earthbag housing under vertical compressive loading, in an attempt to broaden our quantitative understanding of this alternative building technique. Furthermore, this technique is assessed, along with other alternative construction techniques, for suitability in southern Sri Lanka, an area heavily damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Prism Testing of Polypropylene Earthbags  A prism test was conducted on earthbags using three different types of fill: sand, rubble, and dirt. The tests gave us the failure stress of the bags with the different types of fill (43.06 psi, 57.84 psi, and 311 psi respectively), as well as providing deflection data on the earthbags. These tests were conducted at the West Point Military Academy Engineering Department.

Earth Architecture and Ceramics: The Sandbag/Superadobe/ Superblock Construction System  by Nader Khalili (Cal-Earth Institute) and Phill Vittore (Structural Engineering Consultant),1998. An article outlining the chronology and results of testing done on Nader Khalili's superadobe system of building.

An Amazing Experiment  If anyone had any doubts about the strength and integrity of this system of building, this experiment should allay those concerns. Earthbag building of this sort can be STRONG!

Friction and Tensile Strength of EB Components by Patti Stouter explains some of the current understanding of engineering related to earthbags based on other earthen techniques and personal experiments.

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