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What is ferrocement

Ferrocement is a composite material made with cement mortar reinforced with closely nit chicken mesh or expanded metal and reinforced with steel bars. Any form or shape of the structure can be built with this simple and unique technique.  The construction process consists of forming the shape of the required structure in skeleton with the help of chicken mesh or expanded metal reinforced with steel bars wherever required and then rich cement mortar is applied from both sides most of the times manually pressed or by spray filling

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History and applications

Originally in 1940, Nervi in Italy had named this composite of Ferro (iron) and cement (cement mortar) as "Ferrocemento". All over the world it is known as “Ferrocement”.Ferrocement in form of Mesh reinforcement cement mortar was used in Europe by Mr. J.L. Lambot in France. He constructed a Ferrocement rowing boat in 1848, in which reinforcement was in form of flexible woven wire mat and small size bars.

Advantages and comparison with traditional RCC work

  • Basic raw materials are easily available like water, cement, sand, coarse aggregate, chicken mesh, steel bars etc.
  • Ferro cement construction is simple and quick and does not require highly skilled labor; and the laborers can also be easily trained for this job.
  • Partial or complete elimination of formwork is possible. Hence there is considerable saving in the cost of formwork, particularly for curved or complicated/ complex shapes/ structures/ elevation treatments/compound wall designs, which is not possible with RCC construction.
  • Also it does not require any heavy equipment / machinery for casting or lifting purposes.
  • Quantity of materials required in ferro cement works is very less as compared to same R.C.C. structure; therefore dead load of the structure is considerably reduced saving our cost.
  • Possibility of developing cracks is very less as the cracking forces are taken over by wire mesh reinforcement immediately below the surface.
  • Ferro cement provides us a light, homogenous structure that can withstand any natural calamity like earthquake.
  • Ferro cement is water proof, rust proof and a very good fire resistant material having capacity to resist fire up to 750°C for long period of 48 hours and even more.
  • Ferro cement is most suitable for water-retaining structures due to water-tightness and impermeability and for over head or under ground water tanks and even roots of tree etc. is not able to penetrate their walls.
  • Ferro cement structures can be easily maintained, and also repaired in the event of structural damage without any major problems.
  • Ferro cement is also suitable for repair or rehabilitation/restoration of ancient or heritage building structures. The repaired elements can withstand long years without cracking.
  • Ferro cement repair to old/deteriorated RCC structure is cheaper and quicker than demolition of such structures and reconstructing them. Ferro cement patch repair techniques help in easy bonding of old and the new layers, and patches also do not show up in ferro cement as the layers easily merge with each other.

In which situation it is advantageous

·         Where dead weight of the structure is required to be kept as light as possible.

·         Shape of the structure is abnormal like dome, pyramids or such odd type, which is extremely difficult or impossible in regular RCC work.

·         Cost saving is very essential.

·         Structure requires to be water proof, fire proof, rust proof and long standing.

·         In naturally hazardous areas like earthquake prone areas.

·         Less repairs and maintenance required.

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