is the VOA Special English Development Report.
week in our report we are going to talk about adobe. No, not the information
technology company in California, Adobe Systems. We mean the traditional
building product made of soil and other materials. Adobe is shaped into bricks
that are laid one on top of another and used as a low cost way to build walls
is soil that contains at least forty percent clay. In its purest form, clay can
be shaped and stretched and used to make objects. Clay becomes very hard when
it is put in a fire or a special oven called a kiln.
becomes a sticky mud when it is mixed with water. Liquid adobe mixture can be
poured into containers called molds. This way the adobe can be shaped into
bricks of the desired size.
bricks must be dried completely before they are used. This is necessary so that
the walls of a building will not shrink or break.
much water can make adobe weak. Sometimes other materials are added to the
adobe mixture to strengthen it. These materials help keep the water in correct
balance with the soil.This will help
the adobe resist changes in the weather and humidity.
material that is commonly added to strengthen the adobe is straw. Straw is the
dried stem part of plants such as wheat, millet and sorghum. Straw is
especially popular in places where the clay content of the soil is high.
materials such as lime and cement can be added to strengthen the adobe. About
once a year, houses made from adobe should be given a layer of mud. This
so-called paint job helps keep the adobe strong.
can take a long time to dry and become hard. So the bricks should be made in
hot dry weather. If the weather is right, the bricks should dry in seven to ten
people around the world have found that adobe is a good way to make houses or
farm buildings. But people who work with adobe must experiment. They must find
the right combination of soil mix, water content and drying methods.
information about adobe can be ordered from EnterpriseWorks/VITA, an
anti-poverty group in Washington, D.C. The Web site is enterpriseworks.org.
Click on News & Resources, then the link for Publications.
And that's the VOA Special English
Development Report. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are
at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.