Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Daniel C. Jansen


This thesis presents results from testing of interlocking compressed earth block (CEB) masonry shear walls. CEBs are low strength earth masonry units sometimes stabilized with cement or lime. The interlocking compressed earth blocks (ICEBs) used in this experiment are dry stacked interlocking hollow units, which can be reinforced and grouted after they are laid. Although significant research has been undertaken to optimize the material properties of CEBs, little has been done to investigate the performance of structural systems currently being built using this technology.

Test results are reported for three 1800 mm x 1800 mm wall specimens constructed with cement stabilized ICEBs and subjected to cyclic in-plane lateral loading. Wall specifications were varied to identify the shear performance of partial and fully grouted walls, and to observe the performance of a flexure dominated wall panel. It was determined that the shear strength of fully grouted walls is significantly higher than that of partially grouted walls and calculation of capacity based on current ACI 530-08 masonry provisions significantly overestimates the shear strength of ICEB wall panels. Based on the observed performance, recommendations are made for limiting the calculated nominal shear strength in design. Results also indicate that calculations based on simple bending theory conservatively predict the flexural strength of a fully grouted ICEB wall. Discussion of ICEB material properties and recommendations for design and construction procedures are included.