The ocean frontier will open a code free space for concrete engineering | oceanic business alliance

(Wilfried Ellmer) #1

ocean colonization bottleneck / concrete honeycomb shell building / building methods / interference free development / new wonder materials /

technically any natural or synthetic fiber can take the role of the fiber component in a cement based composit material - the only reason why this is not applied on a large scale are “building codes”… it is not a technological problem - it is a “administrative problem” - when you look at “earthship building” you get the general picture…

Every year concrete engineering first semester students run the concrete canoe competition to feature and showcase the fact that cement composite technology could do A LOT more than land based building codes will allow them to apply in their life as “concrete engineers” catering to the coding sistem…

It goes far beyond clumpsy casting, far beyond “ferrocement boats”… this stuff does not even “scratch the surface of the real possibilities” of cement composite materials …

One of the core benefits of seasteading is providing a interference free blank page for creative minds. Imagine a concrete engineering no locked in a coding that obligates to endless repeate a single method of cast colums and slabs. Imagine a concrete engineering world where being creative is not only for the first semesters in the concrete canoe competition but a career option and a permanent call.

More than about “inventing the newest patent cement composite” ( the internet is full of it already ) it is about unleash the creative power of concrete composites and concrete engineering beyond narrow minded codes.

It is also about business and getting a foothold in ocean colonization - solving the bottleneck of ocean colonization with new building methods more suitable for the marine ambient.

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The hard part of fiber-reinforced-concrete and cement is getting all of the fiber embedded, which usually will involve a skim coat, to fully cover the fibers.

The nice things about typical ferrocement boat construction are the known strengths and weaknesses, allowing for calculated design parameters, the relative ease of construction, the cost-effectiveness and near-universality of supplies, etc.

One big disadvantage is the visual-inspection only. Unless it is near failure, you may not be able to detect corrosion, so extra care, prep., and handling in the construction process is mandatory, to produce a realistic useful-life.

Geopolymer cements/concretes have the advantage, in that they are able to be X-Ray examined, for a more accurate assessment, they prevent the migration of water through the hull, and, prevent corrosion more effectively. The nice thing about Basalt rebar, despite its’ current cost, it does not corrode and does not really have to be mined. Basalt, itself is a common natural material.

In the old forum, I was a big proponent for ferrocement. I think the evolution to geopolymer is astounding and well worth exploring, for its’ potential, and it uses the same basic, known techniques, so it’s more about adjusting the technique for the new properties, rather than a whole new mystical experience.

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(Wilfried Ellmer) #3

in general the failure is not brought up by the materials - and their inherent weakness - failure comes from the “unadequate use by the builder” - a concrete composite made from traditional rebar and cement can perfectly have a service life exceeding 200 years in marine ambient when applied by a competent builder - it can also fall apart due to spalling in some 3 months if the buider is incompetent and gets the mix wrong.

The same applies for “ferrocement” yachts built by competent builders in the seventies are in perfect shape today - yachts built by less competent builders have fallen apart … it is in the “art of building” rather than in the materials.

so when looking for something that works on a building site you need most of all look at the work and logistics process. It is not primarily about “materials” it is about “getting it right”.

Geopolymer Concrete, the perfect seasteading material

These days, it’s mostly a matter of researching the appropriate mixture of cement and additives, for the task, however, since there are alternatives to using steel, which will eventually corrode, given the environment of ionically charged/salt-laden universal solvent, it would be prudent to examine the options.

If one can use a lighter composite and have zero corrosion issues, that would require fewer admixtures, usually resulting in stronger cement using less manpower, and having a decreased mass, resulting in a potential gain of a significant amount of buoyancy, for the same structure. Admixtures may have desirable properties, but they generally dilute the cement and reduce the strength, resulting in an inferior product.

It will all boil down to the choices the builder makes, so we can each have our preferred bill of materials.

(Nick Gencarelle) #5

High strength and ultra high strength mixes are already available. Geo-polymer mixes are know however no standard is still set. Those and the magnesium phosphate mix all seem to far outperform Portland as currently used, yes the right plasticizers and crystallizes rtc. Can certainly make it better. The new mixes have a covalent molecular bond with basalt that really is quite impressive. The concrete canoe teams today are sponsored by Portland Cement so the RULES from the start do not allow them to even try other mixes, which to me is totally against what a college wants to advocate
(stymied learning). New concretes with layers of open basalt fabric not just rebar have achieved 40 times the flexural modulus over the regular mix. Very interesting. Chopped fibers of multiple lengths rather than one seem best to me IMHO. Using composite rebar ( and some stainless where warranted), mesh and chopped fibers and twine all together now with fabrics also as a consideration will make the ultimate product. Cost a bit more but you are building these things once to last.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #6

there are truly impressive examples outperforming what is normal in concrete engineering several times … as well in strength, flexibility, even in compression…

(Jonas Smith) #7

Are there any examples of these “high strength and ultra high strength mixes” or “geo-polymer mixes” being used in large-scale industrial construction projects, or are they specifically being done experimentally and small-budget personal projects? Are there any construction firms offering these mixes in a commercial context?


Australia appears to be in the lead…

(Jonas Smith) #9

Very interesting. It looks like Wagners is really focusing on the environmental savings of using geopolymer over Portland…marketing it as “Earth Friendly Concrete”. That is the main focus of all their marketing materials, although they do mention that “Extensive Prototype testing and R&D trial projects by Wagners have demonstrated that EFC is capable of meeting all performance and construction requirements for normal Portland cement concrete in the construction industry”.

It looks like their primary focus is on precast modules, but what I find most interesting is they do offer “site produced EFC” for large volume projects…which would be a must for a monolithic seastead project.

No information on the possibility of slipforming, although I don’t see anything in their materials sheets that say it would be an issue since they do supply it as a premix. Very interesting…


Do slip-formed Australian runways count…?

(Jonas Smith) #11

Interesting…Wagners doesn’t list that project on their “Our Projects” page.

That’s not vertical slipforming, like you would do for a silo or condeep, but I guess if it works for horizontal slipforming it would work for vertical. Not sure, I’ll have to do some more research. But either way 40,000m^3 is a hell of a lot of concrete…

(Jonas Smith) #12

BTW Wagners also offers a composite fiber rebar called V-ROD, which has been used in pre-cast bridge segments and deck slabs.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #13

today concrete engineering is applied on the water and underwater in large scale ( underwater tunnel )…

The future: concrete engineering in fields hardly imagined today…

heavy like this concrete submarine yacht

extreme light like this dome cluster shell development…based on cellular honeycomb shell building

Concrete has clearly emerged as the most economical and durable material for the building of the vast majority of marine structures. Reinforced concrete too has overcome the technological problems making it a suitable material for the construction of advanced marine structures such as offshore drilling platforms, superspan bridges and undersea tunnels. As the world becomes increasingly ocean-oriented for energy and other resources it is predicted that construction activities during the 21st century will be dominated by concrete sea structures. The performance of concrete in the marine environment is presented here in a logical manner giving state-of-the-art reviews of the nature of the marine environment, the composition and properties of concrete, history of concrete performance in seawater, major causes of deterioration of concrete in the marine environment, selection of materials and mix proportioning for durable concrete, recommended concrete practice and repair of deteriorated marine structures. It is of value to any design or construction engineer responsible for marine structures.

Concrete in the Marine Environment - Modern Concrete Technology

Are the Ramform and Lens style Sketchup plans available?
(Wilfried Ellmer) #14

Durability of concrete structures long term findings marine concrete service life studies

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