Vernacular Caramel´s Adobe Masonry Dwellings – Material Characterization

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In Pinhal Novo, Palmela, and neighboring municipalities, southern Lisbon region, there are a great number of small adobe masonry dwellings, made in the first half of the twentieth century. The vernacular dwellings were constructed by families that came from the north/center region of Portugal to work at the local manors and were called Caramel´s. Adobe samples from three of these dwellings were collected in Pinhal Novo and Moita, and tested for particle size distribution, X-ray diffraction, color, bulk density, ultrasonic pulse velocity, thermal conductivity, dry abrasion, flexural and compressive strength, capillary absorption and drying. It was possible to conclude that the adobe was not chemically stabilized and had no vegetable fibers. Average values for the adobe properties were defined and results were analyzed, revealing comparable to unstabilised adobe and even to lime stabilized adobe from other regions. The data on Caramel´s adobe can support the design of interventions to preserve at least some of these Caramel´s vernacular dwellings.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Issue number1
Early online date29 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Caramel´s culture
  • earth construction
  • in situ sampling
  • laboratory characterization
  • mechanical characterization
  • physical characterization
  • vernacular architecture


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