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AR40392: Natural building materials

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2013/4
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment: CW 20%, EX 80%
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Reassessment exam (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
To develop an awareness of and enthusiasm for building design and construction using natural materials and methods, and develop understanding and ability.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of the unit the student will be able to demonstrate:
* a broad understanding of the context, characteristics, manufacture and applications of natural building materials;
* sufficient knowledge and insight to design, specify and build with confidence using natural materials and methods.

A range of knowledge and analytical techniques necessary for the architectural and building engineering design using natural building materials.

Outline the main issues of sustainability relating to building materials: environmental impact; CO2 emissions; embodied energy; recycling of materials; role of natural materials; vernacular building methods and appropriate technology. Designing to take account of unfamiliar material properties and appropriate construction methods; designing in the absence of prescriptive codes of practice.
These issues are then to be considered in relation to the following material types and construction methods. Depth of coverage may vary between these areas, and additional materials/technologies may be introduced into or removed from the unit with the development of appropriate technologies.
Earthen construction: adobe; rammed earth; cob; compressed block; wattle & daub; soil mortars; material suitability; stability, durability, manufacture; characteristics; applications; design; case studies.
Timber construction: natural 'green' timber construction; properties & characteristics; production and treatments; building technology; applications; traditional connections; design; case studies.
Natural fibre construction: bamboo; straw bale; grasses and leaves; wool; turf roofs; animal skins; properties and characteristics; applications; building technology; design principles; case studies.
Natural binders: pozzolans; gypsum; lime; sulphur concrete; production and characteristics; techniques (lime mortar; lime-crete); applications; design principles; case studies.
Stone: materials (rock types); sources and extraction; environmental impact; properties; durability; applications (foundations, walls, roofs, and floors); design; case studies.
Waste materials: waste paper and textiles; sewage sludge; coal wastes; blast furnace slag; bauxite waste; rubble; rice husks; coconut wastes; wood residues; water hyacinth; vegetable wastes; applications; case studies.
Caves and underground dwellings; ice (igloos).
A number of external expert speakers will be invited to deliver specialist lectures (e.g timber construction; use of lime).
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

AR40392 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering
  • TEAR-AFM19 : MSc Civil Engineering: Innovative Structural Materials (Full-time) - Year 1

AR40392 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering
  • UEAR-AFM03 : MEng (hons) Civil and Architectural Engineering (Full-time) - Year 4
  • UEAR-AKM03 : MEng (hons) Civil and Architectural Engineering (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 5
  • UEAR-AFM07 : MEng (hons) Civil Engineering (Full-time) - Year 4
  • UEAR-AKM07 : MEng (hons) Civil Engineering (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 5

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2013/4 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2014/15 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2013/14.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.