The team has done a lot of design work and put together a production roadmap and we're focused now on building these successes into the crescendo that will be the creation of the first full-scale Maran floathouse.
First, a proof of materials, concept-dingy, made of lavacrete, meaning geopolymer cement + (basalt) fiber reinforcement.
Chris bought an El Toro dingy to make a mold from, and we're currently putting together materials and planning a build day.
After the dingy, we need to build a scale model of our proposed design, as close to its final specifications as is reasonable, and preferably from the same building process.
One technology that came out of left field but looks perfect for our purposes is something called 'filament winding.'
This tech can produce incredibly strong tube shapes.
Our engineering intern, Phillip, analyzed proposed materials and recommends using a zero-calcium fiber, basically an e-glass fiber, so as to elimnate calcium (Ca) leaching in seawater and resulting strength loss. So we're going with low-Ca geopolymer binder and zero-Ca e-glass fiber with a filament-winding process.
This should produce a lighter, stronger floathouse, but not necessarily cheaper, though the strength gains will be worth it.
The glass fibers still require polymer encapsulation, so by means of that analysis it seems we've arrived back at my idea for using the filament-winding process as a pre-stressed boutique rebar-like reinforcement material, sandwiched into the core of two outer layers of geopolymer.
This technique appears to be an original contribution; I've never heard of read of anyone even attempting such a thing.
In thinking about it, it's a technique that could be useful in all sorts of building applications that need reinforcement, pillars and structural members, pre-stressed beams, etc.
Once we have a representative scale model we can perform wave testing on it, hopefully with the cooperation of one of the universities (still need to look into lining that up), and pursue 'funding options' from there for the full-scale model.
With the full scale model built, we can move into full-time production of Maran 1.0 depending on demand and orders, likely starting next year.
I've already got ideas for improving the design with Maran 2.0, and for going larger. Once we prove the design a robust solution, there's no reason why it can't be scaled up significantly. The 1.0 model is a 22' diameter tube x 60 internal feet long, as currently planned, giving about 1300' in the top living floor, and another 750' or so in the hull-section / downstairs.
Larger than I'd initially planned, but any diameter smaller than that makes the hull-section virtually unusable, and I'd rather people could actually walk around in there and use it as actual room-space if desired, not just a place for machinery and storage tanks.
More to come soon. Until then let us giddily wait the promised big news from the President of Ecuador, coming to speak at the Seasteading Institute early next month