Comparisons between the characteristics and performances of the compressed earth block and those of other classic masonry materials, should not be restricted solely to taking account of their compressive strength or differences in production costs. The issue is a more complex one and any comparison should rather be based on a wide register of parameters, including: the shape and dimensions of the material, its appearance (surface, texture, attractiveness,) as well as a full range of measures of performance, such as - indeed - dry and wet compressive strength, but also thermal insulation, apparent density, and durability. But over and above this, aspects linked to the production and use of the material highlight all the complexity of such comparisons by taking account of such factors as the nature of the soil deposits supplying the raw material, the means by which this raw material is processed into a building material, the energy involved in this processing, the nature of the material when considered as a building component or element, and its state in the finished building, taking account of questions of durability and maintenance. This «intelligent», way of comparing materials with each other, over and above scientific considerations intended to compare materials in laboratory conditions, takes account of the architectural and practical application of materials in situ.
ASPECTS OF UTILISATION
The position of the compressed earth block relative to other masonry materials can be established according to aspects of use of the material.
Health and safety aspects
Taking these various aspects into account leads directly back to the need to carry out a preliminary technico-economic feasibility study before setting up a production system, for these considerations weigh heavily in the choice of system. The table (Fig. 7) shows simple points of comparison, but these should not overshadow the importance of these various aspects of utilization of the material.
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