Cortex Shelter is a housing solution that uses a rollable concrete fabric that hardens in place when hydrated.
The Cortex Shelter is a self-built housing solution for emergency situations. The shelter combines a rollable concrete fabric technology and a metallic tube framing building system. The prototype module consists of a house of 24.9 m² (dimensions 11.5 m length, 3.6 m wide, and between 2.1 m and 2.95 m high) and the layout includes a multi-functional room (20.7 m²), toilet (2.07 m²), and shower area (2.07 m²).
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Refugees, IDPs, and low-income families living in slums
Step 1: Delivery of building kit
Step 2: Unpack building kits
Step 3: Unroll concrete mats for the floor and hydrate
Step 4: Assemble envelope panels. a) assemble metallic tube framing; b) unroll concrete mats; and c) unroll and install interior insulation panels.
Step 5: Attach side panels
Step 6: Hydrate envelope and side panels, let dry
Step 7: Install doors, windows, and utilities
The company Cortext Composites Inc. has patented the nonwoven cementitious composite for in-situ hydration.
Number of individuals. 1 family = 5 persons.
Number of hours from deployment to completion
Surface area of footprint
Main material used
Intended number of years of occupancy
As calculated by manufacturer
As calculated by manufacturer
Composite estimated R-value
List of suitable climates for use of this components
The Cortex Shelter combines two main technologies: Geosynthetic composite mat for in-situ hydration or “rollable concrete mat,” and a bendable metallic tube construction system or “metallic tube framing.”
The rollable concrete mat is a fabric commonly used in the construction of infrastructure for water management, agriculture, landfill & waste, oil & gas, erosion control, and mining. The mat is applied on-site on top of the supporting surface or structure and then hydrated and left to dry for 72 hours. When it hardens, the mat creates a solid concrete shell that is also water-proof. The concrete mat is used for the floor, walls, and roof of the shelter.
The bendable tubes, on the other hand, consist of square-section tubes of custom-made dimensions. The tubes have pre-made cuts that allow builders to bend the tubes by hand to form architectural structures. The system does not require specialized tools or labor.
Provided by the manufacturer.
The manufacturer aims to reduce up to 90% or the amount of concrete used in similar buildings and to double the compressive strength of traditional concrete. The reduction of concrete also increases carbon savings up to 90%, according to the manufacturer. Other performance targets mentioned by the manufacturer include assembly time reduction, technical labor required, and waste.
The performance statistics of the rollable concrete mat provided by the manufacture includes:
- Compression Strength: 7,000 psi (AMST C-109)
- Flexural Strength: 1,500 psi (AMST C-947)
- Punctural Resistance: 1,500 psi (AMST D-4833)
- Packaging: 8’ x 100’ x 0.5’’
- Ready for use in 72 hours after hydration
Testing performed by the manufacturer determined compression strength at 48.62 Mpa/in (AMST C-109), flexural strength at 10.34 Mpa/in (AMST C-947), and punctural resistance at 10.34 Mpa/in (AMST D-4833), however, no third-party testing has been found.
No known safety hazards are related to this product.
A reliable source of clean water is required for the hydration of the rollable concrete mat.
Scholzen, A., et al., 2015, Thin-Walled Shell Structures Made of Textile-Reinforced Concrete, Structural Concrete, 16(1), pp. 106–14.
ASTM D8173-18, Standard Guide for Site Preparation, Layout, Installation, and Hydration of Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org
The rollable concrete textile used for the Cortex Shelter complies with ASTM Standards for Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats.
The manufacturer cites compression strength, flexural strength, and punctural resistence as evaluation criteria
Other key elements included in the Cortex Shelter are solar panels, safe entrance door with key, toilet, shower, and electric cooking stove.
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