Eco-efficient earth plasters: influence of clay content, sand particle size, and support

Tânia Santos, Maria Idália Gomes, Flávia Coelho, Paulina Faria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Earth construction, including the use of
earth mortars, has been extensively used in the past.
However, with the appearance of hydraulic binders, the
use of earth strongly decreased for new construction
and even to repair old earth buildings, whose best
solution would be the use of compatible materials such
as earth mortars. Due to the innumerable advantages
of earth and with the growing concern on eco-efficient
construction, the interest on earth construction has
resurfaced, namely on earth mortars. To optimize the
composition of an earth plastering mortar made with
a defined clayish earth and two siliceous sands with
different particle sizes, six compositions were assessed.
Mortars with different volumetric ratios were applied
in two different supports (on the back of a tile and on
a brick) and planar specimens were also produced.
Distinct characteristics were assessed, such as their
visual appearance, shrinkage, surface cohesion, surface
hardness, dry abrasion resistance, ultrasonic velocity,
adhesive strength, and thermal conductivity. It is
possible to conclude that a higher clay content in the
earth mortar composition increases the shrinkage and
occurrence of cracking, the use of fine sand promotes
high mass loss by abrasion, and the same mortar applied
in different supports behaves differently in terms of
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of World Architecture
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • optimization
  • non-destructive test
  • shrinkage
  • clayish earth
  • formulation
  • mortar

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