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GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?

<x-charset windows-1250>Bruce and all,
This goes straight into the "for what it is worth" department, because I don't know if it is directly applicable.

We lost 3 Straw Bale building in the Oct 2004 fire here in the San Diego, California area - the only 3 that were in the fire zone.
One of the buildings was a 20' round Kiosk built in the Crestridge Eco Preserve.
The inside of the building was a clay plaster with a thick limewash finish coat. The exterior was about 1 1/2" clay plaster. Our mix was about 1/3rd (about 90+% pure) ground clay, 1/3rd plaster sand, and 1/3rd finely-ground straw - we let the horse do the grinding. It is (normally) a very strong mix.
After the fire, I retrieved some pieces of the exterior clay plaster - one of which existed until today, when I gave it a very unofficial 'hose test' - The piece was more cob-like than plaster as it was from around the door frame and filled a fairly large gap. The piece was about 6" X 4" and somewhat triangular in height shape - about 3" in the middle, tapering to about 1" along both sides.
When we disassembled what was left in the rubble, the plaster with 14 gage wire lath had retained its shape - two thin parallel plaster layers with ash between. It was difficult to separate it from the wire, but it was quite crumbly and brittle. I attempted to soak it, in the interest of determining if it was "fired" or still had adhesive characteristics. It had neither adhesive or expansive qualities, and we ground it up and used it as aggregate for the rebuilt Kiosk,

So when I did this hose test, my sample disintegrated in about 30 seconds.
Like I say, for what it's worth.

Bob Bolles
Sustainable Building Systems, Inc
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