Sunday, May 27, 2018

Aircrete a Reflection of Ancient Concrete



I hope that much is well with you!

            The crowd funding campaign launched on my behalf is now live at   https://www.gofundme.com/help-patricia-save-health-with-home

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The soil test for my septic occurred on an 80+ degree day in early May and I was so very happy that my friend was there, as the most I could do was stand in the shade.  Testing went well; water and energy systems have been determined and plans for implementing each are under way, or in development.


 Aircrete a Reflection of Ancient Concrete
As I research aircrete so that I can adequately respond to questions I have and those by others as to, for instance, why it seemed right to use basalt.  In search for answers regarding ingredients I have chosen to incorporate, I find myself exploring beautiful glimpses of past historical remains.  As a youth, I loved History class.  The teacher presented the past in such a way that I could remember almost everything she said,  and in association, much of what I read in assignment.  The storyteller was retired and for many years my interest waned.  Now, I wish I could recall that teachers name and another who taught Sophomore English, because they were both positively wonderful and continue to be cherished by me many decades later.

Our ancient humans were pretty amazing!  They left so much for us to build upon!  How did they come to know what they knew?  Scientist are studying historical remains with hopes of reclaiming some of this forgotten knowledge.

According to A History of Concrete by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard on the International Home Inspectors web site, “The first concrete-like structures were built by the Nabataea traders or Bedouins in southern Syria and northern Jordan around 6500 BC.  Once discovering cement that hardens underwater by 700 BC, they were building kilns to supply mortar for the construction of rubble-wall homes and secret waterproof cisterns that allowed there people to survive in the desert.  If you want a very thorough read of concrete in a historical time sense up to the present, visit https://www.nachi.org/history-of-concrete.htm. 



The remains of an ancient Nabataea building - Wikipedia

Wikipedia states that Roman concrete, also called opus caementicium, was a material used in construction during the late Roman Republic until the fading of the Roman Empire. Roman concrete was based on hydraulic-setting cement.  Roman concrete is durable due to its incorporation of volcanic ash, which prevents cracks from spreading.  It is uncertain when Roman concrete was developed, but it was clearly in widespread and customary use from about 150 BC; some scholars believe it was developed a century before that.[1]

So what is concrete and when did aircrete arrive on the concrete scene?  Concrete is a binder that is mixed with water and hardens over time.  In 1923, Scandinavian architect Axel Eriksson discovered that the moist mixture of cement, lime, gypsum (anhydrite), finely ground sand and most importantly aluminum powder causes the mixture to expand.  This “foamed” mixture could then be steam pressurized (autoclaved) to cure it.


Here scientist take a new look inside 2,000-year-old concrete.  “This work ultimately could lead to a wider adoption of concrete manufacturing techniques with less environmental impact than modern Portland cement manufacturing processes, which require high-temperature kilns. These are a significant contributor to industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which add to the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

In order for Roman concrete recipes and practices ( such as “laid concrete”) to gain more traction, Jackson said, test structures will be needed to evaluate the long-term properties of marine structures built with volcanic rock and measure how they stack up against the properties of steel-reinforced concrete, for example. [2]

As I explored the subject of aircrete and reflected on ancient concrete ideas and recipes I also considered my experiences working with a paperclay product I’ve used off and on for a number of decades whose key ingredient is volcanic ash.  So I had a firm idea of my aircrete ingredients by the time I confirmed on my builder.  My recipe uses basalt and volcanic ash as inclusions.  I am very pleased to find that volcanic substances were an essential part of historical concrete mixes and that currently; this seems to be the primary reason for surviving historical examples! 

I also considered marble dust as an inclusion because I’d seen it successfully used in composition stone casting.  Designing-and-Building-with-Aircrete states that “During the cutting process, 20-30% of a marble block becomes waste marble powder. Marble powder is a waste material generated in considerable amounts in the world. Marble waste leads to a serious environmental problem as well. Therefore, the use of waste marble in the concrete production as an admixture material or aggregate has increasingly become an important issue. [3]

A friend recently asked, “Why a dome when I could make any house shape desired with aircrete?”  I intuitively thought, it uses fewer materials but wanted to find something to verify or correct my answer.  According to How Stuff Works “Spheres enclose a maximum of space with a minimum of materials, and they don't require interior supports. … “The spherical design results in highly efficient and effective air circulation in both summer and winter. Less surface area makes these buildings less susceptible to temperature changes, and thus, inexpensive to heat and cool as compared to rectangular homes. The aerodynamic exterior means cold and warm air flows around the structure instead of forcing its way into the interior.” [4].  And, the dome is a very beautiful form that is often found in nature!


3 - https://www.hhcelcon.co.uk/files/.../217-


See more Nabataen Architecture

Much joy to you!

Patricia





Friday, May 4, 2018

Cellular Concrete/Aircrete Home for an Advocate of Green Building?



Cellular Concrete Building for an Advocate of Green Building

I was recently informed that what I am actually using is best described as cellular concrete, because AirCrete is a commercial name.  This mixture could just as well be named foamcrete.

I am a lover of green building techniques, and have considered many types of alternative building materials from earth to strawbale.  I was such a gatherer and sharer, in my research, that when IU founded its Green Building program, they requested permission to use my gathered resources in developing their resource databanks.  I stopped updating those resources after that.


Image from Pixabay.com


I have been asked time and again (because there are a lot of people in my community who are interested in the subject), “Why do you consider cellular concrete (aircrete) to be a green building material when the cement industry is one of the primary producers of carbon dioxide, a potent  greenhouse gas?[1]  Add  to that, many builders include harmful substances into their concrete, such as plasticizers, which when affected by the environment are released as dust that becomes serous cause for health concerns.

Cellular concrete (aircrete) is my healthiest building option and it is a great improvement over traditional cement recipes as these foam mixtures really extend cement (a bag of cement produces 40 - 50 gals of cellular concrete) depending on your recipe(they vary for different uses).   At this point, I think that I will be utilizing less than half of the concrete I would use were I doing a traditional concrete build, and it has the properties listed below.

I repeat, I choose this building medium because it is the most non-toxic material that I can find to support my health. 

A short time ago, Aircrete Europe participated in this year’s World of Concrete in Las Vegas.  Europe, in its move toward reducing global warming, seems to have embraced aerated varieties of concrete with the designs of new block forms, mixtures and building systems.

Public Domain Images.net
 
I think this is why.

  • Cellular Concrete (Aircrete) is mold resistant, even in high humidity.
  • It does not easily transmit water, making it excellent for pond, lake and marine environments.
  • It maintains a high insulation value and useful in retrofitting.
  • It doesn’t burn or transmit heat
  • Rodents and insects do not want to eat it or burrow in it.
  • It is an excellent insulation, in walls, ceilings and roofs.
  • It is much lighter than concrete so workers can build at a faster pace, and people of many different abilities can easily build with it.
  • Aircrete has soundproofing qualities in walls and has been used to incase plumbing to reduce water sounds (this also give a slight bit of insulative value.
  • It is easy to clean up.
  • It is easy to repair.
  • It does not contain components that can contribute to “Sick House Syndrone”.

I am choosing to build a dome, but aircrete can be poured into forms to make traditional looking houses.  There are a number of pre-fabrication home companies using this medium for their home building kits.  In my build, I will use the Domegaia recipe for my aircrete/cellular concrete mixture with the inclusion of one natural and non-toxic

inclusion of one natural and non-toxic substance.  I will speak more on it later.

  1. The Cement Sustainability Initiative: Our agenda for action, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, page 20, published 1 June 2002
  2. Aircrete/Foamcrete  on Wikipedia


May much be well with you!

Patricia
                                                                                                                                 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Doings for an Aircrete Build



 As you can imagine things seem to be speading up with the in and out of unfolding spring!  This week saw the opening of peach, pear and cherry blossoms.  A slight snow came through with dipping temperatures, but, I think that because the earth had warmed many blossoms remain on the trees.  Time will tell if they suffered andy dmaage.  On the build site, I found trout lilly, mullien, emerging may apple, and a scattering of violets and dandelion.  There is also an amazing blackberry patch!

Doings for an Aircrete Build

Following up on the question, "What am I, Patricia, doing for my aircrete build?” 

Before deciding that aircrete was the perfect thing for my home needs, and before seeking out a builder, I began researching every web resource I could find having any information pertaining to aircrete with Domegaia and its resources as my starting point. 

"It is waterproof, fireproof, and insect proof. It offers good thermal and acoustic insulation. It will not rot, warp, or corrode. Unlike concrete which is hard, heavy, cold and difficult to work with, AirCrete is easy to work with. It dries overnight and can be cut, carved, drilled and shaped with wood-working tools. It accepts nails and screws and is easily repaired. It has good compressive strength to make excellent foundations, sub floors, building blocks, poured walls, domes or whatever. It can be molded or formed into practically any shape." - DomeGaia

So what is aircrete?  Aircrete is a lightweight concrete that is infused with air bubbles throughout and in some recipes is referred to as cellular concrete, foam concrete and aerated concrete; which are much used in commercial/industrial concrete building projects globally. Domegaia’s developments have made this medium accessible to every person!  

 So, why is aircrete great?  It is very strong, it’s extremely slow to absorb moisture unlike regular concrete and its lighter in weight and most can use this system to build, sustainably and for considerably less cost.


 Domegaia Bender
Bender



I’ve looked at everything I can find, from historical concrete builds that remain today to new concrete conpositions, and now regularly, wanderer the trails of modern building styles evolving in the aerated concrete build world.  Every few days, I search out sites that include concrete organizations, scientific industrial reviews, builders, contractors, green building sites, DIY’s, Youtube, reference resources, etc,  My gathering, thanks to web resources, includes US, Canada, Australia, Amsterdam, Africa, UK and other parts of the EU building with aircrete, aerated concrete, autoclaved concrete, foamcrete, etc., with a focus on dome building and architecture. 

When researching on the web, I have learned to copy the search address to be sure to get back to a potential list to investigate because I have found that sometimes, using previous search terms or phrases get very different results.

 
Little Dragon




With all of my gathering, I have so many bits of information tossing about inside my head, and within my notes.  Now my task is to connect these information strands into something I can understand and share satisfactorily with others.  After weeks of research, mostly to assure myself that this could be real, I ordered the Domegaia prospectus, which I had to learn was a file download. 

From the moment I decided on going forward with the build, I began seeking a builder.  I found a few potentials before returning to one of my first considerations.  A few weeks later, after vetting his questions regarding materials and design and anything, including how I was to be involved because of the weird allergies, and how it was going to work having someone represent me on the build site. 

Next, I purchased my Bender, Blender and Little Dragon; and I want to try everything out.  But I must be patient until I have set up an area where I can be on site and then begin the process of making bricks.    


Domegaia blender with Little Dragon
Blender with Little Dragon - Domegaia

Chris and I went out this week for eyes on the site!  I felt excited and clear and very pleased at the ease of communication.  This is helped by the fact of having been acquainted for over three decades, and in life, he is a very easy going person and he does wonderful builds!   I was advised as to the next steps to consider and act upon, and lots of things to think about.  I’m working out the layout for home, choosing foundation location and of course getting the last details regarding septic system and receive the build permit. 

In my wildest, I never imagined that I would become excited, even passionate, and effusive about concrete in any form other than as an art piece.  I find myself often laughing at myself because for my effusiveness.   I realize that I have set out on another amazing life adventure! 

To all questions regarding my “weird allergies”, yes, they are potentially threatening and much will be to clear as a friend launches a crowd funding campaign on my behalf.  I will post a link to that once it’s live and replace the donation button with a connection to that. 

This Blog is to focus on the aircrete build.  I hope that I will convey information so that it will be of use to others who decide to build with aircrete.

May much be well with you!

Patricia

Monday, April 9, 2018

Aircrete Builds A Dream



Aircrete Builds a Dream

Dome to Be, Patricia's future dome build location.
Future dome home location

Aircrete Builds Blog will chronicle a home building for Patricia C. Coleman, the writer of this blog.   This build is the dream of a mold free home and belief that a recovering immune system is an outcome looming within the horizon.  I hope to build something that is as beautiful as it is useful, and to live long within it.

I have weird allergies. 

Because of these allergies, I’ve been looking at alternative building mediums for many years.  Previously I have followed papercrete.  It was seeking an update to that medium that led me to building with aircrete!

It is necessary for me to live in a home that doesn’t push my allergy buttons.  My building medium is a form of concrete that meets those conditions and further, it has a great R value, is impervious to insects, resistant to moisture, very strong and can be used to build so that your house can look like what you think your house needs to look like.  Cost is significantly less, it is light weight, sustainable, affordable and home builders can easily assist in the development of their own home projects. 
“A dome is a simple structure and it is amazing that nature builds with this form." Hajjar Gibran


This is Steve Areen's Basic Dome Home Pic

I am very pleased that Chris Martin agreed to be my builder on this concrete home build even after I told him that many of those working with him will be volunteers.   

"What am I doing”?  Return to read my next note in about a week.

May much be well with you!

Patricia