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GSBN: Digest for 4/25/06



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-> fire test -- your opinions?
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Bob Theis bob@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Andrew Webb design@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Andrew Webb design@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Maurice Bennett mbenn1035@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Andrew Webb design@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by "Bohdan Dorniak & Co Pty Ltd" bdco@...


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Date: 25 Apr 2006 16:52:47 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: fire test -- your opinions?



Everybody --

An ASTM fire test will be conducted this summer in San Antonio, Texas
on two different wall types.  After much thought and discussion with
David Eisenberg, and many baleheads at the recent CASBA 10th
anniversary celebration, the tentative wall types are two-string Texas
wheat bales---one with bales flat, and one with bales on edge---both
with no pins or mesh, and both with two coats of lime-cement plaster.

If anyone feels strongly that we should test some other assembly,
please do speak up;  David and I both feel that this is too important
for us to decide by ourselves.

John Glassford and others have suggested earth plaster, sensing that it
may outperform lime or lime-cement.  And you may well be right, but in
the current and foreseeable building environment, the people who will
need a fire rating for their building (I suspect) will also need the
higher hardness and durability of lime-cement.

Any comments?

Thanks!

Bruce King, PE
Director, Ecological Building Network  ( www.ecobuildnetwork.org )
Publisher, Green Building Press  ( www.greenbuildingpress.com )
209 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965  USA
(415) 331-7630
bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org

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Date: 25 Apr 2006 17:41:49 -0600
From: Bob Theis bob@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

>


Bruce,

You can predict my response to your query, but I'll post it in the
spirit of group discussion.

These tests will  have the most impact in enabling straw bale
construction to move into more urban contexts.  Builders of such
projects will be going out on a limb to use straw bale to begin
with;  I can't imagine them making the further leap to earth plasters
for quite some time.

And I doubt, were I the architect,  I would press for earth plasters
in most cases; the more urban the context, the more human wear and
tear exterior finishes must withstand. Earth in the city is so
fragile that even lying flat it often needs protection from people.

Given the limitation to two tests,  you've chosen the most
representative configurations to examine.   ( I am so curious to see
if the strings melt on the bales on edge, and  if that happens,  what
the fire hose at the test's  conclusion does to the wall. )

Please ask them to examine the bales as the test walls are taken
apart. I assume we will get a video?


Bob

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Date: 25 Apr 2006 18:19:18 -0600
From: Andrew Webb design@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Hi Bruce,

I am particularly interested in lime without cement and would like to
know what effect adding mesh or fibre has on the rating. Given that many
fire walls are internal walls or else are used where buildings are in
close proximity to each other, it makes sense to do just bales on edge,
if you are limited to 2 tests, and vary the render.  I agree that the
types of buildings that need fire-ratings are less likely to use earth
render.  On the other hand, not having data on earth means that those
buildings will not be able to use it.  If I had to choose two I would go
for lime-sand and lime-sand with fibreglas mesh.  However, ultimately I
want to know the minimal assembly to achieve a two hour rating; whatever
that may be.

Do the ASTM tests give a simple hour rating or is it in the form of
structural adequacy/integrity/insulation?  The building code of
Australia uses the latter.

Regards,
Andrew Webb



Bruce King wrote:
>
>
> Everybody --
>
> An ASTM fire test will be conducted this summer in San Antonio, Texas
> on two different wall types.  .........
> Any comments?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Bruce King, PE



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 25 Apr 2006 18:33:26 -0600
From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Bruce -

I communicated with you about the fire tests a month ago, but with some new
information I will express my latest opinion, and offer some thoughts to the
GSBN people.

If I had to pick one wall, two-string bales laid flat with cement-lime
plaster is definitely the right choice in my opinion.  Regarding no mesh, I
think I see the point, but worry that without the mesh some sections of
plaster might pop off the bales under intense heat and cause a major failure
in the test.  Is this a real possibility or just my imagination run amok?

You are now able to conduct two tests, which is great, and thanks to all who
contributed to allow it to happen.  So . . .

Previously I advocated that bales on-edge be tested (to test for the effect
of presumed melting/popping polypropylene strings among other things, and to
satisfy the many on-edge practitioners (maybe we are a bit on-edge)), but
not far behind that is my strong desire to see clay based plasters tested.
For the many practitioners who use earthen plasters (some exclusively), and
the direction it seems to be heading.

I wonder if there's a way to have it all with two tests.  Assuming the walls
will be approximately 8'x8' (6.2mx6.2m) can you:

A) Have a cement-lime wall with half of it laid flat and half of it on-edge
(I ask this without knowing the dimensions of the bales you will use), and
then have the other wall laid flat with clay plasters. (or the reverse)

OR

B) Test the first wall as you have it, and test the second wall with bales
on-edge and with clay plaster.

'A' might present some construction and protocol problems.  With 'B', I
suspect both tests would be successful (for 2 hour) and thus we could have
it all.

If clay plaster is used I assume you would use no mesh (potential spalling
problem?) and I'm wondering what thickness you would use.  1 1/2"? (3.8mm).

Also, will the test be done in accordance with ASTM E119?


Martin Hammer (and The Melting/Popping, Polypropylene String Band)
California



>
> Everybody --
>
> An ASTM fire test will be conducted this summer in San Antonio, Texas
> on two different wall types.  After much thought and discussion with
> David Eisenberg, and many baleheads at the recent CASBA 10th
> anniversary celebration, the tentative wall types are two-string Texas
> wheat bales---one with bales flat, and one with bales on edge---both
> with no pins or mesh, and both with two coats of lime-cement plaster.
>
> If anyone feels strongly that we should test some other assembly,
> please do speak up;  David and I both feel that this is too important
> for us to decide by ourselves.
>
> John Glassford and others have suggested earth plaster, sensing that it
> may outperform lime or lime-cement.  And you may well be right, but in
> the current and foreseeable building environment, the people who will
> need a fire rating for their building (I suspect) will also need the
> higher hardness and durability of lime-cement.
>
> Any comments?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Bruce King, PE



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 25 Apr 2006 19:45:59 -0600
From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

I'm following up with additional comments, after reading Bob Theis and
Andrew Webb's replies.

It's true that fire-rated walls are more likely to be used in urban
contexts.  Especially 2-hour walls.  But I wouldn't assume that clay based
plasters are less likely to be used in an urban context than a sub-urban or
rural context.  This is probably true for a building's exterior surface, but
it might be less true for interior surfaces.

Also, it is not uncommon (at least in the US) for 1-hours walls to be
required for a residence or accessory building in a suburban context because
of proximity to a property line.  Plus there is the routinely required
residence/garage 1-hour separation (garage side only) (in the US).

Then there are occupancy separations and area separations for larger
buildings, which would be interior walls, where I could see a preference for
a fire-rated wall with a clay based plaster.

Regarding Andrew's suggestion that the walls be tested with lime plaster, it
seems that lime plaster, cement-lime plaster, and cement plaster would
perform more or less the same, and if one succeeded, you could reasonably
infer that the others could be substituted to yield an equally rated wall.
I say this being aware of the extremely rigid adherence to tested assemblies
which is usually enforced in the US.  But if you accept the idea that you
pick one of those plasters to represent the performance of all three, I
would go with cement-lime for the obvious reason that it is a hybrid of the
other two.  Although maybe I would make it 1 part cement to 2 parts lime in
order for its material characteristics to be halfway between the other the
two?

More grist for the mill.

Martin Hammer








Your point that rated walls are more likely necessary in
commercial/institutional situations is true, but I can see clay plasters
being used there, plus there are residential situations that demand a 1-hour
wall



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 25 Apr 2006 20:06:09 -0600
From: Andrew Webb design@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Since cement is the darling of the conventional building world it would
be more useful to do tests without it because I doubt anyone would have
trouble with authorities if they wanted to add it in to the mix.  On the
other hand, if cement is included in the test render then the inclusion
of cement is more likely to be enforced.  If there is a good chance of
it passing at least an hour rating then it would be good to include
earth render in the tests.

- -Andrew Webb


Martin Hammer wrote:
> ......But if you accept the idea that you
> pick one of those plasters to represent the performance of all three, I
> would go with cement-lime for the obvious reason that it is a hybrid of the
> other two.  Although maybe I would make it 1 part cement to 2 parts lime in
> order for its material characteristics to be halfway between the other the
> two?
>
> More grist for the mill.
>
> Martin Hammer
>
>
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 25 Apr 2006 20:07:47 -0600
From: Maurice Bennett mbenn1035@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Thanks Martin Hammer - it's nice to see some humor
with all this serious (and it is serious and
important) discussion about what to test.

The ceremonial bonfire at the CASBA 10th celebration
proved that indeed polypropolene?? does indeed
melt/pop and crackle.

MHB

- --- Martin Hammer mfhammer@... wrote:

> Bruce -
>
> I communicated with you about the fire tests a month
> ago, but with some new
> information I will express my latest opinion, and
> offer some thoughts to the
> GSBN people.
>
> If I had to pick one wall, two-string bales laid
> flat with cement-lime
> plaster is definitely the right choice in my
> opinion.  Regarding no mesh, I
> think I see the point, but worry that without the
> mesh some sections of
> plaster might pop off the bales under intense heat
> and cause a major failure
> in the test.  Is this a real possibility or just my
> imagination run amok?
>
> You are now able to conduct two tests, which is
> great, and thanks to all who
> contributed to allow it to happen.  So . . .
>
> Previously I advocated that bales on-edge be tested
> (to test for the effect
> of presumed melting/popping polypropylene strings
> among other things, and to
> satisfy the many on-edge practitioners (maybe we are
> a bit on-edge)), but
> not far behind that is my strong desire to see clay
> based plasters tested.
> For the many practitioners who use earthen plasters
> (some exclusively), and
> the direction it seems to be heading.
>
> I wonder if there's a way to have it all with two
> tests.  Assuming the walls
> will be approximately 8'x8' (6.2mx6.2m) can you:
>
> A) Have a cement-lime wall with half of it laid flat
> and half of it on-edge
> (I ask this without knowing the dimensions of the
> bales you will use), and
> then have the other wall laid flat with clay
> plasters. (or the reverse)
>
> OR
>
> B) Test the first wall as you have it, and test the
> second wall with bales
> on-edge and with clay plaster.
>
> 'A' might present some construction and protocol
> problems.  With 'B', I
> suspect both tests would be successful (for 2 hour)
> and thus we could have
> it all.
>
> If clay plaster is used I assume you would use no
> mesh (potential spalling
> problem?) and I'm wondering what thickness you would
> use.  1 1/2"? (3.8mm).
>
> Also, will the test be done in accordance with ASTM
> E119?
>
>
> Martin Hammer (and The Melting/Popping,
> Polypropylene String Band)
> California
>
>
>
> >
> > Everybody --
> >
> > An ASTM fire test will be conducted this summer in
> San Antonio, Texas
> > on two different wall types.  After much thought
> and discussion with
> > David Eisenberg, and many baleheads at the recent
> CASBA 10th
> > anniversary celebration, the tentative wall types
> are two-string Texas
> > wheat bales---one with bales flat, and one with
> bales on edge---both
> > with no pins or mesh, and both with two coats of
> lime-cement plaster.
> >
> > If anyone feels strongly that we should test some
> other assembly,
> > please do speak up;  David and I both feel that
> this is too important
> > for us to decide by ourselves.
> >
> > John Glassford and others have suggested earth
> plaster, sensing that it
> > may outperform lime or lime-cement.  And you may
> well be right, but in
> > the current and foreseeable building environment,
> the people who will
> > need a fire rating for their building (I suspect)
> will also need the
> > higher hardness and durability of lime-cement.
> >
> > Any comments?
> >
> > Thanks!
> >
> > Bruce King, PE
>

>
>


Maurice and Joy Bennett


You must be the change you want to see in the world.   Gandhi




----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 25 Apr 2006 20:16:46 -0600
From: Andrew Webb design@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Sorry, one other point.  Since all earth is not equal, will the results
of a test on earth render be widely relevant?  Would it have to be
coupled with strict structural/composition tests for the earth itself?

- -AW
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 25 Apr 2006 22:07:11 -0600
From: "Bohdan Dorniak & Co Pty Ltd" bdco@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Hi Bruce
Good to hear that fire testing will be done on lime rendered bales a shere
in South Australia that is our preferred method.

In our Building Code we talk about frl's ie Fir eresistance levels and
generally for residential projects the requirement is 60minutes frl.
For small commercial projects it is usually 90 to 120 minutes frl.
Generally the test goes to a failure mode.
These results would be most helpful for us here in Australia
Good luck with these tests and we all wholeheartly support your test and
your enthusiasm.

regards
Bohdan  Dorniak

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce King" ecobruce@...
To: "GSBN Int'l SB network" gsbn@...
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 6:50 AM
Subject: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?


>
>
> Everybody --
>
> An ASTM fire test will be conducted this summer in San Antonio, Texas
> on two different wall types.  After much thought and discussion with
> David Eisenberg, and many baleheads at the recent CASBA 10th
> anniversary celebration, the tentative wall types are two-string Texas
> wheat bales---one with bales flat, and one with bales on edge---both
> with no pins or mesh, and both with two coats of lime-cement plaster.
>
> If anyone feels strongly that we should test some other assembly,
> please do speak up;  David and I both feel that this is too important
> for us to decide by ourselves.
>
> John Glassford and others have suggested earth plaster, sensing that it
> may outperform lime or lime-cement.  And you may well be right, but in
> the current and foreseeable building environment, the people who will
> need a fire rating for their building (I suspect) will also need the
> higher hardness and durability of lime-cement.
>
> Any comments?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Bruce King, PE
> Director, Ecological Building Network  ( www.ecobuildnetwork.org )
> Publisher, Green Building Press  ( www.greenbuildingpress.com )
> 209 Caledonia St.
> Sausalito, CA 94965  USA
> (415) 331-7630
> bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org
>
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