Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability: TechConnect Briefs 2015Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability TechConnect Briefs 2015

Materials for Green Building Chapter 7

Thin-shell Concrete Structures for Low Embodied and Operating Energy and Durability

B. Leighty
Alaska Applied Sciences, Inc., United States

pp. 238 - 241

Keywords: thin-shell, concrete, dome, embodied energy, operating energy, durability, c-grid

Thin-shell concrete structures offer: 1. Low construction and life-cycle cost 2. Low embodied and operating energy 3. Durability 4. Earth-sheltering compatibility 5. Seismic, storm, and flood endurance 6. Minimum materials volume 7. Rapid shell construction enclosure But, thin-shell concrete structures can only be realized as quasi-spherical shapes, to avoid stress concentrations. Buildings 6 to 7 m diameter, built on lightweight, reusable, rigid tooling would be only 1-2 cm thick, with non-ferrous primary reinforcement using carbon-fiber-epoxy "C-Grid" by Chomarat. Where necessary, they may be insulated with interior-sprayed closed-cell urethane foam. We have built proof-of-concept prototypes in Juneau, AK, approximately 3 m diameter, < 1 cm thick. One survived several 2.7g horizontal shocks and complete burial in sand with 1 m on top. Optimum size is ~ 6 to 7 m diam. Multiple buildings may be chained together. These may be quickly constructed in the field, with minimum import of materials, tooling, tools, and expert labor. Earth-sheltering burial enhances durability. Concrete is inherently fire-resistant. The quasi-spherical "dome" shape resists wind and waves. Useful for remote clinics, classrooms, storage, and homes, especially in remote areas and those exposed to natural disasters.