HOSTED BY VOLVO CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT
Fabric-cast concrete - the construction method of the future
Concrete is the most used man-made material in the world and is the fundamental physical medium for most of the world’s architecture and construction. The character of concrete is largely the product of the rigid moulds that have shaped it since its invention in antiquity. The advent of flexible moulds, however, marks a radical break from conventional practice – and conventional concrete architecture.
Researchers at the University of California have developed a method of casting concrete in Lycra stretched by robotic arms, which they believe could be used to create radical new architectural forms.
The Fabric Forms project involves pouring a concrete fibreglass mixture into Y-shaped Lycra sleeves stretched into position by six-axis robots.
This casting method has implications at various scales in the construction site of the future, say the researchers. When scaled up it can create unique building facade elements or even the primary structure of a building.
Because it is easy to produce, the fabric allows users to create many shapes without having to cast a unique mould every time they produce a new shape. This lends itself well to parametric design, where dramatic forms can be achieved by digitally altering a set of variables at the design stage.
The designers Ron Culver and Joseph Sarafian have developed a method of pouring a concrete fibreglass mixture into fabric that is stretched out by programmed robotic arms.
Traditional casting methods are both labour intensive and unsustainable,they say.The method allows users to experiment with shape without having to cast a unique mould each time
They believe their method could provide the industry with a flexible tool for realising parametric design
Reseachers in Canada have also been developing flexible fabrics instead of conventional rigid forms for the production of concrete elements, offering significant reductions in material use and dead weight using flexible fabrics instead of conventional rigid molds.
Mark West of the lafargeholcim-foundation has just published a book on “The Fabric Formwork Book: Methods for Building New Architectural and Structural Forms in Concrete”.
It is the first comprehensive handbook on the emerging technology of flexible moulds for reinforced concrete architecture.
West is the inventor of many fabric-formed concrete techniques for architecture and engineering structures and won a LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze in 2005 for his “Material Reduction: Efficient Fabric-Formed Concrete” project that enables both substantial materials and cost savings together with rich aesthetic possibilities.
How the new PAS2080 standard is promoting low carbon construction
The London Seminar on 14 November on “Implementing PAS2080: Supply Chain Collaboration to reduce the Carbon Footprint and Cost of major Infrastructure Projects’ brought together leading experts and the supply chains of major infrastructure clients and contractors to…
EEA: industry across Europe responsible for over half of key pollutants in air
Industry across Europe is responsible for more than half of all carbon dioxide, particulate matter and other key pollutants emitted into the air, according to updated industrial pollution country profiles published today by the European Environment…
Terri Wills WGBC: Full decarbonisation of construction sector necessary. Global standards can set companies on a pathway to reducing emissions.
The latest data indicates that 40 % of green house gas emissions now come from the building and construction sector, says Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council. And of this, 10% comes directly…
Brave targets and involvement of entire supply chain is necessary to reduce carbon in infrastructure projects
Delegates at London Seminar on ‘Implementing PAS2080: Supply Chain Collaboration to reduce the Carbon Footprint and Cost of major Infrastructure Projects’ were told how setting brave targets and involving the entire supply chain is necessary to…