Full Scale Straw Bale Vault Test
Full Scale Straw Bale Vault Test


  • David Mar

Published: First International Conference on Ecological Building Structure, Ecological Building Network 2001

This test was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a straw bale vaulted roof system, proposed for a residential project in a seismically active area of California. The prototype roof vault was a composite structure of straw bales, welded wire mesh and stucco. The design to resist shear loads was based on a truss mechanism borrowed from reinforced concrete design. Similarly, the design to resist flexural loads was based on a bending model from reinforced concrete design. The test consisted of loading a four foot segment of the vault to simulate seismic effects. The structure remained stable as it was loaded well into the plastic deformation range; carrying 94% of its ultimate load (over 1.26 g) with an average displacement ductility of 12.6. Testing was concluded when the stroke of the rig was exhausted.


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