Thinking Outside the Concrete Box

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2013

Imagine constructing a concrete building in less than an hour. using only air and water.

That’s the idea behind the new Concrete Canvas Shelter developed by UK-based Concrete Canvas, which touts "rapid concrete infrastructure."

The semi-permanent structure is constructed using a flexible fabric material that contains all the elements of concrete; the material hardens when wetted down.

A recent video report by National Geographic demonstrates how the “building in a bag” works. The video has garnered the attention of more than five million viewers.

National Geographic also interviewed one of the innovators behind the technology and described the invention as having “far-reaching” potential.

The full interview is available here.

Applications and Price

The structures are being used and tested by armed forces around the world, including the United States military. The company says the structures would also be useful as temporary shelters in natural disaster situations.

Concrete Canvas

The concrete canvas shelter comes with an inflatable plastic inner to lift it until it can support itself. Once anchored to the ground and sprayed with water, the concrete-material curves into the shape of the plastic creating a semi-permanent shelter.

The fabric material behind the shelter is called “Concrete Cloth,” in the U.S. and is licensed by Milliken & Company. It is being used in a variety of applications, including lining water channels, according to Peter Brewin, director of the Concrete Canvas Company.

The cost of the concrete shelters range from $23,000 to $30,000, the prices go down when volumes are purchased, according to the company.


Tagged categories: Building Envelope; Building materials; Concrete; Government; Research

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