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Shelter is one of the basic needs of human being.

But more than 80 developing countries in

the world, suffer from housing shortages resulting from population growth, internal migration, war, natural
disaster, to mention a few. Most dwellings in rural areas are made of cheap local materials including low
quality wood (which is easily attacked by termites), scrap metal, thatch or earth products (like clay, mud, sand,
rock/ stone) which are temporary and unsafe. There is an urgent need to explore a building material that is
structurally efficient but at the same time, should be lightweight, eco-friendly, cost effective and especially the
ones that can perform the desired functions. Ferro cement is such a material that is slim and slender but at the
same time strong and elegant which provides a potential solution to roofing problems. About 150 years ago a
Frenchman combined chicken wire mesh, a material that any child can bend, with cement that is really not
very strong. But he could make very strong shapes and structures with the combined material. Ferro
indicates that the material is made up of iron. Cement means joins together to become strong.

Ferro cement is a type of thin reinforced concrete in which the cement mortar is reinforced
with small diameter steel wire meshes at close intervals. The mortar gives the mass and the wire mesh
contributes tensile strength and ductility of the material. As a result, the concrete shows a high tensile strength
to weight ratio and excellent cracking performance. It is also known as ferroconcrete.
A.E. Naaman defines Ferro cement as reinforced concrete in guise of thin elements with very high
performance as regards the resistance to extension, the ductility, the resistance to impact. The same author
enhances the possibility of using this material for executing several constructions with thin walls, with
superior physic-mechanical characteristics.
The Ferro cement displays a series of advantages as compared to reinforced concrete, among whom:
a wider range of elasticity.
greater resistance to extension.
better behavior at dynamic stress.
increased value of the breaking effort out of extension.
The engineering properties of Ferro cement structure are equivalent to normal concrete,
and in some applications it performs better. The tensile strength of Ferro cement is a result of the volume of
reinforcement used in the structure. Apart from the volume of reinforcement, the direction of its use in line
with the force direction and tensile stress direction is also important. The tensile performance of the Ferro
cement concrete or structure can be grouped into three, namely, the pre cracking phase, post cracking phase,
and finally the post yielding phase. A Ferro cement member subjected to upwards tensile stress behaves
something like linear elastic material until the first crack appears. Beyond this, the member will enter the
multiple cracking and eventually continuing to a point where the mesh starts to experience yielding. Once at
this stage the number of cracks will continue to grow with the increase in the tensile force or stress. The
specific surface area of Ferro cement member or element has been found to influence the first crack in tension,
as well as the width of the cracks. The maximum stress at first crack for Ferro cement matrix increases in
proportion to the specific area of the element. The behavior of Ferro cement element under compression
mainly depended on mix design properties.

The well distributed and aligned reinforcement has made the Ferro cement to behave like steel plates. Ferro
cement is also has other outstanding properties besides its engineering properties compared to normal
concrete. Ferro cement exhibits a very easy mold-ability characteristic, that it can be used to produce any
desired shape of structure. Besides that, due to superior tensile behavior and water tightness, the material is
widely used for lightweight construction and water tight structure as well as for potable structure. Some of the
successful application of Ferro cement includes boat, sampan, pipes, shell roofs, wind tunnel, modular
housing, sandwich pools, permanent form of concrete structure etc.