Rainwater for Humanity addresses the scarcity of potable water in the Indian state of Kerala. Our approach is to build concrete tanks that collect and store rainwater from the monsoon season for use throughout the year. However, high material costs in Kerala severely limit the affordability of these tanks. This summer, our team member at Brown University, Samuel Lee is undertaking a research on ‘Coconut Fiber Reinforced Concrete’ to address this. The project goal is to reduce the cost of constructing rainwater harvesting tanks by evaluating mechanical properties of alternative building materials. These alternative materials are locally available and may significantly reduce cost.
Although the research is still in progress, we are excited to share several encouraging results. The strength and density of coconut-fiber-reinforced concrete is high enough to warrant serious consideration as a construction material. Other feasible substitutes such as fly ash are also identified. The upcoming round of tests will further examine the material strength gained with curing over time and their alkalinity. Based on these results, we will either prototype a new design incorporating coconut fiber concrete mixture in Kerala, or conduct test on mixtures to address issues encountered.
Thank you for your generous support so far! If you have resources related to our research, do let us know. We’d also like to express our gratitude to Professor Bull and Brown Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award that has made this research possible. Do keep an eye out for our next report on the run-up to tank construction.
Rainwater for Humanity team
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