Friday, October 18, 2013

Inspiring Technology: Concrete Canvas

I know I haven't been posting in the last few months, but with my first midterm under my belt, I have decided to begin making more Inspiring Technology reports. However, I will be structuring them differently from now on. Rather than having larger weekly reports, I am going to be posting more frequent, smaller articles from now on.

 Concrete Canvas

Earlier this week I happened to come across a YouTube video about a new type of concrete that acts like a thick fabric before it sets, allowing it to cover any curved or irregular surface and be set on site with little difficulty. Essentially, Concrete canvas is composed of a synthetic fiber fabric which has been impregnated with a special concrete mix and backed with PVC to make it waterproof.

A roll of Concrete Canvas, which acts like a thick fabric before it is set with water.
A bulk roll of Concrete Canvas. Courtesy of Concrete Canvas Ltd.
The material comes in multiple thicknesses and in various lengths. While it is dry, Concrete Canvas is malleable and easy to cut. However, after being soaked with water, the concrete will set and after 24 hours will perform as well if not better than any traditional concrete.

A cross-section of Concrete Canvas, clearly showing both the concrete and the fibers.
Close up of the Concrete Canvas. Courtesy of Concrete Canvas Ltd.




Concrete Canvas has many uses, but since the company's founding eight years ago it has primarily been used in ditch lining, highway construction, and mining across the UK and the rest of the world. Because it can be molded into many shapes, it is being used to reinforce the slopes along roads, rails, and mine-shafts.

A water run-off ditch made with Concrete Canvas
A run-off ditch made with Concrete Canvas. Courtesy of Concrete Canvas Ltd.

However, as with any other technology, since its inception Concrete Canvas has been used in many interesting and stunning ways. One of these is being made into outdoor furniture. Artist and designer Florian Schmidt took advantage of this new material to make concrete furniture with strangely natural curves that resemble fabric.

Concrete Canvas stools. Image courtesy of Florian Schmidt


Concrete Canvas Shelter


Concrete Canvas Shelter. Image courtesy of Concrete Canvas Ltd.

Concrete Canvas Ltd. has also taken this new material and used it to make shelters that can be set up in an hour and will be ready to use in two. The Concrete Canvas Shelter takes use of the flexibility of the material to make a durable, weather resistant shelter that can be inflated with an air compressor. The structure comes in a bag which is first filled with water. The shelter is then inflated and left to dry for 24 hours. The structure comes in two sizes and is expected to be used in emergency response and improvised medical centers.

For more information on Concrete Canvas and its many uses, visit If you have any thoughts on this new technology, such as potential uses or downsides, please feel free to comment below. If you would like to see more of these Inspiring Technology articles please subscribe to our RSS feed, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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