Ed Fasula 20050221
Hi Rick, I didn't get through the business plan part of your email yet. More on that soon.
I would like to see a network of small enterprise that cooperate and where the number of limited liability partners is open ended. The traditional partnerships are a poor legal structure to use for such a network but the LLP idea, especially as the legislation exists in the UK some other places is quite appropriate. What is needed is a LLP agreement that describes how members cooperate. There will be some similarity with co-ops and some features of corporate business.
A friend operates under LLC here in the US and says there are good benefits in that here as well, but I'm not up to speed on that. But it seems to me we have people who would like to work together and a financial umbrella to make that easy by clearly setting up relationships and responsibilities would allow things to happen. Just as important, I think we need to have a web-based tool to allow technical project development and implementation to take place easily. You mentioned that the Open University is working on that? Perhaps we could make one of the Sola Roof projects a guinea pig?
- The Open Univeristy project is called the Open Coop - it got some seed money from OU but it is actually independent of the OU. GaryAlexander? is the key person behind the Open Coop and he has offered to support our collaboration environment for the Post Tsunami Visions initiative - so this is one of our Wiki Groups that could grow into a major portal in it's own right. Eco Sphere has a big role to play in this project so I expect that we can also grow this Wiki Group into a project that will pioneer team building and collaboration. The business side of Eco Sphere development in the USA could involve forming a team and then that group could develop an enterprise. One of the people who is likely to be participating (in addition to you) is jefbuder and I will post a Log entry here about that tomorrow.
Ed, would you be able to set up a calendar system here? See Andres Log for instructions.
Your comment about tensioning the envelope and using cheap tarp material for the covering sounds great.
The building envelope will be a tension skin and the primary components are the pentagon shaped sheets that will have special edges that would lock into the edge components that also act in tension. The compression frame will push outward on the envelope. I am thinking of the temporary posts that are used to support temporary forming when pouring a concrete slab floors above the ground floor level. These posts have a threaded collar that pushes up the upper portion of these posts so that they can support the forming. First they are placed then they are expanded in length. This kind of mechanism would snug the envelope to the frame. I think that about 10 of the 18 vertex need to have an expansion mechanism. Probably there are many ways to accomplish this and we can have pages that focus on this subject.
Would it be practical to just use a cable mesh for the envelope structure?
The edge members will act only in tension and so they can be very light cables or flat bar shapes that form the pentagon shapes of the twelve sides of the structure. But the envelope itself would be quite light and it could be formed from a wire mesh that is tensioned - however this is usually going to be a coated fabric, generally called a Sola Fabric that has a non stretch substratum of wovern fabric or scrim or woven ribbons in the case of the Poly Fabric?. These substratum are woven or formed from fibers or ribbons that have been "drawn" out to give them a high tensile strength - then they are coated or laminated to film material to make weatherproof sheeting. We are interested in translucent and transparent materials to form the double skin (or sometimes triple skin) of a Sola Roof Building Envelope.
I’m sure at some point flutter becomes an issue.
These skin materials have such a high strength and light wieght that they are ideal for our envelope skin because they can accept a tension that will prevent flutter. Lighter film materials can be held between a nets of wire or plastic so that they will not flutter.
If this sounds like the way to go for this project, would you have any suggestions about the hubs? I’m imagining a plate with holes drilled in it where the cables thread through then a second plate to crimp them and prevent slipping … something simple along those lines seems appropriate. Then I was thinking of some stout threaded rod at the ends of the compression members to extend the length and tension the mesh.
Yes, this is along the lines that I am thinking. However, to the extent that the pentagon edges are formed as a continous loop of cable. Therefore, since the tension is distributed all around the circle then the clamping action is not critical. Another way to get a similar result is to make each pentagon edge a loop that circles around the bolt or pin in the end plate. The cable is spliced along the length of the edge member, not near the hub. The pentagon shaped sheets that form the envelope have edges that extend between the cables and an edge extrusion that holds adjoining edges together and also capture the cables - a continuous locking mechanism that is extremely strong but can be easily assembled and disassembled without any damage to the components. Each Pentagon Skin? component is identical and has an area of: edge length squared x 1.7
(By the way, I was thinking of ways to do this in a more refined portable version and it crossed my mind that perhaps the beams could be placed in the mesh then the two columns could have a hinge at the floor level so that they could be pulled together with a come-along, then lock in place, hoisting everything up like a scissor lift… food for thought perhaps.)
We could have a combination of methods that make it easier to assemble the large structures and the final tension mechanism could use the extensible hub on some of the vertex. It would be great to have a system that can be used to assemble large Eco Sphere stuctures without needing cranes.
My meeting with Marvin Rothfusz went well. He’s become a member of a CERTS team, and believes that the chances of a Sola Roof project being supported is high. I find it exciting that this group is tied to the University of Minnesota for the prospects of future cooperation. Marvin is not trained in on the funding process yet, but he believes that this Fall would be the soonest something could come together.
On Monday I am visiting Nottingham University to talk with the Head of the School of Building Science and I will be tremendous if we can build a collaboration of University teams to back up our grass roots network. The timing is important for the Post Tsunami Visions initiative. And I would like to see a small scale project built (perhaps a crude "rapid prototype" that you could coble together) as a proof of concept and to give us a good understanding of the real world details required to make a workable project. I have settled on the scale where an edge member is 5 M length. The cube edges are almost exactly 8 M and the crossing compession members are 13 M length. The vertical central columns have a peak elevation above grade of 9.5 M and there are two principal floor levels, one of 13 x 13 M at grade and the main floor, at the level of the two mid elevation crossing beams, which has an area 13 x 5 M. Each floor has an area of 64 M2. The Pentagon Skin? components would have an area of 42.5 and the envelope area is 42.5 x 12 = 510 M2
I think incorporating algae biomass would be well accepted by this organization. I’m going to do what I can to foster a relationship with CERTS, which can be problematic since they always seem to meet during business hours.
That is great - I have found the CSIRO group in Australia that could have much to offer in connection with Mass Algae Culture. Also we need to develop contacts with the University of New Hampshire group.