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GSBN: Digest for 5/9/06



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-> Re: GSBN:Moisture research
     by "Jakub Wihan" kuba@...
-> Re: GSBN:Moisture research
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Tom Hahn tomhahn@...
-> Re: GSBN:Moisture research
     by "jakub wihan" kuba@...
-> Re: GSBN:Moisture research
     by billc_lists@...
-> Re: GSBN:Welcome Alex Cicelsky to GSBN
     by Judyknox42@...
-> Re: GSBN:Moisture research
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...


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Date: 9 May 2006 04:34:06 -0600
From: "Jakub Wihan" kuba@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Moisture research

Rikki wrote:
>This is interesting because of the ability of
>the clay to draw the water out of the bales.

>Is there anyone doing testing about that? The ability of clay or lime to
>DRY
>OUT wet bales?

Rikki,
I believe that the research you are interested in has to do with testing 
material's ability to absorb and release moisture from the surrounding 
environment. Tim Padfield did such testing for his PhD thesis:

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php";>http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php</a>

pages: 63-91


He calls this property humidity buffering capacity. Page 91 shows a graphic 
summary for materials like clay, lime, wood, wool, etc.. I found all 
Padfields articles very interesting. He gives among others good basic 
overview on humidity meters:

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/datalog/datlog4.php";>http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/datalog/datlog4.php</a>

 and very importantly he gives a manual on how to calibrate them:

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/satslt/satsalt.php";>http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/satslt/satsalt.php</a>



I'm planning to finish the straw bale/moisture research in autumn 2006, so 
there is plenty of time for you to think about the answers to the 
QUESTIONNAIRE which is downloadable at: 
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.jakubwihan.com/pdf/SB_Moisture_Questionnaire.doc";>http://www.jakubwihan.com/pdf/SB_Moisture_Questionnaire.doc</a>

Rikki, did the people who did the test on the plastered rotten straw bale 
make any documentatioon? Is it available?

Best,

Kuba








- ----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rikki Nitzkin" rikkinitzkin@...
To: "'GSBN'" GSBN@...
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:22 AM
Subject: RE: GSBN:Moisture research


There was a very interesting, if poorly documented experiment done in spain
about rotten bales.

They took extremely rotten, wet, moldy, mushroom sprouting bales and made
the best wall they could.

They then put a thick (about 10cm) layer of straw-clay plaster on top.  In
this hot (40#188#c)sunny climate it took 4 MONTHS for the plaster to dry.
Eventually it did, and they opened a hole in the wall to find dry (if weak
and dusty!) straw behind it. This is interesting because of the ability of
the clay to draw the water out of the bales.

Is there anyone doing testing about that? The ability of clay or lime to DRY
OUT wet bales?

Rikki Nitzkin
Aulas, Lleida, Espana
rikkinitzkin@...
(0034)657 33 51 62
www.casasdepaja.com (Red de Construccion con Balas de Paja)


> -----Mensaje original-----
> De: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] En nombre de Jakub Wihan
> Enviado el: miercoles, 19 de abril de 2006 12:40
> Para: GSBN
> Asunto: Re: GSBN:Moisture research
>
> Dear Martin, Dirk and others
>
>
>
> Thank you very much for your support. The responses I have gotten in the
> last few hours are so encouraging and it goes on...
>
>
>
> During my research, I found a number of studies that have explored the
> microorganism population on straw over time either in laboratories or in
> the
> field. The  classic paper: "How Straw Decomposes"  by Summers, Blunk and
> Jenkins focuses on the quantity of population on rice straw during
> decomposition in a low moisture content environment in sealed containers.
>
>
>
> Does anyone know if a similar study (quantity development of
> microorganisms
> over time) has ever been done on straw directly in a wall?
>
>
>
> There are many practices developed by experience that help to prevent
> moisture failure of a straw bale construction (the questionnaires I
> received
> so far summarize them nicely). One of them is impeccable, but "breathable"
> plaster. I feel that  simple research over a longer period of time on
> development of microorganism quantity on straw in walls covered with
> different plasters could lead to potential improvements in  straw bale
> technology. The influence of plaster on microorganism growth could be
> quite
> complex - for example the moist earth plaster swells up air tight,
> preventing oxygen availability for decomposition, lime is natural
> microorganism killer, etc.
>
>
>
> GrAT, The Center for Appropriate Technology at the Vienna University of
> Technology - is carrying out similar long term research. I'm trying to
> contact them, but they haven't  responded. It seems that the results
> aren't
> available yet.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> And please, to those who haven't done so yet, don't forget to fill out the
> questionnaire.
>
>
>
> Thank you.
>
>
>
> Very best wishes
>
>
>
> Kuba
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
> To: "'GSBN'" GSBN@...
> Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 10:14 AM
> Subject: RE: GSBN:Moisture research
>
>
> > Dear Kuba,
> > I'm happy that you do this work. We're doing some moisture research too.
> >
> > - Moisture/ temperature monitoring on 4 houses - one is being monitored
> > since November, 2004.
> > - Dynamic moisture transport simulation with WUFI
> > - Mold analyzing of embedded straw
> >
> > The goal is to find the best prevention against moisture failure of a
> > straw
> > bale construction and to get this in a buidling code.
> >
> > In the next weeks we'll start a comprehensive research project with more
> > simulations, monitoring and analyzing. Our work and your work would fit
> > together perfectly to describe the complex mold problem of straw bales.
> > Your
> > way to come more from the practical side may be the more significant one
> > for
> > the building site. The way of simulating and mold analyzing for me seems
> > to
> > be a good way to fit the requirements of the german building
> authorities.
> > Our first general approval for straw bales as an insulation material is
> > mainly based on simulations. Unfortunately we were not able to prove the
> > mold resistance of directly earth plastered straw bales, but we hope to
> do
> > this with the upcoming research.
> > We are working together with the Fraunhofer Institut fuer Bauphysik,
> > www.hoki.ibp.fraunhofer.de.
> >
> > Let's get in contact!
> >
> > Perhabs you would like to join our anual straw bale meeting in august,
> > 18th-20th. There are some other international guests.
> >
> > But anyway, I think we'll meet not later than ISBBC in Lakefield, do we?
> >
> > You'll get my filled out questionaire immediately.
> >
> > Greetings,
> >
> > Dirk
> >
> > -----------------------------------------------
> > Fachverband Strohballenbau Deutschland e.V.
> > Auf der Ruebekuhle 10
> > D- 21335 Lueneburg
> > Tel. 00 49 4131- 727804
> > Fax. 00 49 4131- 727805
> > Internet: www.fasba.de
> > Email: ds@...
> >
> > ----
> > GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives
> of
> > regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
> > list are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of
> the
> > GSBN as an advisory board and technical editing arm.
> >
> > For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
> > send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> > ----
> >
> >
>
> ----
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
> regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
> list are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the
> GSBN as an advisory board and technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
> send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> ----



- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
- ----




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

Date: 9 May 2006 10:08:01 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Moisture research


On May 9, 2006, at 3:19 AM, Jakub Wihan wrote:

> Rikki,
> I believe that the research you are interested in has to do with
> testing material's ability to absorb and release moisture from the
> surrounding environment. Tim Padfield did such testing for his PhD
> thesis:
>
> <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php";>http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php</a>
>
> pages: 63-91
>
> He calls this property humidity buffering capacity. Page 91 shows a
> graphic summary for materials like clay, lime, wood, wool, etc.. I
> found all Padfields articles very interesting. He gives among others
> good basic overview on humidity meters:


Jakub --

Maybe it's just me, but I cannot access that site at all -- my search
engine just freezes.

Are you sure you have the correct address?

Also, I tried several times to return your moisture questionaire, but
your email address bounced it back to me every time . . . can you send
us your correct email?

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: 9 May 2006 11:10:58 -0600
From: Tom Hahn tomhahn@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Hello everyone - I am in support of Lorenzo's 
suggestion here (included below) about the need 
for fire separation at the roof/wall interface... 
The U.S. codes require a "nominal 2 inches" of 
wood at the boundary of the wall and roof 
cavities...   Typically in conventional wood 
stick framing, this a U.S. 2 x 4 wood top-plate 
on the stud wall frame, which provides a nominal 
"one-hour" fire resistance at that point.

In our non-load-bearing straw-bale designs, we 
detail one layer of 5/8" (1.5 cm?) thick "Type-X" 
fire-resistive gypsum wall-board attached to the 
underside of the roof structure, prior to 
installing the bales/flakes up to the underside 
of the roof.  In our load-bearing designs, we 
build the box-beam roof-bearing assembly up out 
of wood I-joists and OSB (oriented strand board) 
and put one layer of Type-X gypsum wall-board on 
the underside of the box-beam prior to putting it 
in place on top of the wall.

Each of these approaches also gives a nominal 
"one-hour" fire rating between roof and wall 
cavities.  To increase this value, additional 
layers of Type-X can be added, gaining another 
"hour" of resistance per layer.

Using the gypsum wall-board in a non-load-bearing 
wall/roof system saves us the complexity (and 
potential for gaps) of putting stucco or plaster 
on top of the walls, and also protects the bottom 
edges of the framing, continuously.  In a 
load-bearing wall, using the gypsum wall-board 
avoids the challenge of putting a viable layer of 
plaster on top of the wall prior to putting the 
roof-bearing assembly on.  My concern here would 
be that the plaster/stucco coating cracks from 
the loading of the roof, leaving gaps for the 
fire to work its way through.

Tom Hahn
Principal Architect, Sol Source Architecture &amp; Building Research
Licensed Builder, GreenMeans Ecological Construction Consultants
Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona, USA
<<a  target="_blank" href="mailto://THahn@ssiarch.com";>mailto://THahn@...>
<<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.ssiarch.com";>http://www.ssiarch.com</a>>


>hello you all,
>
>Thats  a very reallistic approach of factual situations.
>In a house fire , even when flames start at a low positition (kitchen for
>ex.) heat reaches always the upper surfaces, ceiling or roof. And
>accumulates there, where a lot of wood in variable thickness is available.
>This is how the whole roof begins to burn. In a strawbale wall, the weak
>point would then be beam/roof plate as you sayed.
>To make a good testing , leading to improve resistence to fire, I suggest
>that top bales would be carefully covered with a good layer of earth,
>possibly mixed with enough sand and chopped straw, in order to get a reall
>"shield" under the beam/roof plate. The earth coat should ideally be 2 or 3
>inches thick.
>Tests coul d be done on a specially built "portion" of wall with its
>connection to a piece of roofing structure. And this is good against water
>too: when firemen will turn out the fire, water wont be running straight
>into the walls.
>
>Lorenzo Robles
>Mazeuil, France  lorobles55@...
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Rikki Nitzkin" rikkinitzkin@...
>To: "'GSBN'" GSBN@...
>Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:35 AM
>Subject: RE: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
>
>
>HI all,
>
>Has anyone thought about testing Clay-lime Plaster?  I have found that
>adding a small amount of lime into a clay plaster makes it much more
>resistant to water, and fire as well I imagine.
>
>If I were to test lime I would do it without cement, supposing that if
>anything the cement would make it more fire-proof and lime (and clay) is
>plenty good enough with no cement.  Why is it that Americans are so in love
>with cement (being an expat myself and Polish I feel free to make jokes
>about both!)?
>
>As for sticking to the walls, I should think that spraying limewash onto the
>bales with pressure (so it penetrates) before plastering should allow the
>plaster to stick just fine.  As for fire resistance, there is a Spanish
>engineer who actually dips the bales in recently slaked lime before
>building, and he has taken a blow torch to the bales and says they refuse to
>burn...What would dipping just the inside/outside faces of the bales in a
>lime-wash do?  Would that make the plaster stick more? Be more resistant to
>fire?  Sort of like Tom Rijven's "French dip" but with lime instead of clay.
>
>And sorry to drone on, but another builder I know mentioned that the fires
>tend to start in the roof and work their way into the bales through the roof
>beams/roof plate...so shouldn't we test how long it takes the fire to work
>into the bales from above, not the sides?  I don't know how this could be
>tested as I am no engineer.  Just thoughts...
>
>Rikki Nitzkin
>Aulas, Lleida, Espana
>rikkinitzkin@...
>(0034)657 33 51 62
>www.casasdepaja.com (Red de Construccion con Balas de Paja)
>


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

Date: 9 May 2006 13:30:23 -0600
From: "jakub wihan" kuba@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Moisture research


Bruce,

I don't know why, but this link does function for me. I would really like
to receive your questionaire. Here are my three addresses- it should get
through on one of them.

kuba@...
kuba77@...
sharon.najarian@...

Hope this helps and many thanks for your efforts to get the questionnaire
back to me.

Kuba



> On May 9, 2006, at 3:19 AM, Jakub Wihan wrote:
>
>> Rikki,
>> I believe that the research you are interested in has to do with
>> testing material's ability to absorb and release moisture from the
>> surrounding environment. Tim Padfield did such testing for his PhD
>> thesis:
>>
>> <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php";>http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php</a>
>>
>> pages: 63-91
>>
>> He calls this property humidity buffering capacity. Page 91 shows a
>> graphic summary for materials like clay, lime, wood, wool, etc.. I
>> found all Padfields articles very interesting. He gives among others
>> good basic overview on humidity meters:
>
>
> Jakub --
>
> Maybe it's just me, but I cannot access that site at all -- my search
> engine just freezes.
>
> Are you sure you have the correct address?
>
> Also, I tried several times to return your moisture questionaire, but
> your email address bounced it back to me every time . . . can you send
> us your correct email?
>
> 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
>
>
> --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---
> multipart/alternative
>   text/plain (text body -- kept)
>   text/enriched
> ---
> ----
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
> regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
> list are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the
> GSBN as an advisory board and technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
> send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> ----
>
>
>


Kuba



3 Blvd. de la Villette
75010 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 41 04 94



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

Date: 9 May 2006 15:20:53 -0600
From: billc_lists@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Moisture research

Don't know why it didn't work for Bruce, but I've downloaded the full
thesis PDF (8mb) and  made it available temporarily at
<a  target="_blank" href="http://sustainablesources.com/test/tp_phd.pdf";>http://sustainablesources.com/test/tp_phd.pdf</a>

It's 8mb.  Watch out if you're on a slow connection!

At 8:51 AM -0700 5/9/06, Bruce King wrote:
>On May 9, 2006, at 3:19 AM, Jakub Wihan wrote:
>
>>Rikki,
>>I believe that the research you are interested in has to do with
>>testing material's ability to absorb and release moisture from the
>>surrounding environment. Tim Padfield did such testing for his PhD
>>thesis:
>>
>><a  target="_blank" href="http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php";>http://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/phd/phd-indx.php</a>
>>
>>pages: 63-91
>>
>>He calls this property humidity buffering capacity. Page 91 shows a
>>graphic summary for materials like clay, lime, wood, wool, etc.. I
>>found all Padfields articles very interesting. He gives among others
>>good basic overview on humidity meters:
>
>
>Jakub --
>
>Maybe it's just me, but I cannot access that site at all -- my search
>engine just freezes.
>
>Are you sure you have the correct address?
>
>Also, I tried several times to return your moisture questionaire, but
>your email address bounced it back to me every time . . . can you send
>us your correct email?
>
>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
>
>
>--- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---
>multipart/alternative
>  text/plain (text body -- kept)
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>---
>----
>GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and
>representatives of regional straw construction organizations. The
>costs of operating this list are underwritten by The Last Straw
>Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN as an advisory board and
>technical editing arm.
>



- --
Bill Christensen
<<a  target="_blank" href="http://sustainablesources.com/contact/";>http://sustainablesources.com/contact/</a>>

Green Building Professionals Directory: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://directory.sustainablesources.com";>http://directory.sustainablesources.com</a>>
Sustainable Building Calendar: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/";>http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/</a>>
Green Real Estate: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/";>http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/</a>>
Straw Bale Registry: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/";>http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/</a>>
Books/videos/software: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/";>http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/</a>>


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

Date: 9 May 2006 15:30:37 -0600
From: Judyknox42@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Welcome Alex Cicelsky to GSBN

Greetings Alex and community members,

Matts and want to personally welcome you to the GSBN.  We have just finished
the last of the wonderful Lotan dates you gave us during your visit in our
kitchen years ago.  We have admired your perseverance and work as champions
over
the years, and know that you will be a wonderful addition to our forum.

Judy anbd Matts

Judy Knox and Matts Myhrman
Out On Bale
1037 E. Linden St.
Tucson, Az  85719
520-622-6896
judyknox42@...
mattsmyhrman@...

Each of us can and must champion the evolutionary breakthroughs necessary to
sustain all life.  The journey of a champion is difficult, AND our access to a
joyful life.
Judy Knox


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Date: 9 May 2006 15:51:05 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Moisture research


On May 9, 2006, at 2:07 PM, billc_lists@...:

> Don't know why it didn't work for Bruce, but I've downloaded the full
> thesis PDF (8mb) and  made it available temporarily at
> <a  target="_blank" href="http://sustainablesources.com/test/tp_phd.pdf";>http://sustainablesources.com/test/tp_phd.pdf</a>
>
> It's 8mb.  Watch out if you're on a slow connection!


Thanks, Bill -- that worked for me.

Bruce



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

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