Thursday, June 10, 2010

Geltaftan - How to set your earth bag dome on fire.

I was just talking to a friend at lunch and he mentioned that he had read about something similar to earth bag domes except that the entire dome was fired and glazed to produce what is essentially a giant clay pot.  While the result is appealing, it seems like it may be a lot more work than I am ready to do at the moment.  Still, something worth thinking about.

I was not able to find much information but it looks like the same guy that pioneered most of the earth bag stuff Nader Khalili is the same guy that is trying to set them on fire.  Below are a few links I found (let me know if there are better ones).

Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceramic_houses#History_of_the_Geltaftan_Method
http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et1295/et1295s3.html

4 comments:

Owen Geiger said...

I don't recommend geltaftan, especially if you try to fire earthbags. You would waste an insane amount of energy and lose some of the beneficial properties at the same time. Stick with well proven earthbag building methods.

www.EarthbagBuilding.com
http://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/

bhoult said...

Wow... someone is reading this. Thanks for your comments. I agree that the geltaftan sounds impractical, just thought the idea was interesting. From what I can tell you have to somehow heat the whole thing to over 1000 degrees for about a week. Not sure how that would be accomplished.

xtiaan said...

basically they use a large gravity fed oil burner which along with a series of flues built into the house gets the heat distributed as needed, a plaster mix applied to the outside of the house insulates it during the firing process. kahil nader wrote an excellent book on the subject thats well worth the read, geltaftan is a great process as you essientially have a house with all the advantages of brick but the low tech environmetal approach of mud brick

bhoult said...

xtiann - Firing the inside as you describe seems feasible if somewhat probative in terms of energy use as Owen mentioned. What I have not been able to figure out was how one would go about doing this to the outside since that is where erosion would be the biggest issue. Do you have any information on this or is it just used inside the dome?