Kassahun Admassu (PhD)

This is a research result launched at the Materials Research and Testing Center (MRTC)/EiABC, thanks to the fund allotted by the Institute in 2011. The launch was in compliance with the Center’s establishment delegation and responsibility pillars of: Teaching, Research and Industrial services. It was the first of its kind research fund allocated for the Center in just about thirty five years. It indeed was a moment of golden opportunity of the then ignited reform at EiABC.

The research went through four rigorous phases: Materials identification and laboratory testing including specimen examination, Filing of application based on the finding to the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office for a legal registration and patent, Launching a pilot project as an application and public outreach show case, and publishing a finding article in a scientific journal of international reputation. All the four phases were successfully implemented/completed and the next action is at a pause to jump on to an industrial level of production and subsequent application.


Phase One: Laboratory

Specimens ready for test 

Specimens ready for test 

Compression test 

Compression Test 

Drip test 

Drip Test Water 


Absorption Test


Phase Two: Issuance of Invention Certificate and Patent Plus Exhibition at Addis Ababa Chamber

Patent cettificate        Patent Certificate  Exhibition opening ceremony      Exhibition Opening Ceremony       MRTC    MRTC Booth

phase three

Phase Four: Abstract of the Journal Article

Use of Amended Soils for Compressed Block and Mortar in Earthen Construction
Kassahun Admassu
Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, Materials Research and Testing Center, AAU This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The paper presents the results of a research conducted aiming at developing a method of producing building block and mortar from locally available natural soils and earth minerals. The main focus of the effort is to establish or advance wall making building blocks and jointing/binding mortars from amended soils with cementitious raw lime/non-factory manufactured and pozzolanic minerals. The targeted beneficiaries of the success are the over eighty million disadvantaged Ethiopians residing in the rural and semi-rural areas of the country. They deserve a decent, sustainable, eco-friendly and a popular technology based habitat.

The long journey towards achieving the noble goal was initiated by investigating the suitability of soils and earth minerals, preparation and testing of informative specimens and the production of mortar cubes and proto-type building blocks in their actual size to simulate field application conditions. The specifics of this particular move is thoroughly focusing on the two prime parameters of compressive strength and durability (water resistance) which are the determinant factors for the viable application of earth based wall making in puts. The attained results of the effort indicated that the designed mix proportioning of the ingredients confirmed that the products are acceptable both in compressive strength and durability terms for the intended purpose. To this effect, the blocks produced using the proposed method, are named as amended compressed earth blocks (ACEBs).
Keywords: Amended compressed earth block (ACEB), Earthen construction, Durability, Earth minerals, Mortar

To conclude, I very much appreciate all the co-operations and supports endowed to me and the team by the EiABC staff and community throughout the just concluded arduous task. It was quite a wonderful time of engagement. Above all, MRTC is wholeheartedly committed to work in unison along all its established pillars. Thank you again for the interest you all show in our services. Let’s move forward!

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