Saturday, December 5, 2009

Concrete Cloth

Winner of the 2009 Material ConneXion Material of the Year is Concrete Cloth by UK based company Concrete Canvas. The material is a layer of fiber reinforced cement sandwiched between a cloth outer layer and in interior PVC backing. The result is a flexible fabric that, once hydrated, will set in two hours into a lightweight concrete shell or surface. The cloth was initially developed for use as part of the Concrete Canvas Shelter. According to Concrete Canvas:
Concrete Canvas Shelters are rapidly deployable hardened shelters that require only water and air for construction. The 25sqm variant can be deployed by 2 people without any training in under an hour and is ready to use in only 24 hours. The key to CCS is the use of inflation to create a surface that is optimised for compressive loading. This allows thin walled concrete structures to be formed which are both robust and lightweight. CCS consist of a cement impregnated fabric (Concrete Cloth) bonded to the outer surface of a plastic inner which forms a Nissen-Hut shaped structure once inflated.
The shelters are seen as an innovative solution to disaster response and other humanitarian crisises that require immediate relief housing and infrastructure construction. Although the system can be erected quickly by two people with little training, once set, the material has a ten year life span which makes it ideal for both short term response as well as mid to long-term transition shelters. Apart from the shelter design system, the cloth alone is already being used in numerous civil and military use applications including slope protection, ditch lining, and pipeline protection. It is evident that the potential for a flexible material that can be set and hardened in place is great. New and innovative applications for this simple system are sure to emerge.

Seen on Inhabitat and Dezeen.
Images via Concrete Canvas.

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