The Marshall Islands are situated half way between Australia and Hawaii. Made up of a chain of 34 islands built on top of volcanic rock and coral atolls, the entire country is just 2.1 metres above sea level. It's a remote location with high population density, no surface source of fresh water supply and limited funding.
The low-lying environment and sandy soils were a major factor when choosing the best materials to use for the construction of the Marshall Island schools. The consultants at Beca have a 25-year history working in the Marshall Islands, giving them an indepth understanding of the environment and challenges.
The use of unwashed sand and concrete, mixed with sea water as aggregate poses no corrosion risk when used with Mateenbar™.
With funding provided by a US aid agency, the schools needed to have a long design life cycle so generations of kids would benefit from safe and robust educational facilities.
Exposure to chlorides and salt, even at the initial stages of development was unavoidable. The use of traditional steel rebar in this environment has shown to have an average life cycle of only 10 years with the early onset of corrosion causing rapid degradation to buildings and infrastructure.
A unique challenge in the Marshall Island is a lack of resources. Concrete is expensive and water is scarce, so a common practice for contractors is to use the natural resources at hand. Sand and coral are mixed with sea water in the construction process. Steel rebar cannot withstand these harsh aggregates and the impact corrosion is evident in building and infrastructure through the Marshall Islands.
Providing better educational facilities
Using Mateenbar™ in this unique environment has provided engineers with a sustainable solution to stop concrete cancer and provide schools for the Marshalllese with a long design cycle and lasting value. The new schools will provide an excellent learning environments for students for decades to come.