Just Add Water: Flexible Tent Becomes Concrete Shelter

Posted ago by Baron

If you haven’t heard of Concrete Canvas, allow us to fill you in. Concrete Canvas is a British company that designed and manufactures a truly amazing material: a cement-impregnated fabric that is light and flexible when dry, but hardens into a concrete shell when exposed to water, in as little as 24 hours. While the fabric holds boundless potential, its newest application may also be the most compelling: the Concrete Canvas Shelter. When dry, the shelter functions much like a tent, and can be erected by two untrained users in less than an hour. However, once the erected structure is hosed down with water, it hardens into a solid cement bunker, providing waterproof, fireproof, and possibly bulletproof shelter to anyone within. In short, think of it as an inflatable concrete building.

More than just a temporary refuge, these cement shelters offer all of the functionality you’d expect in a man-made structure. The largest model features nearly 550 square feet of space, with lockable doors and the potential for indoor lighting fixtures. Individual units can also be covered with snow, dirt and other materials, providing additional insulation against the elements. With a minimum design life of 10 years, Concrete Canvas’ shelters will likely be seen in a variety of civilian and military applications, from pop-up medical centers to affordable refugee housing.

While these shelters may be one of the most exciting applications for Concrete Canvas, the development team has wasted no time in devising further use cases. Currently, contractors use the fabric to line ditches, walls and cables, and it has also seen heavy use as a quick-deploy barrier against mudslides. Which begs the question: how would YOU use it?

Sources:
Cool Hunting
Concrete Canvas

Comments (14)

MarcR avatar
MarcR
I'd lay it in my yard so my dogs can't dig and I wouldn't have to mow anymore : )
Chet avatar
Chet
This is great! In ancient Egypt, coffins and death masks were often made from cartonnage — layers of papyrus or linen covered with plaster. Aka paper mache.
Michael Kloeckner avatar
Michael Kloeckner
Thanks for posting this
Kansas avatar
Kansas
Smaller versions for disaster relief. I've known about this product for a long time. Very impressed with direction they are going as far as pop-up shelters.
AnnaFan1 avatar
AnnaFan1
Cool...........Just don't get it wet before it's opened doh! lol
MarcR avatar
MarcR
I'd lay it in my yard so my dogs can't dig and I wouldn't have to mow anymore : )
Chet avatar
Chet
This is great! In ancient Egypt, coffins and death masks were often made from cartonnage — layers of papyrus or linen covered with plaster. Aka paper mache.
Dennis Greenwood avatar
Dennis Greenwood
So many uses come to mind I don't know where to start. -Transportable temporary or permanent reservoir dams. Set up in small creeks and when hard fill with soil or rocks. Or as coffer dams that could be stacked and filled with stone to build bridges on. Also could be used to make water tanks and cattle tanks in remote locations or in areas where flooding has contaminated the water supply. -Patching material for the underwater face of earthen dams that are failing. -Inflatable linings for mines and tunnels, both for normal use and for rescue work. -Military portable bridges, both floating and fixed.Inflatable floating docks for bringing materials ashore in remote areas. -Emergency shoring for buildings after earthquakes or other disasters.Inflatable buttresses to hold up failing walls or embankments in a hurry. -Inflatable barges to be used for moving goods and dredging in inland lakes or water ways where getting larger vessels into is impractical. -Mold-able roofs for use where housing is built with adobe brick, like in India. -Large pipe sections and aquaducts that can be carried into remote or rugged areas. -Ok now imagine the cloth formed into tubular lengths with flexible staves embedded lengthwise. These could be bent into many form and held till cured.You could build archways to hold up another layer of cloth material to build really large structures. Arched bridges, floats for walkways through swamps and across tundra or ...it goes on and on. -Portable barricades that could be used for highway construction...set them in place and fill with water. Military tank barricades and shoreline erosion barricades. -Imagine having molds to place it in to hold its shape till cured. - Imagine this stuff woven into a panel say 12" thick with a honeycomb core that you inflate and harden.They would be relatively lightweight and strong as hell. You could build runways and square houses and large buildings. I have a thousand other ideas but this getting tiresome.
Michael Kloeckner avatar
Michael Kloeckner
Thanks for posting this
Kansas avatar
Kansas
Smaller versions for disaster relief. I've known about this product for a long time. Very impressed with direction they are going as far as pop-up shelters.
AnnaFan1 avatar
AnnaFan1
Cool...........Just don't get it wet before it's opened doh! lol
Rick Cameron avatar
Rick Cameron
Brilliant concept... but before you get too carried away with this as a silver bullet, consider: a 25m2 tent weighs about 2 tons as a package. Like many new technologies, the early adopters are the military. Cost is about $45/m2 as supplied from the factory… add transport, crane, labor to place and wet. Say $55/m2 of wall/roof... then add insulation and internal/external finishes to double that. You are left with an interior that looks like the inside of a crumpled plastic bag and that may not appeal to everyone. So this material is not coming to a home site near you just yet. As Dennis points out the future development will be very very interesting to watch.
Dennis Greenwood avatar
Dennis Greenwood
So many uses come to mind I don't know where to start. -Transportable temporary or permanent reservoir dams. Set up in small creeks and when hard fill with soil or rocks. Or as coffer dams that could be stacked and filled with stone to build bridges on. Also could be used to make water tanks and cattle tanks in remote locations or in areas where flooding has contaminated the water supply. -Patching material for the underwater face of earthen dams that are failing. -Inflatable linings for mines and tunnels, both for normal use and for rescue work. -Military portable bridges, both floating and fixed.Inflatable floating docks for bringing materials ashore in remote areas. -Emergency shoring for buildings after earthquakes or other disasters.Inflatable buttresses to hold up failing walls or embankments in a hurry. -Inflatable barges to be used for moving goods and dredging in inland lakes or water ways where getting larger vessels into is impractical. -Mold-able roofs for use where housing is built with adobe brick, like in India. -Large pipe sections and aquaducts that can be carried into remote or rugged areas. -Ok now imagine the cloth formed into tubular lengths with flexible staves embedded lengthwise. These could be bent into many form and held till cured.You could build archways to hold up another layer of cloth material to build really large structures. Arched bridges, floats for walkways through swamps and across tundra or ...it goes on and on. -Portable barricades that could be used for highway construction...set them in place and fill with water. Military tank barricades and shoreline erosion barricades. -Imagine having molds to place it in to hold its shape till cured. - Imagine this stuff woven into a panel say 12" thick with a honeycomb core that you inflate and harden.They would be relatively lightweight and strong as hell. You could build runways and square houses and large buildings. I have a thousand other ideas but this getting tiresome.
Rick Cameron avatar
Rick Cameron
Brilliant concept... but before you get too carried away with this as a silver bullet, consider: a 25m2 tent weighs about 2 tons as a package. Like many new technologies, the early adopters are the military. Cost is about $45/m2 as supplied from the factory… add transport, crane, labor to place and wet. Say $55/m2 of wall/roof... then add insulation and internal/external finishes to double that. You are left with an interior that looks like the inside of a crumpled plastic bag and that may not appeal to everyone. So this material is not coming to a home site near you just yet. As Dennis points out the future development will be very very interesting to watch.
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