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After seeing the destruction of Hurricane Andrew in his home state of Florida in 1992, Sarasota-based general contractor Joe Lanc set out to invent a system that would make buildings less vulnerable to the devastation of natural disasters and more.
Lanc, 77, invented a clear PVC wall form he calls the Concrete Plastic Unit (CPU), according to a report from Plastics News. The forms are 8 inches high 1/8-inch thick and consist of compartments into which different mixes of concrete can be poured such as insulated, aerated foam concrete and fiber-reinforced concrete.
Each form comes in sections 16 to 20 feet long and can be cut to size and welded together. The forms are stacked atop one another horizontally to form walls. How long the process of filling each form, stacking and welding into place takes to form a structure isn’t made clear by the report.
In 2010, one of Lanc’s CPU walls was put to the test through computer analysis. The testing found that the CPU wall could withstand a moderate earthquake and would sustain no damage if 2,200 pounds of TNT were detonated as little as 7 feet away.
“When you encapsulate concrete in plastic you can save lives, prevent total collapse of walls and give people time to get to safety,” Lanc told Plastics News. “I think plastic is the whole secret to new construction using concrete.”
The military has shown interest in the CPU forms, but Lanc is in need of more funding before he can demonstrate the technology further. He says other possible uses include nuclear material storage, making sea walls, protecting beaches from oil spills, replacing levees, and replacing sandbags for flood control since the forms can be filled with sand and then reused.