Material Characterization Of Natural Adobe Plasters In The Jordan Valley: Mining The Past For A More Sustainable Future
Earthen buildings are inhabited by 30% of the world population; half of which are in developing countries. The techniques of earth building are widely practiced but the mechanics of earthen materials are poorly understood. As vernacular knowledge of this practice is being lost with globalization, so to are the environmental, social, and historic benefits that this technology provides. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Jordan Valley, known as having the oldest continuously inhabited human settlements, has remnants of adobe buildings that have proven durable throughout thousands of years. However, the development of the know-how to build with adobe was limited by the introduction of cement based construction materials to the region. To date, there have been no scientific inquiries into characterizing this important material. The goal of this study is to focus on the material aspects of the natural adobe plasters by using nanotechnology including Air Scanning Electron Microscopy (AirSEM), Energydispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and X-ray Diffraction (XRD). The underlying hypothesis is that these complimentary techniques will help better understand the morphology of the ancient adobe plaster that has been used throughout different eras in the Jordan Valley, where, the use of multiple nanocharacterization tools overcomes the limitations of a single tool. The results showed a significant variance in the plaster recipes in different geographical regions of the Jordan Valley. Some additives might have been added to the local soil, like talc that was found in the sample of Hisham's palace, or local soil differences could account for the differences. Finally, the results prove that regardless of the local recipes, people of the Jordan Valley used three different layers in the protection of the exterior walls, each having different ratios of earth materials.
Plasters; Jordan Valley; Characterization
Elliott,John Jack R.
M.A. of Design
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis