Out-of-plane strengthening of adobe masonry using hemp fibre ropes: An experimental investigation

Kurdo F. Abdulla*, Lee S. Cunningham, Martin Gillie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Adobe masonry structures are common in many parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. Whilst the ease of construction, low cost and familiarity of the material make it a popular building method, adobe is vulnerable to out-of-plane forces. Many countries where adobe structures are abundant are often subject to extreme natural events such as cyclones, seismic actions etc., these can result in significant horizontal forces leading to serious damage or collapse. This paper presents an experimental study of a novel strengthening method involving the application of hemp fibre rope nets to the surface of adobe walls. The method can be applied during construction and also as a retro-fit for existing structures. Hemp fibre ropes were chosen as the strengthening system in order to match the low cost, sustainability and buildability credentials of adobe itself. A series of plain and strengthened adobe panels were subject to bending, both parallel and perpendicular to the bed joints. The rope reinforced panels exhibited significant enhancements in strength and deformation capacity, with the latter achieving up to 10 times that of the un-strengthened case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112931
Number of pages14
JournalEngineering Structures
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021


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