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RE: GSBN:fire testing UK and bugs in bales

Hi Bruce
Fantastic that you are writing up your test results! Are you including all
results internationally or just those you've recently completed?

The BRE (Building Research Establishment, the main materials testing station
in the UK) have just completed fire testing on 2 bale walls that we built
for them in metal test jigs 1.5m x 1.5m lined with masonry blocks. I have to
sort out a few admin details with them about dissemination of info, but hope
to be able to distribute the results widely asap. The bare bones are that
they were working to British Standard 476: Part 20/22: 1987. The furnace was
turned off after 2 hours 44 minutes. Smoke started coming through to the
other side of the furnace after 1 hour, at the top left hand corner of the
wall, a weak point in the construction due to the type of jig we had to use.
Some cracking appeared in the render on the furnace side over the next hour,
and after 2 hours 20 minutes there was more smoke coming from the left side
of the wall. After 2 hours and 41 minutes lots of flames came from the left
side of the wall. At 2 hours 44 minutes the wall fell out of the jig and the
furnace was turned off. I think there was a design weakness in the jig that
was tested, resulting in the breakthrough of fire in the place where it did.
Nevertheless the results are very good and surprised the BRE who were quite
nervous of doing the test.
The exterior temperature of the wall (non Fire side) reached a maximum of
81.3(C at 2 hours 26 minutes. It began at 24(C at the start of the test,
increased slowly in the first hour and 5 minutes to 34(C then increased much
more quickly in the next 45 minutes to about 76(C, where it levelled off at
about 78(C (averaging results from 5 different sensors). Does anyone know
what this means in terms of U value (Rene and John?). The bales were 600mm
wide x 450mm high x 1m long and weighed approx 48kg each ( we sourced the
absolute best building bales we could to simulate true loadbearing as much
as possible - they were extremely heavy and hard to work with!)
The second test was done on a similar bale wall but using off the peg not
good quality bales to simulate an infill wall (less dense bales). In this
test, smoke came through the other side after 45 minutes, this increased
after 1 hour 18 minutes, and sparks came through after 2 hours and 15
minutes. The wall fell out of the jig after 2 hours and 26 minutes.
In this case the exterior temperature of the wall (non Fire side) reached a
maximum of 65(C at 2 hours 24 minutes. It began at 22(C at the start of the
test, increased slowly in the first hour and 5 minutes to 25(C then
increased much more quickly in the next 55 minutes to about 62(C, where it
levelled off at about 63(C (averaging results from 5 different sensors).

I will be writing some comments and a fuller test description soon, these
results are for information only and not for publication, though I would
really love some feedback on them!

And as for bugs, there was some discussion on the European list a while
back, have you got that info? If not I can send it. And as far as I know the
only strawbale house that has suffered from bugs in the UK and Ireland is
the one that Nicole Edmonds worked on in Scotland. It sounded like the same
thing that happened to Stramit board products 2 decades ago. The BRE did
testing on that bug, which may be the same one we call the book louse as
that's where you generally find them. They are totally hamless but can freak
people out as they flow out from the straw like a stream, and also seem to
hang around on window ledges and at skirtings for a long time, tiny little
white things. You can ask Nicole about it herself on edgearch@...
I'll try and find out more from the BRE.

Best wishes

Amazon Nails
Strawbale Building, Training and Consultancy
Warning: Strawbale building can seriously transform your life!

Tel/fax: 0044 (0)1706 814696
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.strawbalefutures.org.uk";>http://www.strawbalefutures.org.uk</a>
email: info@...

-----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...]On";>mailto:GSBN@...]On</a> Behalf Of Chug.
Sent: 17 July 2004 08:59
Subject: Re: GSBN:bugs in bales

Hi Bruce,

that you are turning your test results into a book is excellent news for
all baleheads, I think psochids are an area that could be looked into,  I
have heard of problems with these critters in SB buildings, and nobody
seems to know how or why they appear and then how or why they dissapear.
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ip/bryanturner/other/index-psocids.html";>http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ip/bryanturner/other/index-psocids.html</a>
there is also a Bugs in Wet Conditions.pdf  in the files section of

keep up the excellent work
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce King" ecobruce@...
To: "Int'l SB network" gsbn@...
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 8:10 PM
Subject: GSBN:bugs in bales

Howdy, baleworld -

The EBNet test program is done, and we are now in the process of turning
findings into a book.

Along with Moisture, Fire, Structure, and Thermal chapters, it seems like a
good idea to have a chapter, however brief, about bugs and other unwanted
invaders.  To my knowledge there has been no formal testing or research,
there does exist a modest bounty of anecdotal knowledge, which I am now
compiling and digesting.

So far I have scrutinized various emails saved over the years (from Matts,
Bill Steen, Andre de Bouter, Catherine Wanek, and others, and reviewed old
issues of TLS (especially #31).

Do any of you have useful or important stories or connections that you'd be
willing to pass along?  I would be very grateful, and, not expecting a lot
of responses, suggest you reply to GSBN as I'm sure others would want to
hear as well.

Finally, if anyone doesn't want to be quoted for some reason, let me know.
I'll be happy to let any &amp; all see a draft when it's done.

Many thanks to all,

Bruce King, PE
Director, Ecological Building Network
209 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-7630
fax 332-4072
bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org

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