Er. Milind Kulkarni, MD, MKCE, Mumbai
An engineer in Satara, Maharashtra, has come up with a new research on building Ferrocement precast houses in a day using readymade walls and slabs, and nut bolts. These eco-friendly, economical, and earthquake resistant Zatpat houses are a solution for mass housing and for immediate rehabilitation of displaced people during an emergency. Er. Milind Kulkarni, MD, MKCE, Mumbai, shares details of Ferrocement Technology and its benefits as a low-cost, eco-friendly building technique.

In both traditional and modern constructions, natural resources are used directly and indirectly, which leads to their depletion as they are not renewable. The cost to benefit ratio, or the price we pay, or are going to pay, in the future for development, is much skewed and highly dangerous. Cement, steel, tiles, aluminum, paints, and other materials used in the interiors consume a large amount of energy during manufacturing. This high embodied energy has a huge negative impact on these materials, without which, we cannot construct anything.

In such a scenario Ferrocement Technology-based construction comes as a breath of fresh air and gives hope and respite from the onslaught of the rampant depletion of natural resources.

Ferrocement is a very green initiative for constructing sustainable structures. Calculations done on live examples have proven that the technology enables lower carbon footprint and leads to green credit ratings. Firstly, it does not have aggregates and bricks as ingredients. Secondly, it has weld and chicken meshes as the main reinforcement, which requires lesser energy to manufacture. Cements containing high fly ash content, or GGBS, can also be used. The tor steel usage is extremely limited and used as skeletal steel, which offsets the need for formwork and precious timber, and the structural steel used for formwork of modern RCC structures is majorly eliminated. Most importantly, as the thickness of the Ferrocement is very low, consumption of cement, sand, (even manufactured sand can be used) gets reduced.

Ferrocement House in NoidaFerrocement House in Noida

Today, with the advent of Geopolymers in construction, it is possible to have Ferro Geopolymer-based construction. It has the greatest advantage of replacing cement and sand by 100%.

Fly Ash, which is an environmental burden, and a challenge for safe disposal, can be used and activated using simple chemicals and made to behave like cement. It only requires sunlight (which is abundant in this country for almost 9 months of the year), and a temperature of about 30 to 35*C for curing, and most importantly, it completely eliminates the need for water (the most precious thing on this earth today). In fact, Ferro-geopolymers could be the game changer technology of the future.

The behavior of Ferrocement as a 2-phase, homogenous composite as against concrete (which acts as a heterogeneous composite) makes Ferrocement far more superior than RCC. Its ability to take both tensile and compressive stresses almost equally with very low crack widths, resistance to shrinkage, drying and cracking, makes it a technology of choice for structural designers.

Further, with the reduced self-weight, foundations can be smaller and kept on weaker soils having medium to poor bearing strength. The earthquake loads get considerably reduced, though wind loads could be a matter that needs to be addressed; however, it can be resolved by adding eco-friendly and cost-effective dead weights.

Eco-friendly & Magical Technology
Ferrocement is a combination of cement, sand, weld mesh and chicken mesh pressed and filled with mortar. Skeletal steel in the form of 6mm/8mm bars are used for getting the form and shape to eliminate use of formwork.

“A little change in the type and pattern of the reinforcement, the use of fine wire meshes instead of large diameter bars, and press filling mortar either by hand, machines, or pre-casting, makes it a wonder material!”. This is how Dr. (Prof) Divekar explained it after living with it in body, mind, and soul for over 40 years, having designed and constructed a large number of such structures.

Ferrocement House in Satara MaharashtraFerrocement House in Satara Maharashtra

Ferrocement House
Normally, while constructing, we use bricks, steel, metal, stone, timber etc, and sheets for roofing. But now we need to reduce the quantity or eliminate these materials. But how do we build a house without them?

Chicken mesh a hexagonal wire woven GI mesh. It is flexible and is stretched while fixing it to the skeletal steel. Weld mesh is a square grid of small diameter bars that are pre-welded in a factory and is more rigid. The skeletal steel is a skeleton of 6/8mm mm diameter steel bar, welded to the required shape and size. The weld mesh is fixed to it and the chicken mesh stretched on both sides of the skeleton steel.

Ferrocement House in Satara Maharashtra

In the second part, a thick cement mortar is prepared. It is a mix of 1 part cement and 2 parts of fine sand and a small quantity of water. This thick mortar is press filled in the chicken-mesh layers, after which the finishing and levelling is done using a plate trowel for aesthetics. Pressing makes it stiff. There is no wastage. After some days it appears like a wooden plank, very slim, and very tough. Curing is required - just like concrete.

The application of this technology in the construction industry is enormous and wide ranging from very small to large structures - both cast in situ and precast. Ferrocement can be used for making security cabins, compound walls, small buildings, domes, pyramids, water tanks, treatment plants, repairs, waterproofing, permanent forms, check dams, silos, roads, pathways, pontoons, blast fences, and a lot more.

Low cost precast ZATPAT house
Jayant Murudkar, a 78-year-old engineer from Satara MIDC manufactured a ZATPAT house in a day by assembling ferrocement components like readymade walls and readymade slabs and joined them with the help of nut bolts. The precast ferrocement wall panels are standardized as 3.5 x 2.5 meter and the thickness is 25 mm. The roofing panels are 4 x 0.6 meter in size with the same thickness. The panels are ribbed so they have greater strength even though light in weight.

Inspected by the Ferrocement Society, the Zatpat house is becoming popular in Maharashtra as it can provide immediate shelters to rehabilitate affected families and can be used for mass housing such as for the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana. The houses can be dismantled and reused anywhere, which makes them eco-friendly. They are not built by using bricks and timber, yet their walls have tremendous strength since they are made from chicken meshes and are earthquake resistant too.

Er Murudkar has set up a factory to produce the ferrocement components and has installed a machine to manufacture panels of 0.6 x 3 meters, weighing about 100 kg only. A precast wall panel of 3.5 X 2.5 meter size weighs 750 kg only. Thickness of 25 mm is available. A 100 mm thick wall panel is manufactured using thermocol as an insulation filler.

Zatpat house is very affordable. If the plan dimensions of the room are 4.5 m by 3.5 m and height is 2.5 m, the cost of the house is only Rs 1,71,000. This includes excavation, foundation concrete, masonary, door and window, one bathroom and one toilet externally attached to the room. The rate is Rs 1010 per sq foot. A detailed video can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIsOE3X4Ros).

Versatile & futuristic material
Ferrocement has been in use for the last 30 years across the country. Everybody is aware of it, but many do not know the details of the technology and the cost. It is a simple, straight, and easy to build technique. It is a futuristic material and is an easy solution for many of the problems which concrete even today cannot resolve.

The typical domes of Shikhar on Ramakrishna temple built in Pune are precast thin petals of ferrocement. They are a classic example of the potential of ferrocement when designed and constructed properly. In America, Mexico, England, France, Germany, and Indonesia, the technology is being used extensively. In India, let us understand and adopt this magical innovation, save our natural resources, and be friendly with our environment.
Click Here
To Know More or to Contact the Manufacturer
Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your Designation.
Please let us know your Contact Number.
Please let us know your email address.
Please brief your query.
Our other Value-Added Services:

To receive updates through e-mail on Products, New Technologies & Equipment, please select the Product Category(s) you are interested in and click 'Submit'. This will help you save time plus you will get the best price quotations from many manufacturers, which you can then evaluate and negotiate.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Technology companies have developed hardware and software solutions to help manage every aspect of a construction project, no matter how complex or massive the project may be. Harsh Pareek, Regional Sales Director, India and SAARC, Trimble Solutions

Read more ...

Thailand’s real estate developer Pruksa, a leader in the building sector, modernizes its building solutions with automated hollow core production plant equipped with machinery from Echo Precast Engineering, a company of the PROGRESS GROUP. Real estate developer Pruksa

Read more ...

Dongyue Machinery Group is offering Autoclaves Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks, brick blocks, hollow blocks, curb stones, color blocks etc. AAC Blocks, which are lightweight concrete blocks, use less cement compared to traditional cement bricks, and are therefore eco-friendly

Read more ...

BE Billimoria & Company is one of India’s leading firms of civil engineering construction contractors. Ranging from commercial, residential spaces to some of the most iconic buildings in the country, like the 316-meter Namaste Tower, are among their project list

Read more ...

Kraft Curing Systems GmbH is offering advanced concrete curing systems that optimize the hardening process of concrete. Kraft provide numerous solutions, from vapor-based (steam) systems mainly for the precast industry, to heating/air circulation systems

Read more ...

The production site of LARCO PREFAB S.A. in Welkenraedt, Belgium opened in 2018 and has grown consistently over the years. LARCO produces a range of prefabricated concrete elements such as hollow core slabs, columns, wall panels, soccles

Read more ...

Klaus Hoch- und Tiefbau GmbH is upgrading its machines in the precast concrete plant with several automated systems from progress Maschinen & Automation and Tecnocom - companies of the Progress Group. With the individualised reinforcement machines

Read more ...

Civil Construction in India has not been as much industrialized as it has been in the West. Presently, it shares barely 1-2% of the real estate market, though as per a recent study, it is expected to grow @8.5% in the decade of 2016-2026

Read more ...

The increasing demand for residential units in the country with speedier construction, has encouraged use of innovative technologies that are being practiced the world over. Structural steel with its in-built attributes when integrated

Read more ...

Precast concrete is produced by casting concrete in a re-useable mould or form, which is then cured in a controlled environment. To ensure durability, high strength, low water cement ratio, and improved rheology, use of concrete admixtures is compulsory

Read more ...

Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure, one of the frontrunners in the realty sector in South India, is confident that the southern region will see numerous construction projects being launched during the next 10 years and even beyond

Read more ...

C. A. Prasad, President PSI & Director, Metey Engineering & Consultancy, Hyderabad, discusses the various new construction technologies being adopted by developers and builders in India, and their merits and demerits

Read more ...

Ajay Chourasia, Sr. Principal Scientist, CSIR-Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, reviews the general concepts, PVMC connections, and recommendations for technological interventions and alternate connection systems

Read more ...

C. B. Kameswara Rao, Professor, National Institute of Technology, Warangal, gives a presentation of different types of joints in precast construction and of the research done at NITW. Connections and joints are responsible for stability as well as strength

Read more ...

Srinidhi Anantharaman explores offsite building construction in a holistic manner and provides an overview of the entire design and construction lifecycle of such buildings, along with the compulsions of architectural, structural and services, design decisions

Read more ...

Saurabh Purandare, Director, & Khaja Rasool, Structural Engineer, Innovela Building Solutions, Pune, discuss an out-of-the-box construction approach for meeting today’s call for shorter timelines and reduced cost in construction, while ensuring the highest

Read more ...

R. Siva Chidambaram, Scientist, ASCD Division, CSIR-Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, discusses the importance of shear resisting key based precast joints and the influence under cyclic loading. The hysteresis behaviour and energy dissipation show

Read more ...

N. Gopalakrishnan, Director, CSIR-Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, emphasizes the importance of structural integrity of precast connections to enhance the static and cyclic behavior of the joints, and gives reasons

Read more ...

PT. Modern Panel Indonesia, a subsidiary of Modernland, one of Indonesia’s leading developers, is creating a new housing project using tested, earthquake-safe precast elements. The prefabricated elements are produced

Read more ...

Are you pondering about the suitability of precast concrete structure for your construction projects? Are you unsure of how to evaluate its benefits? Do you need a clear cost calculation and a plan for the most suitable precast products

Read more ...

×
Sign-up for Free Subscription
'India Construction Week'
Weekly e-Newsletter on Construction Industry
Get the latest news, product launches, projects announced / awarded, government policies, investments, and expert views.