Construction materials

Lecturer(s): Eric VINCENS
Course ⋅ 16 hPW ⋅ 4 hStudy ⋅ 8 h


It is a revolution which is being prepared in the building sector: that of the necessary use of more frugal construction techniques, that is to say more economical in embodied energy, less impacting for the environment and a less drain on the buildings. natural resources thanks to the ability of materials to be recycled or better reused.

Thus, alongside conventional techniques, such as steel construction or reinforced concrete, more confidential techniques such as wood or straw construction and vernacular techniques neglected in the 20th century, such as raw earth, emerge. or dry stone.

The object of this course will then be to present the conventional materials mainly used in construction (steel and concrete) their properties as well as their durability problem but a large part will be left to the presentation of frugal materials or more frugal construction techniques, like wooden, straw-bale, earthen and dry stone construction.


aggregates, binders, concrete, steel, wood, straw, earth, dry stone


We will successively address conventional materials such as aggregates, binders such as cements, plaster, lime, concretes (current, high or very high performance, fibers, self-placing, low carbon), steel or wood for construction. and unconventional construction materials or techniques such as straw-bale, earthen and dry stone.

The use of conventional materials will be placed in its industrial and normative context, emphasis will be placed on the action of the environment which tends to alter or modify their properties, both physically and mechanically.

Lab activities : 2*2h

  • particle size analysis and size analysis by sedimentation
  • activity of clayey soils in backfill : Methylen Blue test

Learning Outcomes

  • know how to identify and characterize materials for construction
  • know the problems of durability of the materials in their environment


  • Microtests: closed-book examination
  • Final exam: closed-book examination Grade : 2/3 final exam + 1/3 activities (microtests+lab)