Alice  Zehner

Alice Zehner

Scholar Title

MIT CEE | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Chemo-Mechanical Analysis of Adobe Minerals





Research Areas
  • Materials Science

Admir Masic


Archaeological adobe structures have withstood time and the elements, despite being unfired and non-cementitious mud blocks. The relative durability of adobe prompts an investigation of its structural-mechanical relationships. However, the material’s heterogeneity makes it difficult to characterize in bulk. Thus, this project deconstructs the adobe into its constituent minerals so that they may each be studied, and the components can later be used to create more complex models. Its methodology replicates a previous study, which characterized aragonite, both as a geological mineral and as nacre tablets. This project uses XRD to determine the minerals present in archaeological adobe and studies their mechanical properties using Raman Spectroscopy in a methodology known as piezo-Raman.

I am participating in SuperUROP for the opportunity to develop my independent research skills and to create a body of work that is my own. I look forward to applying the skills I’ve learned in this lab and in my material science coursework to advance the understanding of this material, adobe.
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