Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2016.


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Mark Aschheim


In developing nations, such as Nepal, the structural integrity of houses and other buildings is not up to a high standard due to the lack of updated building codes and economic constraints. This leads to structures that are vulnerable to seismic damage, such as the ones damaged in the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. This project addresses the need to develop a type of construction that is more affordable. The proposed mortar-less interlocking block system is intended to allow communities to create structurally sound buildings at lower costs due to reduced need for skilled masons.

By being able to interlock the Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) blocks, no mortar is required to connect the blocks. Integrity of the wall is ensured by adding vertical reinforcing steel that will be fed through the inside of the blocks and then block voids are filled with grout to strengthen and connect the system components. Additionally, horizontal steel rebar will be added in order to provide seismic shear resistance.

Through testing of the interlocking block, it was determined that construction is possible using the interlocking CMU blocks and held during our testing through the Three Degrees of Freedom Seismic machine. This project showed a proof of concept for a system of interlocking CMUs, and is a stepping stone for further development and characterization of the system.

SCU Access Only

To access this paper, please log into or create an account in Scholar Commons using your email address.