Semi Buoyant Form Works For Waterborne Shaping.

Semi Buoyant Form Work is a forming system for concrete and generally cementitious composites in economically customized structure. This experimental production model strives towards neutral buoyancy to achieve complex-functional forms for structural purposes. Complex shapes including eggcrate grid works, manifold or spiral walls, roof truss pouring, frame worked surfaces and many other other structures  which may economically be proved.  Other potential terms could be introduced, to help distinguish marine intended products like buoys, dockable-components, etc... Permanently waterborne, sunken or floatation types and also products formed for land are expected to prove useful. Moreover, there are expected, ecologically harmonious applications for responsible deployment of this technology.

The primary features are a rigid or a flexible floating platform upon which a cementitious structure may be formed. Fexible membranes like rubber sheet can be maintained on a water body with the upper side controllably drained. Drainage can be maintained with raised edges of membrane or attached barriers. Trapped air and floating members may provide bouyancy. Hanging supports may be used or may not be necessary to achieve particular deformations. Integral reinforcements may rest upon hung supports or other pads may augment the membrane support.  Ridged formations would also be produced by bar like members, placed underneath the main membrane but also useful above to control compressed air bulging. The main membrane having high elongation and good release characteristics should provide for some standard concrete finishes, as needed.

Applicational needs dictate whether operations are land based or based upon large or small water bodies.   Both bases utilize water as a means to lighten equipment loads in the product production and handling.  Operations upon large bodies of water might allow deep sunken cures of high pressure. Furthermore, marine destined products would avoid significant land-handled expense of heavy products.  Nevertheless, inland productions in artificial ponds or tanks would gain wider-geographical access to varied markets without distant transportation. Modular products for sophisticated designs could be produced in "dockable" modules. A circular moat-like production facility might initially economize on excavation because of the gained maneuverability of dual passages (which also connect). A land locked, wet facility might be permitted to test effects, here is a model. Certainly small ponds pose no ecological threat in a monitored test.


Floating Form Work

Maneuvered floating-formwork (of lower cost) could replace expensive gantry cranes in yet another attractive employment for digitized manufacturing: Rapid Prototyping. (Other names are also appearing for the digital manufacturing processes).  Instead of moving conveyors, derricks, pumps, robots, arms or crane-buckets, the forming concrete product is floated around laterally. Because it's buoyancy can be kept neutral, minimal energy is expended in the constructive movements. Also equipment investment is much smaller. Finally a cheap computer is closer to controlling large object weights and intricate construction patterns, (because investment cost can be lowered).  Extrusion systems which integrate engineered reinforcements and cementitious components may more easily be deposited in structural arrays and elegant design.

What if multi story structures could be formed without need for high lifting of material? All work might proceeded at the water line without cranes, climbing or support scaffolding. A calculated floatation system could continually mold new increments or courses at the water line. As succeeding increments are completed, the structure is sunk just enough to add additional increments. Thus the whole structure becomes seamless or monolithic, as it is progressively formed.When the process is complete, ballast water, (if used), is pumped out of the built-closed structure, letting it float better, to be towed away. In some applications, the structure may be intended for water use permanently. Other productions may be feasible to float over submerged trailers (as in boat trailering). After securing, the trailer would be winched to land for tractor handling . A rate of continuous production is conceivable where each increment or course is spliced to still-fresh concrete.

There are optional, competitive cementitious systems to take advantage of. One, as yet unreleased product boast strengths comparable to steel-reinforced examples, (a significant feature if cold curing were made possible at ambient-water temperatures. See Ductal®). Competing mix designs offer diverse features. (EG: Some already marketed materials can be obtained and more competitive materials may arrive in future. Ring reinforcement is yet one more potential introduced on this page. Manufactured high strength, (steel or plastic) rings or flat-coils might compete as key mix-design ingredients, if given research opportunity, including micro manufactured rings .Currently, only continuous wire "rings" have been tested. Overlapping, flat-coils form "ring" meshes and can adapt to a continuous, automatic building processes. All required tensile splicing may be achieved by the mortar/ concrete matrix. Some mix-designs may be continuously "extruded" or built by slip-forming. Thus the structure can be built downward, under water, somewhat continuously. The ultimate question is "what is the best buy" in reinforced, cast-able, extrudable materials and methodology.

llustrations will follow, especially with simple encouragement from the web.

Consultation or contract work for developing this concept is offered. Viable, experimental structure could be built at cost savings. The Maine coast, USA, has considerable water frontage, industrial suppliers and skilled labor to carry out almost any level of development.

A dock-side forming system, perhaps for buoy structures, could economically utilize truck delivered concrete. This offers a scenario to test concepts at reasonable start-up costs. Deep water is not far if pressure-cured test permits could be granted. Simple carbonates of concrete mixes are far less environmentally challenging than many other boatyard materials.

Complex geometries are also possible. Potentials vary widely. Digitally tailored sheet cuttings could be seamed together to form precise boat-hull or other shapes. Membranes may be of commonly available waterproof sheet material which is easily seamed and sealed, (like common plastic or rubber sheet). This idea was partly suggested by the much respected ferro-cement innovator, Martin Irons of California. Martin developed laminated-wire-mesh as primary reinforcement. One of Martin's wire-mesh boats was tested and proved that thin wire reinforcements were stronger and could replace unnecessary over use of steel bars in (thin) ferrocement. It was apparently proven in a "40 knot patrol boat hull", tested for the US Navy. Marine Technology (SNAME), July 1984, pp. 277-296.   Continuing innovation awaits. Use of overlapping rings builds upon fundamental principles of predominantly fine gauge wires as primary reinforcement. (It is not known if Martin elaborated on his concept of using flotation as a means to shape cementitious Form work Any such reference or correction is welcome to be cited or linked here).  Permanently underwater structure realizes important cost saving in the reduced step of not moving a structure from land to water. Cooperation is welcome on floated forming of almost any cementitious structure.

Sculptural Shaping

The author of this page makes a living with various forms of sculptural contracting. Water float-forming of amazing 3D sculptural land structures, to be winched out of the water might offer new, as-yet, unrealized sculptural possibility. Certain high tech fabrication processes already use some form of flotation. There are more potentials to explore.

This research page is in the public domain and is furnished "as is". The author makes no warranty, express or implied, for any purpose. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this research. Bo Atkinson, enersearch Tel : 207 342 5796 . . . (MaineUSA)

Sandy Bottom Aquaculture-- Concept Fencing

Note: These pages are placed in the public domain and are furnished "as is". The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the concepts in this series. All authorities should be satisfied first, as might be required, by relevant laws, before any building proceeds.

Searching Synergy ........ Free Exchange of Ideas

Enersearch was incorporated in 1980 but never materialized financially.  A  synergy of concepts were developed and are reflected in the pages of this series.  The synergy continues as a single handed effort of Bo Atkinson, in Maine, USA.

Email comments welcome ~~~~~~~

Tel : 207 342 5796 . . . (Maine)