Fabric formed concrete is a form of construction that uses fabric or other flexible textiles to cast concrete, allowing you to design and shape structural elements that are lighter, stronger and more efficient. It offers significant savings in material costs, as well as increased durability and architectural appeal. There are many different ways to design and build fabric-formed foundations and walls.
Using this technology, you can cast a wide variety of architectural components, from basic to sophisticated. Some of the more advanced applications include structural elements such as columns, beams, trusses and panels. The flexibility of these fabrics can also allow you to produce complex forms with less concrete and bracing. This method allows you to create curved volumes in a quick and easy way.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of work involved in designing and building flexible fabric formworks. To make sure your designs are correct, there are a few technical considerations that you'll want to keep in mind.
First and foremost, the fabric must be strong enough to support the load of wet concrete. If the fabric isn't strong enough, it can tear under the pressure of the wet concrete. Also, you'll need to control the fabric to get the shape you want. You can hold the fabric against the concrete, or hang it up to help hold the concrete against its shape.
Another important consideration is the quality of the concrete. While the fabric used to form the formwork can be relatively inexpensive, you'll need to know how to get the best concrete possible. One technique is to increase the strength of the concrete by adding an inorganic filler.
Fabric-formed reinforced concrete trusses are an example of an innovative structural element. They have a compression-resistant shell shape and are often used for double curvature shells. Unlike trusses made of steel or wood, fabric-cast trusses require little bracing and are safer than their conventional counterparts. In addition, they have a low rate of re-inforcement.
Fabric formwork is ideal for creating highly efficient structural curves. As a result, your reinforced concrete structure can be lightweight and have a better surface finish. Since the fabric is reusable, you can also save on materials and reduce the amount of dead weight.
Flexible fabric formwork can be used to cast traditional cast concrete members in the same way you would use rigid formwork. These include trusses, columns, beams, and foundations. Unlike rigid forms, these formworks can be used nearly anywhere. For instance, you can pre-cast concrete panels in a horizontal fabric mould, or you can use a vertical fabric mould to form a vertical column.
If you're interested in learning more about fabric formwork, you can read Mark West's Fabric Formwork Book. This is an extensive guide to the various techniques and principles of fabric formwork. Not only will it help you to understand how to construct fabric-formed structures, it will also provide you with the historical and technical information you'll need to do it properly.