Block Making

Perhaps the most important ingredient in pressed block manufacturing is the soil. Sufficient clay content is critical.  Not enough clay can lead to an inferior block that will not pass a pressure test. On the other hand, excessive clay content will lead to an unacceptable degree of cracking in the dried blocks.

Earth Blocks can be stored for unlimited periods of time (unstabilized must be kept dry). The blocks must be sufficiently elevated off the ground to prevent moisture from wicking up into the stack. If poly/plastic covering is used, it is worth noting that the black variety better withstands sun damage than the clear.

Before the blocks are made, the soil is usually mixed with a stabilizer such as lime.  The stabilizer helps make the block strong and weather resistant.   The soil mixture is loaded into the hopper of the properly selected block machine. With most machines, Earth Block dimensions can be adjusted depending on design and architectural factors.

Most adobe blocks, whether sun-dried or machine-pressed, stabilized or unstabilized, should be cured prior to placement in the wall. Some codes suggest two to three weeks of cure time, however, different soil and weather conditions will alter the drying time. Curing is important because the blocks get stronger and slightly shrink as they dry. Shrinkage and settling are typical in earthen structures and these unwanted effects can be minimized with curing. Earth Block, however, can be used almost immediately.

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