“Ferro cement, ideal for low cost construction in developing countries”

February 13, 2009 12:00 am | Updated April 01, 2010 03:05 pm IST

Staff Reporter

DINDIGUL: Ferro cement, a composite material using cement, sand, water and wire mesh or galvanised steel rods, is an ideal technology for low cost construction in developing and under developed countries as well as rich countries like Singapore. It has been widely used by the Singapore government, according to National University of Singapore Professor P. Paramasivam.

He was addressing ‘Classy Civilosium’09,’ a national-level student technical symposium held at P.S.N.A. College of Engineering and Technology here on Thursday. It could be used extensively for rural applications, he said.

Ferro cement that has a great strength, is easy to maintain and repair. It is also a fire and rust proof, resistant to storms and other natural calamities, he added.

It is labour intensive and ideal for labour rich nations like Indonesia, Philippines and India, he added.

“More over, Ferro cement constructions are low weightbesides rendering high tensile strength and has better cracking resistance with superior impact strength. The other advantages are that it can be fabricated to any shape and would not need heavy machineries.”

Dr. Paramasivam out rightly rejected use of chicken mesh for ferro cement structures as it did not ensure adequate strength. Thickness of ferro cement wall was between 30 and 40 mm unlike 250 mm thickness of the reinforced concrete structures, thus cut down costs considerably.

Rainwater harvesting structures, sun screens, hospitals, water tanks, parks, small houses, secondary roofing for houses, bus shelters and sun shades for windows could be constructed with ferro cement.

With introduction of ferro cement, Singapore government had saved two million dollars.

Outlining the scope for civil engineers, the professor said civil engineering, once christened as a ‘sun set’ industry, has now become a ‘sun rising’ industry. The construction sector needed new guidelines, ideas, designs, and technology to strengthen new buildings that could withstand tsunami or earth quakes.

With rapid infrastructure development, demand for civil engineers has been growing ever year, he added.

Insisting on dedication and sincerity, he said: If a doctor makes mistake, he kills one person. “If a civil engineer commits mistake, he kills hundreds.”

In his special address, Principal K. Thyagarajah said civil engineers have wide range of opportunities for research. Bamboo with cement was ideal for low cost housing construction.

Later, he released a souvenir and college director R.S.K. Sukumaran received it.

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