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Pise (Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth)

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Builder David Easton recently developed a new, less labor-intensive way of creating a rammed-earth-type home. The process is called Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth - named PISE by Easton in honor of the French tradition of rammed earth construction.

PISE is another earth-based building material that looks and performs much like rammed earth or adobe. PISE has all the environmental benefits of rammed earth, but with one important advantage - its quick-lock forming systems, which speeds up the building process. Trained crews can complete up to 1000 square feet of 18" thick wall per day.

The process, however, is more complex than traditional rammed earth. A mixture of earth, cement and water is sprayed through the oversized hoses of a gunite machine - equipment normally used in the construction of swimming pools - and builds up against the one-sided forms. The carefully controlled mixture is just moist enough to stack up against the form without slumping. The nozzle operator moves along the wall, spraying the PISE mix 18-to-24 inches thick and in layer two-to-three feet high. As the wall begins to firm up, any irregularities are shaved off to create a plumb, smooth wall. In 30 minutes to an hour, another two-to-three feet high layer can be added to the wall. Once the PISE dries, the forms are removed.

Because the forms against which the PISE mixture is sprayed are one-sided, they can be set up and removed quickly. Their open design allows plumbers and electricians to easily put pipes and conduits in place before the wall is cast. And one-sided forms make it easy to incorporate reinforcing steel - rebar - in the wall being sprayed, an important addition for earthquake safety. The addition of steel makes it possible to build taller walls that bear more weight.

PISE technology is relatively new, so it is not widely available. It requires sophisticated equipment and meticulous control over mix designs. PISE continues to be researched and developed to improve its quick-lock forming systems, versatile soil mixes, soil amendments, and improved delivery equipment.

 

PISE Walls

PISE (Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth) is a building method that utilizes the standard equipment for gunited concrete which mixes the dry materials with water at the nozzel where the material is pneumatically placed onto one-sided formwork. The final finish is a monolithic material with a uniform look. The appearance is somewhat different on the side placed against the formwork and on the exposed side. This link shows the earthen material being removed to create the exterior surface. Cement is a common material used to stabilize the gunited earthen material. ©2010 ELT & Associates

Builder David Easton recently developed a new, less labor-intensive way of creating a rammed-earth-type home. The process is called Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth - named PISE by Easton in honor of the French tradition of rammed earth construction.

PISE is another earth-based building material that looks and performs much like rammed earth or adobe. PISE has all the environmental benefits of rammed earth, but with one important advantage - its quick-lock forming systems, which speeds up the building process. Trained crews can complete up to 1000 square feet of 18" thick wall per day.

The process, however, is more complex than traditional rammed earth. A mixture of earth, cement and water is sprayed through the oversized hoses of a gunite machine - equipment normally used in the construction of swimming pools - and builds up against the one-sided forms. The carefully controlled mixture is just moist enough to stack up against the form without slumping. The nozzle operator moves along the wall, spraying the PISE mix 18-to-24 inches thick and in layer two-to-three feet high. As the wall begins to firm up, any irregularities are shaved off to create a plumb, smooth wall. In 30 minutes to an hour, another two-to-three feet high layer can be added to the wall. Once the PISE dries, the forms are removed.

Because the forms against which the PISE mixture is sprayed are one-sided, they can be set up and removed quickly. Their open design allows plumbers and electricians to easily put pipes and conduits in place before the wall is cast. And one-sided forms make it easy to incorporate reinforcing steel - rebar - in the wall being sprayed, an important addition for earthquake safety. The addition of steel makes it possible to build taller walls that bear more weight.

PISE technology is relatively new, so it is not widely available. It requires sophisticated equipment and meticulous control over mix designs. PISE continues to be researched and developed to improve its quick-lock forming systems, versatile soil mixes, soil amendments, and improved delivery equipment.