Stabilised Soil Blocks (SSB) blocks are an environmentally friendly way of producing bricks in Africa.
The bricks are made on site from a mixture of local earth, stone and a small amount of cement.
A hand pressed machine is used to compress this mixture into a block. For larger projects, a Hydraform block machine is used.
This machine is the most affordable option for block making and is also practical to use in rural Zambia because it does not need electricity, the earth blocks do not need to be fired in a kiln.
This saves huge amounts of energy and reduces the environmental impact of brick production.
Because of the interlocking mechanism on the block, very little cement is needed between the block joints. They fit together like Lego!
This makes wall construction much easier, quicker and cheaper.
In a Review of Sustainable Materials & Design in May 2012, it was decided that training should focus on Stabilised Soil Blocks without the interlocking aspect. Stabilised Soil Blocks are more commonly used in Zambia, and so more pratical for our trainees to gain experience using this type of block when searching for employment.
Because of the easy to use nature of the hand pressed machine, many trainees have set up block production cooperatives in their community to earn a living.
You can watch a video of some of our trainees making Stabilised Soil Blocks below:
Technical specifications of the manual Stabilised Soil Block machine:
In May 2012 we reviewed our use of Stabilised Soil Blocks.
The Review of Sustainable Materials & Design can be downloaded, or, you can order a bound hard copy from us for £15 plus postage
You can learn more about our other sustainable technologies: