16 September 2009

Versatile Ferrocement

Members in good standing of the Society for Creative Apocalyptology must demonstrate proficiency at a number of skills. One of the most important skills necessary for the creative survival of an apocalypse is the ability to design and build durable shelter. A number of construction techniques are taught, but one of the most useful construction methods is ferrocement.

Using ferrocement construction, a skilled craftsperson can build comfortable shelter, construct water storage over a large range of sizes, build air-tight food storage facilities flooded with CO2 or other inert gas for long-term storage, construct a sturdy boat or yacht, or carry out any number of other creative building projects.

Most forms of ferrocement construction involve the bending of steel rebar and the manual application of various types of cement. The larger the rebar required for the job, the more expensive and difficult the project will be. One variation of ferrocement construction -- the monolithic dome -- utilises an inflatable polymer form. A thickness of insulating foam is spray applied to the inflated form, then a layer of crossing steel rebar is constructed inside the foam. Then shot-crete (sprayed concrete) is applied over the steel rebar, contiguous with the foam, and forming the inner layer of the dome. (sometimes another layer of foam is applied to the inside for extra insulation)

Ferrocement houses -- particularly when dome shaped and / or earth sheltered -- survive hurricanes and tornadoes, when other forms of construction nearby have collapsed and disintegrated. Earth-sheltered and dome ferrocement are also considered relatively secure in earthquakes.

The monolithic dome style construction is typically used for dome-shaped homes, but can actually be utilised for any shape that is compatible with an inflated form. The monolithic technique can be used for storage buildings as well as homes, and can even be safely situated under 30 feet of earth, if dome shaped.

Shelter is a top priority. The ability to construct rapid improvised shelter is drilled into SCA trainees, of course, but serious members of the Society are in this for the long haul. Long term construction methods that are most likely to see a member through a difficult apocalypse (or even one not so difficult) are just another part of the training.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

The Society for Creative Apocalyptology is a wholly owned subsidiary of Al Fin Enterprises, which maintains all rights to the name, and copyrighted training materials.

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