Pumice aggregate can be found in many places
around the world where volcanoes are and have been present (Photo
on left: local phillipine pumice supplier).
Although it has been used successfully in many countries finding
new and improved ways to build with pumice is becoming widespread.
New sources of volcanic aggregate are being produced steadily.
The Caribbean island of Monseratt
has recently witnessed one of its volcanoes erupting and emitting
large quantities of pumice aggregate in the lava flows. Of course
these volcanic eruptions are very dangerous catastrophes but what
they leave after the danger has passed is often a very useful material.
Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in the early1990's and
did a tremendous amount of damage. A fertile and very beautiful
rice growing valley was totally overrun by the flow of hot volcanic
lava (Photo on right: Fertile
rice fields were turned into lava/pumice wasteland).
This displaced the residents of the area, many of which were farmers.
Many were forced into temporary housing in tent cities and many
were just made homeless. Presently the much of the valley is a wasteland
of volcanic aggregate much of which is useful pumice.
the summer of 1997 Scott MacHardy went to the Phillipines and demonstrated
the usefulness of this material. Workers were hired to gather the
pumice and it was screened (Photo
on left: Screen used to sort two sizes of pumice by hand)
and put in used rice sacks. This created some badly needed employment
opportunities for the area. It also created a useful building material
for constructing affordable housing.
one case a container of pumice was shipped to the Peoples Republic
of Vietnam and a 36 sq. meter model home was built. The Vietnamese
builders were very used to using concrete which is a standard construction
material. They had never seen pumice before and were very pleased
to work with it (Photo on left:
Scott and Vietnamese builders in front of freshly poured Pumice-Crete®
insulating properties of the Pumice-Crete® are very beneficial in
the hot climate of South Vietnam. Because it is lightweight Pumice-Crete®
is easier to mix and work with by hand without expensive machinery.
(Photo on right: mixing crew
making Pumice-Crete® with forming in background).
Work is currently being undertaken to apply the use of Pumice-Crete®
to the extensive need for affordable housing in Vietnam.
(Photo on below: 36 sq. meter model home built in Peoples Republic
of Vietnam. ).
interesting outcome of the work in Vietnam was the experimenting
of a hybrid wall made of Pumice-Crete® reinforced with bamboo. Bamboo
is plentiful in the area so 4" slabs of Pumice-Crete® were poured
with bamboo at 6" centers for reinforcement. Normally Pumice-Crete®
poured in a thin diaphragm like this is very brittle (Photo
on right: cut of slab showing Pumice-Crete® reinforced with bamboo
). Even with rebar to reinforce it a thin section of
pumice will break easily in a shear test. The samples we made with
bamboo seemed close to indestructible .
materials combined produced a slab that had flexibility and strength
like a diving board at a swimming pool. It was thought that a system
like this could make a panel system that could be made at a central
location and assembled at scattered sites. (Photo
below: Field testing the bamboo/Pumice-Crete® slabs. Samples were
later jumped on by author with added weight in an unsuccessful attempt
to break the slabs.)
Pumice-Crete® Building Systems is interested
in developing the use of Pumice-Crete® and other appropriate technologies
for affordable housing in all areas of the planet where these materials
are available. All correspondences regarding this subject are welcome.
Scott MacHardy Pumice-Crete® Building Systems of New Mexico
PO Box 539
El Prado NM, 87529
--SCOTT MACHARDY, OWNER
PO Box 539, EL Prado, New Mexico 87529 firstname.lastname@example.org