Mechanical strength, mass loss and volumetric changes of drying adobe matrices combined with kaolin and fine soil particles

J. Concha-Riedel, F. C. Antico, S. López-Querol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Earthen construction represents almost 30% of the housing in developing countries, partially because of its low cost compared to steel and concrete construction, and also because the raw materials are available almost everywhere. One of the biggest disadvantages of earthen materials is the lack of information and variety on their constitutive materials, specifically their soil type. This work addresses the physical and mechanical properties of adobe matrices containing different concentrations of kaolin, which is a specific type of clay, as well as different proportions of fine particles of the original soil of the adobe matrix. All adobe matrices were manufactured with a SM-SC soil obtained from Santiago, Chile, and had concentrations of 0, 10, 30, and 50% of kaolin and 0, 10, 20, and 30% fines of the original soil content. It is concluded that the compressive strength of the studied earthen mixtures improves when kaolin is added to the mixture. The shrinkage of adobe matrices with kaolin compared to plain adobe matrices was reduced during the first days of age and stayed stable after that. This work shows that the inclusion of fines from the original soil (other than kaolin) did not significantly affect any of the studied properties. It also shows that the Unified Soil Classification System is not sufficient to characterize soils for adobe matrices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125246
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adobe matrix
  • Chemical Shrinkage
  • Clay
  • Drying shrinkage
  • Earth blocks
  • Kaolin
  • Mechanical strength
  • Soil fine-particles


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