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Design of interlocking bricks for enhanced wall construction, flexibility, alignment accuracy and load bearing

by Simion Hosea Kintingu
Technology ()


The worldwide housing shortage has stimulated a search for appropriate, easy, fast and cost-effective new ways of wall construction. Among many technologies found to have promise is mortarless technology using dry-stack interlocking bricks/blocks. This thesis is about such mortarless walling technology and in particular: how to improve wall-construction flexibility, the effects of brick irregularities on wall alignment accuracy and wall behaviour (stiffness, strength) when subject to lateral forces. The flexibility of mortarless technology (MT) has been enhanced by the development of new bricks (centre-half bat and tee brick): the introduction of closer bricks led to the formation of two new bonds (patterns) namely Shokse and Lijuja bonds. It is now possible to construct more than half-brick-thick walls, to attach more than half-brickwide piers (buttresses) onto walls, and, using special bricks, to construct polygonal and curved walls using interlocking bricks. Three methods (theoretical modeling, physical experiments and computer simulation) were used to analyze the effects of brick imperfections on wall alignment accuracy. Theoretical analysis confirmed that brick moulders should concentrate on achieving parallel top and bottom faces rather than achieving true square-ness. Physical column assembly compared three brick-laying strategies namely: random, reversing and replace. The columns assembled using the reversing and replace strategies realized alignment improvement factors of 1.6 and 2.9 respectively over random strategy. The research also revealed that grooving, to prevent bricks making contact near their centre lines, improved column alignment by factor 2.13 and stiffness by factor 2.0, thus allowing construction of longer and higher walls without strengthening measures. In order to attain alignment accuracy in accordance with BS 5628-3:2005 in a dry-stack mortarless wall, this research recommends using full bricks with top and bottom surface irregularities not exceeding 0.5mm for un-grooved bricks, and up-to 0.9mm for grooved bricks. Further analysis was undertaken with respect to resource-use implications (cement, water, soil) of employing MT. Using MT will save 50% of wall construction cost and 50% cement consumption, which ultimately will reduce 40% of carbon emissions.

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