Assessment of Cohesive Soil - Cow Dung Mortar Properties as Replacement of Cement Mortar for Simple Plastering Works
The development of local construction industry has resulted in the high demand for cement, used not only for structural but also non structural applications, such as finishing. As a consequence cement has been far from being an affordable material for the good part of the population, especially in the rural areas where financial means are still limited. Regarding the finishing exercise, those people have been using soil mortar alone or reinforced with grasses without any strategy about mixture content. The objective of this study was to assess the performance of cohesive soil mortar mixed with cow dung and establish recommended mix content for plastering works. Twelve samples of soil mortar with 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% of cow dung, were prepared and subjected to drying period of 28 days before they were tested for water absorption, shrinkage, weathering resistance, specific gravity and Atterberg limit tests. The tests showed good results for checked properties with 20% of cow dung, and therefore it could be considered as a low-cost alternative plastering material to cement mortar for some structural members under normal weather conditions. In order to avoid the earlier shrinkage and cracks in this mortar due to spontaneous drying by sun, the mortar should be protected and not be left in open area at earlier stage.
Keywords: Cohesive Soil, Cow dung, Mortar, Shrinkage, Water absorption, Weathering resistance