Building Barges Using Advanced Concrete Methods?

(Richard Sheak) #1 is in the early stages of a project that will require the manufacture of barges that interconnect into a platform. I saw a project the US Navy did where they made interconnecting piers that could be moved out of concrete and said they could last 100 years on the ocean. What is known about manufacturing barges using current concrete technologies in this forum?

Modular Extension | Connectors | Cellular expansion | Building Technology
(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

part of the discussion is on this thread

Things you may want to check ( google it up ) when planning to go down this road…

• The failure of the Mullberry Harbor (connecting giant barges) in a storm.
• Monaco Breakwater
• Nkossa
• Portunus
• Oosterschelde
• Rofomex

Mullberry was "obviously too small " to work in storm conditions.
Monaco features the kind of connections (rotula) that can work.

The above is pretty much the commercial “off the shelf engineering”… that is out there and working as we speak.

For advanced methods going beyond that - see the thread…

(.) #3

Welcome to the forum.

Nice orca!

What you see is what you get.

Best regards;


Fierce three day storm destroys Mulberry A
Construction of the Mulberry harbor continued for first days of the invasion. The Gooseberry blockships, had been added to the design because of concern as to how the Phoenix caissons would fair in the giant waves brought on by Channel storms. And on June 19, D-day plus 13, a fierce storm began which lasted for three days and was reportedly the strongest summer storm in forty years. It caused much damage to the in-progress Mulberry harbors. Image above shows a wrecked pontoon causeway from the American Mulberry A artificial harbor at Omaha, following the storm of June 19, 1944 which destroyed the Mulberry A harbor.

The storm broke loose the Bombardon, (an outer ring of floating breakwater) and it was free to crash into the remaining harbor structures for the duration of the storm. At the American Mulberry A, several Phoenixes were badly damaged. Barges and other craft inside the harbor were thrown about by the giant waves. These vessels inflicted much damage as they repeatedly crashed into the whale roadways. By the end of the storm, Mulberry A was considered a complete loss, and any salvageable harbor components were sent to British Mulberry B, which was somewhat sheltered by a reef and suffered less damage. But most of the equipment and harbor components which were in transit were lost and the continued rough water caused delays in transporting remaining loads.

Wrong conclusion.

The Mulberry Harbor A, in open water, was damaged by the artificial floating reef that became unmoored and battered it in the storm.

(Richard Sheak) #5

Looking at the pictures they weren’t in a three point moor. They were free floating.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #6

@Theorca | … if interested in details please contact me in private message - this is more convenient…we will have less interference…it is about cutting out the nonsense and the noise…

Seasteading is at the end about creating interference free spaces, and make some progress... without having "agressive elements you do not consent" interfereing in your projects.

(Larry G) #7

The Mulberry harbors had multiple constraints that do not apply to Seasteads. Secretive construction and large-scale time sensitive coordinated deployment requirements. They were built at numerous geographically separated facilities, and temporarily scuttled to prevent aerial observation, re-floated and towed for the invasion, set up in a hurry for off-loading military equipment from ships. They were not built to live on, weren’t built for permanent use. They were intended to do their part for one invasion operation, and they accomplished that.

Timing for a seastead could be put on hold if weather delayed deployment. Timing for an invasion is much less flexible.

(Richard Sheak) #9

The potential for Geopolymer Concrete is what first interested me in the concept. We want to make barges in rectangular shapes and interconnect them like Legos. Then place them in a three point moor as a platform for research.

(.) #10

I think, that is a good idea. Where are you planning to do that?

(Richard Sheak) #11

Still in feasibility, need the requirements and the means before the location is a consideration. If I had my druthers, off the coast of Morro Bay in California for the research platform.

(.) #12

I like Morro Bay. I think, it is a good choice.


Problem I have found experimenting with geopolymer myself is the need to use a mold. It goes through a very runny phase, before it starts to harden.

The way I would do it is to make the molds, make geopolymer standoffs then build the armature inside the mold, spaced using the standoffs, then pour it in and use something like a concrete thumper/vibrator to get bubbles to rise up and out.

(Richard Sheak) #14

Sounds about right, with the possible added feature of applying a vacuum and possibly heat. I’ve been told a controlled process may only need 20 minutes to set, but I suspect more since the estimates are theoretical…


Imagine trying to coat an entire hull in 20 minutes, while it’s runny… Thank you, No, not me.

(Richard Sheak) #16

Why would you want to coat it with anything? It would just need to set and cure wouldn’t it? Then open the mold and float it to move it?


Typical Ferrocement construction of hull armatures (reinforcement) is done by a plastering process, similar to building up plaster or stucco on a wall, but also filling the space in the armature. When Geopolymer sets, it is far faster than OPC (Ordinary Portland Cement). OPC is generally mixed and checked by a ‘slump’. Geopolymer goes through an very runny phase, before it begins to set, then it sets very quickly, though it still needs time to properly cure.

Best method is going to be building an armature to for a mold, use geopolymer spacers to center the armature in the mold, fill, let set, remove mold.

(Larry G) #18

Additives can greatly modify the set time for both geopoly and OPC. Of course, the more specific the mixture, generally the more expensive they are.

In addition to filling all the armature spaces, there is also a finish plastering step, and this takes more skill. It’s a time consuming setup for concrete, with a limited amount of workable time no matter how you go about building a cement hull. This is part of why it hasn’t been commercialized as effectively as one might assume, and remains more popular in one-off home builds.


From 2014…

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Construction Process
What is the permitting process for a floating home?
Who issues building permits?
How long does it take to build a complete floating home?
From 2014, so a bit out of date, but not so far that it is irrelevant…

Concrete Barges
Do concrete barges float?
What kind of reinforcing steel does a barge have?
How long will a concrete barge last?

What does it cost to build a concrete barge?

(Gordon Hoffman) #20

Has it already been mentioned about a good source for purchasing geopolymer concrete? I live in the inland NW section of the US and have yet to find the materials to build a barge. Our towns here have an inland seaport so barges can be floated down to Portland.


Steel rebar, wire mesh, cement, sand, water,…

But you won’t “find” them. You’ll have to pay for it + labor.