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Friends In Action International (FIA), our project partner, is assisting the Rama people of Nicaragua in relocating from an overpopulated island to the mainland. Our team has developed a manual press for the Rama people to produce compressed earth blocks from local materials for construction of their homes. After testing an initial prototype of the press in Nicaragua it was determined that the press needed more durability. After testing two presses with welded chambers manufactured by E&E Metal Fab Inc., further modifications were required such as welding chamber skirts, adding a lid handle, and applying rust prevention coating. Once both presses reached a workable state, the team made blocks using different mixtures to determine the composition for the highest strength. Blocks were tested for water absorption and for strength in compression, and met published standards for compressed earth blocks (CEB). The team also developed a user manual complete with manufacturing instructions, operating procedures, maintenance suggestions, and exploded subassembly views. Lastly, our team has drafted a one-page user guide for quick reference on-site and will deliver everything to FIA at the end of the semester.

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undergraduate research, collaboratory, college, university, innovation, global, improvement, messiah college, messiah university


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Development Studies | Engineering | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Urban Studies and Planning

Nicaragua Block Press