Design and fabrication of a mechanized system for casting and compacting laboratory size clay beams


1 Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah, 67480, Sindh, Pakistan

2 Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology, Nawabshah


To provide low cost residential buildings for shelter of growing population is a challenge in Pakistan. In its plains, it is more economical to use clay as material of construction instead of reinforced cement concrete due to its higher cost and transportation charges. The structural properties of clay can be modified by compacting and baking. A mechanized system to cast, compact and consolidate laboratory size clay beams was designed and fabricated. The intended object of the development of this system was to expel mixed water from indigenous moist clay beams by compaction to the extent of optimum moisture content of the clay. The purpose is that the beams cast and compacted with this system could attain maximum possible dry density. This system is mainly composed of strong and stiff steel mould, truss supported railing, overhead mono-rail system, swash plate hydraulic pump with fixed displacement, two way control valves and a strong and compact bulk head unit. This bulk head is capable to supply the vertically downward compressive force for compaction and consolidation of the clay beams to higher degree of compaction in the moulding chamber of the system. With this system, moist clay was compacted in the mould up to the density of 2000 kg/m3 and the corresponding moisture content was about 13%, where as the optimum moisture content of the clay was 12%. It is concluded that this system can be used for quick production of compressed clay beams, which can be baked and reinforced. Those reinforced baked clay beams can be used as pre-cast panels for construction of low cost houses.