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Inventions in Everything: Inflatable Concrete Containers

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Millions of people in developing nations don’t have safe water to drink. Engineer Paul Mendieta took on the challenge of solving that problem after studying how it affected 175 communities in rural Ecuador, coming up with one of the most exciting solutions to a real world problem we’ve ever featured as part of Inventions in Everything.

Like most successful innovators, Mendieta’s challenge lay in identifying the correct problem to solve. Core77 describes what Mendieta discovered to be the underlying problem in developing and delivering safe drinking water.

… after doing research in 175 rural communities in Ecuador, entrepreneur Paul Mendieta learned that the most expensive component of any water supply system is storage tanks. It’s not finding the water source, transporting the water, purifying the water or working out how to get it to people’s homes; it’s having a tank large enough to store water that has undergone or will undergo the previously mentioned procedures. In short, inexpensive, secure water storage had not been solved.

Mendieta’s solution is the stuff of genius. Imagine a large inflatable pool made of a double-walled fabric where the walls are filled with dry concrete powder, but which can be folded and packed in a much smaller space than its size when fully expanded. The inner wall of the fabric is waterproof, the outer wall of the fabric is permeable, which will both play a role when the water tank is fabricated on site.

The collapsed package makes the future water tank easy to transport. Once at its intended location, the container can be expanded to its full size by laying it out and filling the inside of the container with water. Once full, the outside of the fabric container can be sprayed down with water to make the concrete inside its fabric walls set in its expanded form.

And voila, you have an inflatable concrete container for storing water where its needed! Mendieta’s company, Deploy Tech, produced the following video to demonstrate the invention (the good stuff starts a little over halfway through the video):

The company has patents pending for its innovations.

From the Inventions in Everything Archives


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