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Ferrocement Construction

What is Ferrocement?

am-cor Ferrocement Panel
Ferrocement (n): method of creating highly reinforced, thin shell concrete structures, a type of thin wall reinforced concrete construction where usually a hydraulic cement is reinforced with layers of continuous and relatively small diameter mesh; originally used for boat hulls; invented by Joseph-Louis Lambot in 1848.

Quick History

Ferrocement is the forgotten sister of standard reinforced concrete construction (both were invented & patented in France in the 19th century). Reinforced concrete went on to be used for building, and Ferrocement was mostly used for boat hulls. Unfortunately, Ferrocement's use in construction was eclipsed by reinforced concrete. Architect Angus W. Macdonald developed a method of panelizing, prefabricating, and mass producing Ferrocement building components, called the am-cor System.

Ferrocement & the am-cor System

The patented am-cor Unified Steel & Cement System of construction uses Ferrocement extensively, both on a building component level and a structural level.

Key to the am-cor System's success:

  • Advanced Ferrocement engineering, which allows for an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio, using much less material than standard construction
  • Specialized amcorite™ structural cement additive, which allows very thin, integrated cement shells to act as disaster-resistant, high tensile, unibody Ferrocement stress-skins
  • Ferrocement's considerably less material use = cheaper & faster to build with; smaller carbon footprint

The disaster resistant strength of the am-cor System emerges from its integrated, composite construction.

Composite Ferrocement Construction

  • Combination of different materials, which together act as a stronger unit
  • amcorite™ concrete and carbon steel mesh members form structural, highly reinforced stress skin
  • Allows for both unibody and monocoque construction techniques
    • Unibody = structural skin is integrated into a single unit with the frame, rather than a separate body-on-frame
    • Monocoque = structural skin supports structural load, rather than internal frame with non-load-bearing skin
    • Used in automobile and aircraft construction to provide stability and lightweight structural integrity

Ferrocement Construction

Angus W. Macdonald's combination of advanced Ferrocement unibody construction with his preengineered, prefabricated, panelized production methods, results in a superior building construction system:

  • Extremely Fast & Efficient
  • Minimal Labor/Material
  • Modern, Advanced Technology
  • Affordable & Inexpensive
  • Both Green & Sustainable

Structural Integration

The am-cor System features an advanced Ferrocement technology patent.  The system integrates all building elements into a single, unibody and monocoque structural building skin.

  • Walls, roofs, floors, stairs, balconies, etc. act as a single structural unit
  • Eliminates need for separate structural elements or materials for walls, beams, columns, headers, etc.
  • Does not rely on fasteners (nails, bolts, screws)
  • Single material unibody construction eliminates need for complicated multi-material flashings, connections, and details

The composite construction of the unibody and monocoque structural building skin means:

  • Greater structural strength
  • 2-3 times the strength of reinforced concrete block masonry
  • Uses 80% less material than reinforced concrete block masonry
  • No fasteners = no weak points
  • Patented FerroStress™ skin = disaster resistance, increased durability
  • Outside forces distributed through structural stress skin and frame

Resources

Inventor Angus W. Macdonald's works on Ferrocement:

  • Ferro-Cement Coatings on Panelized Lightweight Steel Frame Structures, Ferro-7 Seventh International Symposium on Ferrocement and Thin Reinforced Cement Composites, 2001. M. A. Mansur and K. C. G. Ong, editors, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 415-420 - Contact us for a copy
  • Architectural Details to Develop Affordable Disaster Resistant Structures Using Ferrocement Technology, Ferro-8 Eighth International Symposium on Ferrocement and Thin Reinforced Cement Composites, 2006 - Contact us for a copy
  • Steel Building Kits - Interview with Angus W. Macdonald

External resources:



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