Soil, Cement and Compression Create Compressed Earth Blocks

Vermeer, Dwell Earth and Cart-Away join efforts to upgrade CEB’s

Improving cement-based construction methods for the world’s poorest people is the mission of CementTrust. Over the past year you have read of our efforts to improve cement mixing technology and to get the shovels off the ground for making concrete.

cement stabalized compressed earth block Now we are involved in mixing earth and cement to create better CEB’s. We are pleased to have been asked to participate with Dwell Earth and international equipment manufacturer Vermeer to help create an appropriate mixer for stabilized earth blocks.

Compressed earth block machine by Vermeer and Dwell Earth Vermeer family members, the Vermeer Foundation and Dwell Earth have committed to developing, building and distributing the technology that will move the CEB system to the next level for developing nations. CementTrust and Cart-Away are anxious to assist them in this worthy effort.

The beauty of compressed earth is that the main ingredient is earth, and soil is very abundant. They use a small amount of Portland cement in the mix to stabilize and seal the blocks against the effects of weather, then they use hydraulic pressure to form a good block.

What is unique to this project is the technology that improves the strength and consistency of the blocks themselves. This is where Dwell Earth and Vermeer have been focusing their attention at Vermeer’s Pella, Iowa facilities.

A major issue in the success of the product is getting a consistent blending of cement and soil before water is added into the process. This is where Cart-Away and CementTrust have joined the effort to create a Compressed Earth Block Mixer.

Concrete MD batch bucket full of soil of compressed earth block mixingThe mixer development team at Cart-Away Concrete Systems was asked to design an auger for the Concrete MD that would aggressively mix the dry soil and cement powder so that it would be ready for use in the earth block press.

The goal is to provide a multi-use mixing machine that produces consistent concrete for the foundation of the building and then quickly changes to produce the earth block mixture for the Dwell Earth/Vermeer block press. Once blocks are produced the Concrete MD is converted back again for producing mortars, plasters or more concrete for bond beams.

Developing an all-inclusive system will save on the equipment needed to build strong structures in very remote areas of the world. It will also lessen the financial impact from investing in so many different pieces of equipment.

Dwell Earth and CementTrust are on the very same page in their desire to see these systems put into the hands of local communities to employ workers and to raise the economic security of poor nations. If the local builders have access to better tools they will benefit financially and live in safer structures.



About cementtrust

I am a director with Cement Trust and passionate about improving cement-based production in the poorest nations of the world.
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16 Responses to Soil, Cement and Compression Create Compressed Earth Blocks

  1. My company produces very low cost forms of cellulose-based polymers for erosion control applications. However, the higher cost forms of these polymers have been utilized in mortars and cement-based construction for many years. They are effective as multifunctional admixtures at very low use levels (~0.01 %). If this technology can be used to benefit CEB building methods in poor countries, I would like to contribute what I can. By improving mixing, water retention, grain lubrication (improved flow with less water and better consolidation), and green strength, a polymer we might provide could possibly enhance the quality of CEB construction. Please let me know if I can help in any way. In particular, tests we have conducted indicate blocks using a specific polymer can be cured with less need of special moisture retention systems during the critial 16 hours after forming without loss of cured strength. This is due to excellent water retention properties.

    • Tino Africa says:

      Sir, I’m developing Eco Bricks using soil, cement and water mix. I’m interested to use cellulose-based polymers. I need to find out where to get it. And some reference books.

  2. cementtrust says:

    We appreciate your desire to assist in the process of creating better construction blocks. I will go to your website and then connect with you to learn more.


  3. mhahndesign says:

    Hey Bruce,

    Cool project. I’m working on sanitation projects in multiple resource-poor countries (Cambodia, Lao, Nepal, Bangladesh, and others). We are working mostly in concrete and recently investigating soil cement technologies. Does this tech. work well without compression? and it sounds like an even mixture of soil and cement is crucial…is it? Also, have you ever cast a block of a different ratio? For instance: 1m long x .25m w x25m? How do you think that would work?

    • cementtrust says:

      Working with limited resources is a struggle for so many people. We don’t realize how blessed we are in the US to have construction supply chains that work so efficiently.
      It has been a very rewarding experience to assist Dwell Earth and Vermeer Corp. in the compressed earth block mixing technology. From what I understand, it is important to apply heavy compression to the block in order to gain strength and to resist moisture intrusion.
      I am not the expert in this technology, so I am going to ask one of our CementTrust partners to respond to you concerning mix ratios and compression requirements.
      I wish you great success in your sanitation projects around the world. Let us know if we can assist you in any way.


      • steve ewhe says:

        I work with this over in Nigeria and have discovered that 8%cement ratio is the best…that’s about 1/2 a bag(25kg) to 4-5 wheelbarrows

  4. anderson mungai says:

    hi i live in kenya and i like to build my self this bricls would you please guide me on how and how i can design my own press

  5. I’m interested in building my own soil cement bricks machine to help people in my poor village in Dominican Republic, however don’t have sufficient literature and plans to do it. Also I want to building a vibrator table. Somebody can help me to do it? I need information and graphic materials for construct it.
    Thanks for help me and my people
    Jaime Pena

  6. Charles Osae says:

    This seems like the sliced bread disadvantaged communities have been waiting for all these years.
    I would like to switch to this machine instead of the expensive option currently available to us in Ghana.
    Can you please provide me with a contact to discuss further. Thanks

  7. david okumu says:

    i’d like to build using this tecnology since am poor whit little do i access this info in kenya

  8. greg says:

    contact the folks at opensourcecology, they make a good machine for low cost. There are many hand operated presses out there if you just search the net.

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