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Earth Sciences at the University of Fribourg

Bern-Fribourg Master in Earth Sciences

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Details of Master Thesis Topic (Module D):
Characterization of a sustainable building material made of raw earth and hemp

Master Thesis title: Characterization of a sustainable building material made of raw earth and hemp
Description:The construction sector is currently sucking up 25 to 50% of the total energy consumption in Europe. Here, we want to explore the capacities of a natural composite isolation material made of hemp and raw earth, with a negative carbon cost (it stores more CO2 than needed for its production).

This earth-hempcrete is based on a raw earth binder ("loam", i.e. a mixture of sand, silt and clay) mixed with an aggregate of hemp. The hemp core or "Shiv" has a high silica content which allows it to bind well with lime or clays. A Hemp-loam mixture was projected in 2019 and 2020 as a test in a construction site near Basel, during the restoration of an ancient timber house.

The characteristics of the mortar are believed to be equivalent to hemp mortars with lime as a binder, yet very few data exist. During the project, we will create loam and hemp bricks with different proportions and compaction degrees in order to identify the optimal recipe. We want to investigate how the earth-hempcrete reacts to fire, and acquire data on its thermal, acoustic, and structural characteristics.
Advisors:Dr. Guilhem Amin Douillet
Specialities:EM, PAQS
University: BE

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