Foam alternative to mud bricks for Afghan houses

Individual polystyrene panels stacked in front of a building structure Copyright: Thermapanel

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A group of US scientists and engineers is proposing to rebuild Afghan houses, many of which have been destroyed by decades of war and frequent earthquakes, using polystyrene foam.

H. H. Haddock, who has spent the past 20 years developing a building system that uses polystyrene, proposed the idea in response to a challenge set by the Federation of American Scientists. Haddock’s first polystyrene house was built in Alaska, United States in 1984 and is still standing and operational.

The Federation of American Scientists is conducting tests, including earthquake simulations, to determine whether polystyrene structures would be suitable for Afghanistan. If so, they could provide a cheap, safe replacement for traditional mud-brick houses.

Link to the full BBC Online news story