Interlocking Blocks

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Systems of construction that use interlocking blocks are modern takes on the millennia old system of brick and stone construction. With brick and stone construction, builders put man-made bricks or blocks of chiseled stone against one another to form the wall of the building. In many cases, the blocks would be held together using mortar, which is generally a mix of lime, sand, and water.

Interlocking blocks take the system of construction one step further. The blocks are precision manufactured to fit together precisely, eliminating the need for mortar. Toys like Legos have long used interlocking pieces for building simulations, but now, some life-size building construction systems use them as well.

Casting Concrete with Interlocking Blocks

One of the most common building systems that use interlocking blocks is ICF construction, or insulated concrete form construction. The blocks are made of expanded polystyrene, and consist of two spaced lengths of foam connected in the middle with steel webs. The blocks stack on top of one another, forming a hollow wall to pour the concrete into.

Unlike traditional concrete forms, ICFs are not removed after pouring. The foam acts as both a thermal and a noise insulator, greatly reducing energy consumption and blocking out many exterior sounds. The ease of working with ICFs allows builders to insert large windows and doorways, and the forms can be customized to create many different architectural forms such as radius walls and overhangs.

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I.R.A.M. Interlocking Reinforced Ashlar Masonry

I.R.A.M. is an interesting interlocked system for masonry, and free to use.