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Assessing the Structural properties of the Sandbag wall for alternative housing construction

9 pagesPublished: May 15, 2022


It is estimated that 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing, and more than 100 million people have no housing. In South Africa, about 12.7% of households lived in informal dwellings in 2019. This suggests that the existing conventional methods of construction and materials are incapable of solving the housing problems. The sandbag building material has been proposed as an affordable, sustainable, and recyclable alternative building material capable of accelerating housing provision in South Africa. However, previous studies show significant variations in filling materials used. There is also a lack of understanding of the sandbag wall based on the infill material. Therefore, this study examined the structural properties of the sandbag when filled with dune sand and crusher dust. Laboratory tests included compressive load on a three-bag stack, frictional shear strength between the interface of sandbags, and the structural stability of sandbag walls when subjected to vertical loading. A key finding was that although the displacement limits were reached before the bags failed, the bags of both fill materials could sustain compressive loads far beyond the ultimate design loads with large deflections in the bags. This suggests that the filled sandbags are not the determining factor in the design of sandbag structures.

Keyphrases: building material, Compressive test, Crusher dust, dune sand, Frictional shear, Housing, Sandbag wall, stability

In: Tom Leathem, Wesley Collins and Anthony J. Perrenoud (editors). ASC2022. 58th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference, vol 3, pages 795--803

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Abimbola Windapo and Nicholas Jarrat and Johnson Adetooto and Francesco Pomponi and Fidelis Emuze},
  title     = {Assessing the Structural properties of the Sandbag wall for alternative housing construction},
  booktitle = {ASC2022. 58th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference},
  editor    = {Tom Leathem and Wes Collins and Anthony Perrenoud},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Built Environment},
  volume    = {3},
  pages     = {795--803},
  year      = {2022},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2632-881X},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/w511}}
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