Research You Can Do

There seems to be a need for research in the use of various natural fibers in concrete, as it relates to the island environment. Why?

It is a Do-It-Yourself item. Since itís an art rather than a science, itís new and hard to make money at it. Therefore, research is limited. And no islands have yet been built. Itís a unique opportunity.

Thatís where you come in. Your project is for yourself given your circumstances. It involves NFRC used in and around water, saltwater curing, and human handling. This can produce a great structure for you and your family, but it lacks commercialization. Thus, what is the best way to do it? Your experience can be a real helpful to others.

Maybe you can start a movement and get a grant from Home Depot. Side issues also arrive, such as, Self-Sustained Living, composting toilets, and Alternative Energy used in building. But it sure can be fun, too.

We usually find, there are a lot of opinions. But less experience, and what they have is not applicable. For example, itís generally thought that you should not use seawater to mix Portland Cement. But, Why? It turns out that seawater rusts out the steel used as reinforcement. What happens if you donít use steel?

Most cement buildings are thick and heavy. What happens if your project is thin? Commercial people donít like that because it cuts into their profits. But, what about structurally? I found nothing about testing thin NFRC. How do you do it best?

How long will it last? What kind of structures can you build? What works, and what doesnít. I havenít found where you can get such information. Can you figure it out, and tell us? Maybe with pictures too. What can you do with NFRC? What natural fibers work best? Green or dry? How can you color it? What materials will it stick to, and not stick to? How does it work in shell structures? Can you make floats, how about a boat? How do you need to cure it?

In the orient, theyíve used bamboo natural fiber for years instead of steel rebar. How would that compare to this situation? Some of this we know, some we do not. One advantage is that itís not expensive. You can take your time. And with the Internet, you can report back easily to us.

Did you know there is papercrete? Their experience is different than mine. Their projects look interesting.

Can you make plywood-like board of NFRC?

They used to think that chip-board and particle board were impossible. Today you can buy it. They now have doubts about NFRC. So, prove what you can do, by doing it!

During World War II they mixed sawdust with ice. It was fabulous, only, it melted. What if you mix sawdust in NFRC? What happens in comparison to sand? How are the new methods useful on your island? How do they work with water? How do they work with gardening? How about recreation?

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Natural Fiber Reinforced Concrete