Building Barges Using Advanced Concrete Methods?

(Richard Sheak) #22

Actually the temperatures to cure I’ve considered for research, rebar may melt. What temperature does pure silica melt at? Although I met someone last year I Austin whose husband passed away that owned a patent. She had this mixture that took 20 minutes to set, was light, hard and waterproof. I’m still interested but have been researching high heat under vacuum and the impacts it has on moldable materials.

(Richard Sheak) #23

Portland, Oregon? Geographically that could be a great option if there’s a facility already available to work with.


Geopolymer isn’t some molten lava, event. Some mixtures require some additional heat, but we aren’t talking about a furnace, either.

(Gordon Hoffman) #25

I know where to get concrete and steel reinforcement products, but I’m interested in the basalt rebar and geopolymer products - something that will outlive me. You can’t buy them if you can’t find them. I recently built a little house using bags of concrete mix, and PVC coated chicken wire in the foundation. My wife and I even stuccoed the outsides.

(Gordon Hoffman) #26

There are, most likely, many places along the Columbia and Snake Rivers where folks could find to build large barges that could be floated down to the coast. I thought of Lewiston, Idaho (since that is where I live) because if the barges have multiple tanks to eventually be used for whatever needs there will be - I could fill them initially with good soft water from the Clearwater River. The weather is great during the summer for barge building.


@NickGri is a member, here. I contacted him, which led him here.


(Nick Gencarelle) #29

Hi. We carry basalt rebars ( you can specify a smaller diameter than steel because it is 2-3 times stronger), meshes and chopped fibers and twine rope.
Geo-polymer solutions has materials in Texas- ask for Rodney and tell him I sent you.
I am making a prototype barge now. Will be 15 feet four feet wide, right now the whole cage weighs under thirty pounds with rebars, mesh and rope twine.


(.) #31

Gordien! That looks beautiful. Congratulation!

(Richard Sheak) #32

Interesting info about basalt rebar!

Thank you!


And it looks great!

Any “cement” will outlive you and me and all of us here, my friend… I worry very little about that.

Basalt rebar and geopolymer ARE NOT a prerequisite to seasteading, nor the proper materials or methods for seasteads construction. If there would have been ANY advantages for their use, the maritime industry would have applied by now.

(.) #34

I see nothing wrong with developing and using geopolymers for marine application.
Meanwhile, I think it is true, that geopolymers are not a prerequisite method.
There might be other methods too, such us the usual concrete method.

(Richard Sheak) #35

Silica melts at 3110 degrees Fahrenheit. That process is performed everyday in the semiconductor industry to make IC chips. However, they grow the ingots by slowly extracting them from the heat. The point I’m making is, the process of building these barges is one that must be scalable. We want to be able to make 50 each year as an initial target if we can fund them. If the barge can last 1000 years that would be best. What material and process would work best for that? Geopolymer concrete may not be the answer,

The basalt rebar however makes me wonder if basalt can be printed as a frame with 3D Printing technologies. That could greatly reduce the cost for man-hours in making the frame.


Put that into perspective. A fiberglass car can generally withstand many hard impacts that would dent metal, meanwhile those same impacts would shatter a common drinking glass. What you describe is still as fragile as a glass decoration, handmade, using a torch to melt the glass rods.

As for Basalt Rebar, it’s just fiberglass, but using natural Basalt Glass, molten and made into fibers, then bonded, the same as making a bow for archery.

Personally, I’m not sure even modern resins will suffice for generations, Geopolymer protection would help, but… However, one thing I have tried to present is the use of thermoform enamels, instead of resins. Enamels are known to be capable of lasting for generations, even unprotected. Thermoformed Basalt Rebar using such enamels could be shaped, cooled in place and then will try to retain that new shape, where thermoset resins try to return to the original shape, which makes a modern fiberglass bow function. That would allow for compound curves, such as boat hulls.

In addition, Geopolymer has the advantage over concrete, at bonding new to old, with simple cleanup preparation. Once cured, it is as strong as the original, if using the same formula. OPC based Cements are difficult to bond and returning strength is not likely, just a cosmetic patch job.


I agree.

Quantity will depend on the size of the barges to be built… The way it looks with seasteading, less is more.

LOL, of course. But I would propose a different approach.

For example, we now AS A FACT that ferrocement boats built in the 70’s are still navigating as we speak. That’s 48 years at sea. Not bad at all. And they could go for another 10, 20, 40,… It remains to be seen.

Therefore, a “ferrocement” (concrete built - for a lack of a better word) seastead built by 2020 WILL be around by 2070. That’s an excellent life span, for now…

The general consensus between the few of us still hanging around here is that the “best” material so far would be ferrocement (for “small” seasteading units, lets say up to around 100’-150’ LOA) or steel reinforced concrete (for larger than 150’ LOA units)

The process is already standard for such constructions, but studies have shown that adding basalt fiber to concrete will highly improve the overall quality (strengths) of the structure.

Now, regarding the basalt rebar. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend using it for building seasteads. Here is why.

Basalt is very light compared to steel. Basalt density 3000 kg/sq.m VS. 8000 kg/sq.m steel. That would make the basalt rebar built seastead way too light for it’s main application: people living permanently @ sea.

Seasteads should be built very heavy in order to provide the best stability (therefore the least degrees of motion) at any given seastate. Imagine that you start rolling 20-30 degrees on a light seastead in 10 foot seas, when “the norm” offshore is 20-25 foot seas. The quality of life on such seastead would suck even for seasoned sailors,…


… and yet, size being equal, the Basalt rebar has roughly triple the strength and none of the corrosion/spalling issues that steel has.


Not if properly built.

Irrelevant if you collide with a big tanker or if you run aground hard. It will sustain damage no matter what is built of.


The primary determinant of stability is shape, a spherical hull is extremely stable while a flat hull is very unstable, in swell especially.

Just look at the different responses a ball has to compared to a pencil when it comes to responding to waves. The pencil oscillates like a teeter-totter and bobs up and down while the ball just bobs up and down vertically.

Also what is the advantage of Ferro Cement over Fiberglass?


Done well, Ferrocement should last a lot longer that fiberglass. There are still floating hulls from WW I and WW II being use as a floating breakwater, in Canada.

Since fiberglass was introduced in the 1950’s. some of the best examples are approaching 70 years of age, but, as with ferrocement, it all has to do with the quality of workmanship and materials, as well as proper maintenance.

The advantage of Fiberglass is ease of repair.

Geopolymer has the potential to last hundreds, if not thousands of years.