In a world where innovation meets necessity, the creation of discrete stands out as a fascinating development in construction materials.
Aircrete is a lightweight concoction of cement and foam.
It is not only cost-effective but also a DIY-friendly material that has been used to construct unique and attractive dome homes around the globe.
It’s a material that seems to defy the conventional, appearing as concrete but astonishingly light, akin to something you’d find on a movie set.
The creation of “aircrete” is quite straightforward, involving a mixture of Portland cement and a water-based foam made with dish detergent.
The process begins with mixing a 94-pound bag of Portland cement.
It’s mixed with six gallons of water until a creamy slurry is formed.
The foam, which needs to be of a specific density, is then mixed in, transforming one bag of cement into about 42 gallons of aircrete.
This mixture is then poured into molds to form bricks or other desired shapes.
Once molded, aircrete takes about a day to cure enough to be handled delicately, and within seven days, it reaches around 80% of its strength.
The lightweight nature of these bricks, weighing approximately 10 pounds each, makes them easy to stack and handle.
This allows builders to construct walls immediately while being gentle with the material.
Aircrete’s composition of cement and foam grants it resistance to rot, rust, and insect damage, making it suitable for all climates.
It also has insulation value, eliminating the need for more insulation during construction.
Its soft yet durable nature allows for easy cutting and carving, making the construction process forgiving and adaptable, even for beginners with minimal tools and experience.
The adaptability of aircrete is further highlighted by the ease with which alterations can be made post-construction, such as adding electrical conduits and boxes.
This flexibility in design changes and the simplicity in marking and cutting make it an incredibly user-friendly material.
Aircrete allows creative freedom and adjustments in the building process.
To strengthen aircrete structures, a composite material system is employed, using fiberglass reinforced stucco on the inside and outside, akin to the construction of a surfboard.
This combo creates super strong structures with a waterproof layer for added protection.
Aircrete has found applications in various construction projects, from large commercial rooftops to smaller, portable structures, thanks to the development of low-cost, small, portable foam generators.
Aircrete’s versatility is evident in its suitability for different climates, providing insulation in tropical climates and thermal mass in arid desert climates.
Its cost-effectiveness, insulation value, and structural soundness make it a viable option for constructing buildings in almost any environment.
The thickness of the walls can be adjusted to provide more insulation in colder climates.
Despite its many advantages, building with discrete does pose some challenges, such as achieving the right recipe and foam quality.
However, once these are mastered, consistent results can be achieved.
The lifting of cement bags and handling of materials do require some effort, and the novelty of the material might raise eyebrows, but the learning curve is manageable, and the challenges are easily overcome.
DomGaia, the company behind Aircrete, was founded with the vision of solving the global housing crisis by creating affordable, permanent, and elegant structures.
They offer workshops and a plethora of information online for those interested in learning more about this innovative material.
The continuous refinement of designs and collaboration with engineers and architects aim to make aircrete a more widely accepted and permitted building material, paving the way for a future where anyone can turn their building ideas into reality with ease and affordability.
See how this man sculpts his home like art with dish soap and cement in the video below!
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