1 Faculty of Architecture, Chair of Structural Design, Dresden University of Technology
2 Faculty of Civil Engineering, Rehabilitation Engineering Master’s Course, Dresden University of Technology

Millions of people live in adobe masonry buildings all around the world. These masonry buildings are usually built by traditional masons without paying any attention to the load bearing capacity or seismic requirements. That is why even a comparatively weak earthquake destroys so many of such buildings causing considerable loss and casualties that could be avoided. In spite of the occurrence of repeated disasters, the earthen houses are increasingly built and used due to their low cost, ease of build and climatic conditions. It is therefore very important to develop low cost and easy-to-use techniques to improve the strength of adobe masonry buildings as such would save lives and assets of the people who nevertheless live in them.
This paper presents the effects of bed joint and vertical reinforcement on the load bearing capacity of adobe masonry under compressive and shear loads. It includes the evaluation of first experimental test results carried out on six rectangular masonry walls. Three of the specimens incorporated reinforcement and three without any reinforcement. In all the walls, the same low compressive strength adobe masonry units were used. Reinforcement was positioned in clay mortar free of cement. The behaviour of each wall was evaluated with respect to failure mode, masonry strains at failure, force displacement relationships and crack patterns.