How would using rice hulls differ from using dirt/earth in typical earth bag structures?

I plan to build a small structure using the earth bag method. I have read that it is possible to use rice hulls in place of the dirt normally used to fill the wall bags. I am looking for any information or suggestions in making this substitution.

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iceng3 years ago

Ok having a look at non-ash rice hull as a construction material is impressive in all aspects (Fire_retardant, insulation, mold_resistance, resiliency, low_cost, low_density. insect_repellant, non_biodegrading, low_H2O_absorbtion) except in form and shape retention they are bean_bag like.

All construction appears to use bag material with varying degrees of stack ability ranging from wire mesh to free form.

Both the stacking bags and the rice hulls are UV susceptible and therefor need some form of siding protection to avoid UV caused bag leaks and potential structural collapse. It would make sense to use something like ferrocement

Vyger3 years ago

And another thought:

The rice plant has now been recognized as an organism that pulls arsenic out of the soil. Good for cleaning up toxic waste but bad if you have it concentrated into the material you are using for building.

zeo.phillpotts.9 (author)  Vyger3 years ago

I would think the mechanism the rice plant uses to pull arsenic from the soil would be through the roots, not by absorbing directly through the rice's hull. That and the rice hulls would not be in direct contact with the soil. They would be bagged, and stacked well off the ground level.

Thanks for your concern though! Always nice to have someone watching your back....

Vyger3 years ago

Do you have a shortage of dirt? maybe you can use sand.

zeo.phillpotts.9 (author)  Vyger3 years ago

Yes, and the transporting to site would be by hand, so not a good option. Sand has the same problem, transportation. For my area, fill such as sand and dirt wouldn't be as good an option as the rice hulls due to the insulating factor.

Why would you use a material that would biodegrade and worst of all allow provide a perfect home for mold.


zeo.phillpotts.9 (author)  iceng3 years ago

Thanks for your input, but I've found an authority on the subject; Owen Geiger. He has written several studies on the subject, and coordinates workshops as well. Very informative.

btw: His findings reveal that..

1)Rice hulls have been used successfully in the past for this purpose.

2)Rice hulls are highly resistant to mold and mildew etc.

3)Since rice hulls absorb only a few percent water by weight, there is very little chance of "biodegrading".

4)The R value for rice hull wall is relatively high; R-3 per inch.

So, mpilchfamily, where did you get your information on the subject? Perhaps you may be interested in reading Mr.Geiger's research?