Elementerre – The Secrets of Earthen Architecture

A one-hour demonstration for all audiences, given at the Auroville Earth Institute or at local school/organization premises.

Also called soil, dirt or mud, earth is a modest and humble material. Yet, building with earth has been successfully accomplished for centuries and earth remains today a viable alternative material to conventional cement-based construction.

Through intriguing science experiments, we’ll discover the hidden physics behind this ecological construction material, which has been used in so many ways across vernacular cultures. Showcasing the role of soil particles, air and water, this demonstration is based on a scientific hands-on approach, and breaks down the principles of building with earth.

This demonstration aims at offering youth groups a hands-on and lively introduction to the physical properties of the local material earth, principles of building technologies and a sensibility to sustainable construction.

Eligibility: This course specifically targets school groups and youth groups from the age of 7 and up.

Duration: Demonstration lasts approximately 1.5 hours.

Course content:
- introduction to vernacular earthen architecture
- the three phases of the material
- granulometry
- behavior of granular material
- compaction and role of air
- capillary force and role of water
- role of clay platelets
- physics of force chains
- testing sand castles
- towards new research and conclusion

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