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Composite Materials - Mud Bricks

Mud Brick

Humans have been using composite materials for a long time in order to build our dwellings. Some of the earliest forms of building were built of mud bricks. Mud bricks work well when they are being compressed (compression forces) but a cake of mud is easily broken if it is bent (bending forces). This is because the act of bending places a tension force on one edge.

At the same time as the mud block buildings were being built other people were making straw dwellings. Straw has a great deal of tensile strength (resistance to pulling forces) but it is very weak when crumpled. These early builders realised was that if straw, which has a good tensile strength was embedded in a block of mud, which has good compressive strength and left to dry the resulting brick would resist both tearing and squeezing. These composite bricks made excellent building materials.

The image above shows a wall being built of mud/straw bricks. To find out more about this process contact:


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