Inflatable Concrete? The Newest Pop-Up Shelter

When's the last time you thought about the future of pop-up shelters? Yesterday, right? No, probably not. But, in all seriousness, pop-up shetlers are something the world should pay attention to. Natural disasters, war and violence certainly aren't slowing down, so the need for a pop-up shelter that is quick, efficient and durable. That's where the Concrete Canvas comes in.

Designed by Peter Brewin and Will Crawford, the Concrete Canvas, or "CC01" as it's called, is a rapidly deploy-able shelter that only requires air and water for construction and could very well revolutionize operation of emergency response situations. Due to it's touch concrete exterior, it will provide more stable and sanitary medical centers, field offices and accommodations in extreme climates and conditions. The Concrete Canvas can be constructed in under 40 minutes by pretty much anyone, as no experience is required. And, not only is it ready to use in 2 hours, but it has a shelf life of 10 years (as opposed to the 2 year life of tent shelters)

Here's how the Concrete Canvas works as described by the designers:

Delivery of Pop-Up Shelter

CC01 comes delivered folded in a sealed plastic sack. the dry weight is 230kg, an 8 man lift, and light enough to be transported on a pick-up truck or light aircraft. The pack contains a cement impregnated fabric (concrete cloth) bonded to the outer-surface of an inflatable plastic inner.

Hydration of Pop-Up Shelter

The sack is positioned and filled with water. The volume of the sack controls the water : cement ratio eliminating water measurement. The bag is then left for 15 minutes while the cement hydrates, this is aided by the fibre matrix which wicks
water into the cement. Once hydrated, the sack is cut along its seams it then forms part of the ground sheet. Deployment is done at dusk to avoid over drying the cement.

Inflation of Pop-Up Shelter

The key to CC01 is the use of inflation to create a surface that is optimised for compressive loading. This allows thin walled concrete structures to be formed which are both robust and lightweight. The structure is unfolded to form the shelter’s footprint. A chemical pack is activated which releases a controlled volume of gas into the plastic inner and inflates the structure. It forms a 'nissen-hut' shaped structure with over 16 m² of floor space and the technology
can be scaled to provide larger structures.

Setting of Pop-Up Shelter

The concrete cloth cures in the shape of the inflated inner and twelve hours later the structure is ready to use. Doors and ventilation holes are left with no concrete cloth bonded to the plastic skin allowing access points to be easily cut from the inner once the cement has dried.

Once CC01 has fulfilled its primary application as an emergency shelter, another use can be found for the structure. However, CC0 can be easily
demolished using basic tools and the thin walled structure has a very low mass, leaving little material for disposal.

A pretty remarkable pop-up shetler, no? I'm sure armies all around the world are going to be scrambling for this one. And to think, they came up with this when they were in college. I'd say they have one up on all of us.

Seth Plattner
Featured Blogger
Inventor Spot Team

Nov 30, 2007
by Chic Hopson (not verified)

new fitness product

How do i get my product evaluated by you.

Dec 4, 2007
by 3l1t3 (not verified)

How old is the person who wrote this article? 15?

Due to it's touch concrete exterior, ,,,,, You really need to proof read for grammar errors before posting! I think you meant to type "tough" .

Dec 4, 2007
by Daniel Alderman (not verified)

Why not focus on the content?

Hey, focus on the content of the article. The simple spelling mistake did nothing to change the meaning of the article, and those of us who are intelligent enough to understand what the author meant weren't bothered by it in the slightest. I'd like you to think about this nasty little note you left when you make your next mistake, which will be soon, I'm sure.

As to the article: This is very interesting. I think this thing is a bit heavy, though...don't you? it's 507 lbs., an 8 man lift! Not something anyone is going to be able to pack into a hurricane stricken village.

Beyond that, I wonder about it's insulation qualities. I also wonder about the door, is this material hard enough that one could cut a door out of it without the material crumbling?

Would be interesting to see a video of the setup process.

Good article. Keep up the good work.

Dec 8, 2007
by me (not verified)

this is stupid

220 kg is waaay to light for a building, i think a 2 mm film of concrete protect you from anything.