Our previous post about Earthbag Locations caught the attention of readers, who are sending us information on additional countries. This is a good example of how it’s impossible to keep up with everything, especially when information is in foreign languages. Paula, one of our readers, said: “In Brazil there are various institutions that teach building techniques with earthbags and there are lots of places all over Brazil with these kind of buildings. This technique was developed by a Brazilian called Fernando Pacheco.”

Have a look in this video, they use a different type of bag:

Owen: I believe this building system has enormous potential. Here are a few facts from the website posted below. They are using tubes made of synthetic fabric — the same kind used in packing fruit. It seems the open weave in the fabric creates more friction between courses, thereby eliminating the need for barbed wire on certain designs. (This won’t work on domes, because you need the tensile strength provided by the barbed wire.) Also note, they claim enhanced bonding with plaster, probably because the fabric is not as slick as polypropylene. We’ll post more information about this exciting development as it becomes available.

http://mulher-e-cia.blogspot.com/2010/09/bioconstrucao-hiperadobe.html
http://mulher-e-cia.blogspot.com/2010/08/bioconstrucao_30.html

Also note, the concrete foundation could be eliminated with 2-4 courses of gravel-filled poly bags or tubes with barbed wire between.


Comments

Hiperadobe — 12 Comments

  1. Hi Owen,

    Just as a comparison… in Brazil, people are getting together to buy a big quantity of rolls for hyperadobe and it’s going to cost around US$550 for a roll with 1000 meters. Cheaper if they can get more people interested.
    Regards,
    Paula

    • Excellent idea. Some readers are having trouble locating affordable bags in their area. Prices are going up and recycled bags are not always available.

      Edit: I just ran the numbers and it works out to be 42 cents/bag if you figure 30″ bags. That’s still pretty high.

  2. Its interesting to know if the requirements to soil packed into these bags differs from soil that can be packed into polypropylene bags. As already noted by people above loose fill material may not work with this. Maybe a soil with more clay content is required to work with these bags. It would be nice to know how to test the soil for suitability to hyperadobe, and find out the proper moisture content.

    • I made my first hyperadobe test bag today with mesh bags. It worked great. Complete report coming in the morning. This is a huge breakthrough. We love it. The clay clumps with the aggregates. W our soil almost nothing fell out. Moisten it just enough to hold together. Try one out and see.

  3. This is interesting, i know the bags (available at our local ‘rural-shop’) but had never considered them for building. These bags will be useful for some projects but the material is quite weak (finger strength easily tears it) polybags (standard earthbag) is amazingly strong.

    Owen, i think that with your background, experience and knowledge of all-things-earthbag you should contact a couple bag manufacturing companies and have a serious dialogue with a couple of the product engineers.

    Advances in materials science is moving almost as fast as electronics right now, where there are literally hundreds of companies and universities doing purely mix-and-test type development. These bag manufacturing companies often don’t make just bags, but are part of a much larger ‘polymers’ manufacturing conglomerate (often with research facilities of their own as well).

    They may actually have a material sitting in a catalog on the desk of some engineer with every property we need.

    -UV proof (environmentally robust up to 2 years exposure)
    -Or self compacting! (contracts 20% when exposed to UV)
    -Strong (with little stretch)
    -Rough or self adhesive!
    -Metal wire weave integrated
    -Light weight (for shipping)
    -Very low cost
    -Baffled longitudinally so there is increased strength and the ability to have insulation on the outside and earth on the inside
    -Natural fiber (could we be so lucky)

    We start the house in April, earth-bermed, living roof, 3 rooms, garage, compost toilet/shower room 60m2.

    • I found some perfect bags today at the farmer’s market and will be reporting on the results in the morning. The bags I found are fantastic in every way. This is a huge step forward for earthbag building.

  4. Wow! I am hugely impressed with this hiperadobe concept! It takes the Superadobe to a whole new level with many distinct advantages:

    I’m sure that the net bagging is cheaper than the woven poly material.
    The fill will dry out and cure faster.
    No need for barbed wire in vertical wall designs.
    More monolithic structure due to direct bonding between courses.
    Easier to gather the tubing on a canister for filling.
    Better adhesion of plaster; no need to burn off poly material to get direct bond of plaster to fill.

    The only disadvantage that I can think of is that it wouldn’t work with some loose fill material like sand or rice hulls.

  5. Grower’s Supply (www.growerssupply.com) has two of these products, grow tubes, which come in both poly and HDPE, in diameters up to 12″, and Polymax heavy-duty erosion control tubes which come in diameters up to 16″. These products come up to a 100 foot roll at a reasonable price, although narrow. You would need to lay two parallel rows of these tubes to get a reasonable width. There may be other suppliers, as well.

  6. Wow, That is a great product. I wonder the cost of these bags compared to the Polybags? They look to have great potential. Nice Find Owen! Please do keep us posted.

    • Paula is looking into this and said she would send more info when she learns more. I think this is one of the most exciting earthbag developments lately. I’m going into town to look at similar fabrics.

      Did you see the new note I added at the bottom? I recommend lower courses of poly tubes or bags filled with gravel and the hiperadobe system for upper walls.

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