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adding sticky rice to your mortar/plaster seems to be Chinese secret

 
Dom Flipswitch
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So there are several scientific articles on the internet that state that the old 1000+ year construction in Chinese that has plaster on its walls, and mortar used for building, used a secret ingredient that gave it super strength and buildability which was basically sticky rice soup. They would mix this soup into their mix which gave it a inorganic/organic structure many of which are still standing today and gave the plaster awesome water blocking features.

Here's the article:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100530093704.htm

Anybody ever use this or have anything to add to this?
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
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Makes sense. Glutinous rice flour is the principle ingredient of wall paper paste in Asia, which is used for everything paper-related, even making furniture. It's very hard. Not as waterproof as shellac, but a lot better than plaster. They don't mention an antiseptic in the article, though. I've had paste mold because I didn't add enough or the moisture content was too high. Flour, a little sugar, water, and antiseptic. But it needs to be boiled. You'd need a huge pot for an application like that, and probably several batches. If kept in an air-tight container, it will keep for a month or more. It's very cheap and pre-made here, but maybe not available pre-made outside Asia. It is quite thick, so has to be diluted prior to application.
 
Yone' Ward
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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The closest thing to that that i know about is sawdust. We mixed sawdust into our mortar. It slowed the drying time to prevent cracking and may have improved the mortar's R value. I have also seen people making insulated fire bricks by mixing saw dust and clay. Firing the clay burns away the sawdust and leaves a clay foam. Then there is the story from WWII where they mixed sawdust and Ice to create a bullet proof composite that resisted thawing quite nicely. They were going to build a floating airbase with it until they figure out it would take more steel to make the refrigeration units to make the ice than if they just built more steel ships.
 
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