The portability of burnt bricks and their low maintenance is a major factor for their high usage in various types of construction projects. But the former advantage of the burnt can enhance the cost involved in the construction project, especially if it is far from the production place of the burnt bricks. The solution to reducing the cost of transportation is to use soil-cement block technology.
Soil-cement block technology uses both local soil and local labour which makes it a more accessible option for the construction processes. Its production also employs considerably less use of thermal energy, making it preferable for the environment as well. The type of soil befitted to yield successful results from the soil-cement block technology primarily depends on the composition of the soil, the density of the bock, and the content of the cement.
The first and foremost step in the soil-cement block technology is preparing the soil. Firstly, the soil has to be cleaned from large impurities such as gravel. For this step, the soil is passed through a 5mm sieve, the cleared soil is then spread on level ground. The layer of the spread soil should be thin and level, on top of it, a consistent layer of cement is spread. With a spade, both the soil and the cement are mixed completely. The next step is to manually mix the solution with some water. Batch-wise, the mixture is pressed into a shape of a block. Pressing the block is a machine-operated process and the batch-wise technique is used to prevent the drying of the mixture before the process of pressing.
Once the wetted soil-cement mixture is ready, it is batch-wise pressed into the shape of blocks. Pressing the block is a machine-operated process and the batch-wise technique is used to avoid the drying of the mixture before the process of pressing.
Stacking and Curing
After the successful ejection of the blocks from the machine, the blocks are stacked. It is usually followed to stack the blocks up to 6 layers, all one above the another. The blocks need to undergo curing. The professionals at work make sure that no gaps are left between the blocs while stacking and straw is spread on top of the stack which is daily sprinkled with water up till three weeks, minimum thrice a day.
The advantages of soil-cement blocks over burnt bricks are clear. The blocks obtained from soil-cement block technology can be procured through local labour and local soil. These blocks consume less thermal energy than the burnt bricks, acting good for environmental concerns. The usage of soil-cement blocks can even be cost-effective when the production site of burnt bricks is at a considerable distance from the construction site. In this case, soil-cement blocks cut down the cost of burnt bricks transportation, expensive labour, and non-local soil used for making the bricks. Plus, soil-cement blocks are any day better for the environment.