n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - Design and construction aspects of an earth brick dome used for low-cost housing : technical paper

Volume 46, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-2019



A dearth of low-cost housing in South Africa is a current and widespread problem. Although spherical dome structures are not a common form of housing, the shape has many favourable characteristics, which enables a significant reduction in material and construction costs. However, dome structures have several challenging aspects - the analysis is complex and the construction difficult. This paper deals with both issues. The design adapts membrane equations from classical theory, but boundary conditions, which introduce complexities in the analysis, are dealt with in a simplified manner. A method of construction is also proposed to ensure quality control of materials and to ensure that the walls are constructed within acceptable tolerances. A new type of composite wall is also presented - cement-stabilised soil brick and a fibre-impregnated structural plaster. To verify the proposals, a prototype dome was constructed in Mozambique.

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