Frontiers in Biomaterials

Frontiers in Biomaterials

Volume: 6

Bio-Inspired Materials

Nature has provided opportunities for scientists to observe patterns in biomaterials which can be imitated when designing construction materials. Materials designed with natural elements can be ...
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Current Developments and Future Needs for Natural Earth Construction: A State-of-the-Art Review

Pp. 97-126 (30)

Ana Cecilia Vieira Nobrega and Normando Perazzo Barbosa


A more sustainable and conscientious world desires to go back in time to use environmentally friendly construction materials, earthen materials. However, the simplicity of such materials has not yet been properly addressed in either academic or field research; at the same time natural earth construction is far from mature. In this scenario, we summarize the development of natural earth construction during the last few years. Recent publications including a number of books and journals on natural building are reviewed, while emphasizing the impacts of field research. Controversies and gaps in understanding are identified, and we discuss the advances of these modern ideas through the years. Topics include a review of natural earth building; materials selection; property evaluation; academic and field studies; and a state-of-the-art review on current developments (Adobe, Compressed earth blocks, Cob, Rammed earth, Earthbag construction, Earth floors, and Earth wall finishes). Recent developments in standards for earthen building materials are also reviewed. This chapter concludes with perspectives and future needs in natural earth construction, those which may have significant impacts on the advancing field.


Earth construction, sustainable building, stabilized earth, compressed earth block, rammed earth, natural building material.


Department of Civil Engineering, Federal University of Pernambuco, Joao Pessoa-PB, Brazil.