Concrete Canvas

The British industrial design firm Crawford Brewin Ltd. developed a semi-permanent shelter for relief aid out of a material called concrete canvas.

The package of materials for constructing the shelter consists of a canvas stained with a dry cement ratio united by a PVA adhesive and an inner layer of plastic sheeting, sealed in a plastic sack, weighing 230 kg. In order to hydrate the cement, the sack is filled with the amount of water defined by its volume. After the cement is hydrated, the sack can be cut-up.

After unfolding the canvas, the structure is inflated by activating a small chemical pack which releases a volume of gas into the plastic inner. The concrete canvas hardens along the inflated structure within 12 hours. Openings for doors and ventilation holes are spared from concrete canvas so that they can be cut into the plastic sheeting. The standard size covers 16m2, but production in a larger size is possible.

The concrete is strengthened by the canvas inside, which makes it stable against impacts of the environment, weather and earthquakes and offers safe protection. The insulation properties of the concrete shell can be enhanced by covering it with snow or earth.

The design is intended for the implementation as a field office, a medical centre, secure storage and accomodation. The estimated lifetime amounts to 10 years. After relief implementation, it can be used as storage sheds or for public purposes. etc. If the structure is to be disposed, the concrete shell can be shattered into small pieces and dust.


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