Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Daniel Jansen


Seismic Design Manual for Interlocking Compressed Earth Blocks

Nicholas Edwards Kennedy

This thesis presents a comprehensive seismic design manual to be used to design and construct simple Interlocking Compressed Earth Block (ICEB) structures in seismically active regions. ICEBs are earth blocks made primarily of soil and stabilized with cement. They have female and male stud mechanisms designed to interlock when stacked, eliminating the need for mortar. The blocks can accept reinforcement and grout after they are placed. While ICEB construction is similar to conventional masonry construction, current design code standards for masonry only partially capture the actual behavior of ICEB structures. This thesis seeks to supplement the existing masonry design procedures and tailor them for use with ICEBs.

Additionally, this paper presents a preliminary design of ICEB shear walls for a disaster reconstruction project in the Philippines. While many structures in Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago are constructed from earthen blocks, very few are engineered. Of those that are, a lack of formal design guidance specific to ICEB construction leaves most engineers and designers with conventional concrete masonry design practices, some of which are not applicable for use with ICEBs.