Compression, Tension, and Fracture Energy Properties of Compressed Cement-Stabilized Earth Blocks

Ethan Hall, Bora Pulatsu, Ece Erdogmus, Brian Skourup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper presents the recent experimental findings related to mechanical properties of compressed cement-stabilized earth blocks (CSEBs), prepared using indigenous soil from Hamilton County in Nebraska (United States) and manufactured using a manual model of the CINVA-Ram soil brick compression machine. A total of 56 specimens were tested to allow for a meaningful statistical assessment of the results. First, uniaxial compression tests were performed on individual blocks utilizing two materials that allow for varying degrees of lateral expansion: plywood and rubber capping. Then, the flexural tensile strength and fracture energy parameters were obtained from three-point bending testing. Under compression, capped with plywood, the blocks had an average strength of 6.09MPa, whereas the blocks capped with rubber had an average strength of 4.22 MPa, presenting a 30% reduction in estimated compressive strength when the material has allowed greater lateral expansion. Moreover, flexural testing was conducted on notched blocks with a notch-to-depth ratio of 0.5. The average flexural tensile strength (modulus of rupture) of these specimens was obtained as 1.28 MPa with an average fracture energy value of 13.98 N/m. These material properties are key to numerical modeling and analysis of individual blocks constructed with these novel and special-recipe materials, which are not adequately reported in the literature. This technical note contributes to the state-of-the-art by providing the most recent findings of strength parameters for researchers to utilize in their studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number06021005
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Cement-stabilized earth blocks (CSEBs)
  • Compressive strength
  • Earth blocks
  • Fracture energy
  • Mechanical properties characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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