Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Tonya Nilsson

Second Advisor

Mark Aschheim


Testing for structural properties of earthbag construction was completed using a pilot method for coupling reinforcing steel in mid-height concrete boxes in earthbag walls. Benefits of earthbag wall construction include use of alternative building materials, frugal cost, and ease of construction. The goal of the project was to establish predictable structural standards for eventual inclusion in residential building code(s). Earthbag walls were designed for a 1.5:1 aspect ratio standing at four feet (4’) wide and six feet (6’) tall. Two walls with an innovative concrete coupler connection were constructed over the course of five days and left to dry for three months. Pullout strength of rebar to threaded rod coupling connection was tested while walls dried. Walls were tested under cyclic loading conditions using a Three Degree-of- Freedom (3DOF) Test Frame. These tests aided in the calculation of the seismic factor (R value) for this type of construction, which is helpful in determining risk of seismic demand to buildings.