Pumping Aircrete overhead?

  • Our building project entails use of aircrete to fill concrete block walls and also to backfill between the blocks and the earth behind (insulation, waterproofing and added structural support). However, our walls will reach 30 rows of block, 20' high, and the thought of doing it by bucket/ladder is daunting. Anybody out there have thoughts/experience on pumping it? Thanks

  • @gemniii Standard cement mixers are more expensive, heavy, and large, yet less effective than a hand held drill mixer. Standard concrete mixers are designed to mix sand (little hard bits) and gravel (larger hard bits) with cement and minimal water. Mixing very wet mud with foam instead of hard bits seems to require less torque, but more horse power or something like that.

    Sounds like @Talyn71 has experience pouring molds up to 8' high (see post)

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  • @steve I'm watching this thread because I would also like to find a way of building walls with low equipment cost. But to do that effectively one would need a continuous low volume supply of 'crete.
    But one concern is -
    Does aircrete compress when poured in a form?
    Could I take a "standard" 8' tall concrete form and pour aircrete into it and get a "good" wall?
    I see videos of people cutting and stacking blocks for domes and Harrys attempted wall pour for a dome but have not seen 8' vertical walls poured.

    And a separate question is why does noone use a "standard" cement mixer?

  • @ach2oman That's an interesting example you've provided. 90 gallons per minute! I'm assuming that 1.625 inch solid handling means it wont clog or jam even when rocks or other bits come in that are up to 1.625 inches. If that's true then this one could pump actual concrete with decent sized gravel. This thing would easily handle aircrete.

  • https://www.absolutewaterpumps.com/amt-gorman-rupp-gas-diaphragm-pump-335a-96-3-90-gpm-briggs-power
    They are a little pricey but I have seen them on craigslist used much cheaper. I have never used one for aircrete application, but do know their capability working in the water and wastewater industry for 35 yrs. They can pump some pretty solid sludge. Aircrete is not as thick as some sludge that I have pumped. These pumps are bid workhorse.

  • @ach2oman Could you provide a link to an example of an diaphragm pump model that you think could work? I see so many models online with different specs that I don't know where to start.

  • Gasoline powered diaphragm pump will work, has positive displacement, a sure fire way to pump aircrete. I would definitely put a bypass on it , because any flow stoppage or deadheading the pump will pop a hose or connection. Those pumps are very strong and can almost pump peanut butter. Good luck.

  • @steve said in Pumping Aircrete overhead?:


    I don't think any sucking pump will work. Think of it like this if your drinking something that is foamy with a straw it's very hard to suck up, until you touch the liquid than you make a vacuum
    and the straw works. Same deal aircrete has to much air, But I had to try anyway.

  • @steve The baking soda was for helping the cement set faster that's what I heard so I was testing the idea, I did not notice any difference in setting time.
    Also I'm testing to make a very lightweight aircrete for insulation so all the collapsing you saw was from using very light foam. 1 pound of foam to a 5 gallon bucket If I used 3 pounds of foam to a 5 gallon bucket I would not have so much collapsing. Just trying new recipes seeing how far I can push the limits to learn more, nothing better than hands on experience.

    The crystals is a absorbent polymer I will be videoing some more test so you can see just how much of a difference it makes with aircrete.

  • thx. having watched Heroic Harry's video, i am left to guess the viscosity (weight) of aircrete is too light for an impeller to push uphill.

  • @steve My thought was to put the core of the "mixer" system up on the scaffold, use at least a pulley to carry up the un mixed cement, then the water and air could just go up with hoses. I know a lot of people don't like/are afraid of heights. So that could be a limiting factor.

    But I used to work as a roofer and heights don't bother me much.

  • @Talyn71 did you end up trying the gas pump? Separately, what was the point of baking soda and crystals in the mixture ("thickening the water"). i have never had a mix where it collapsed as yours did.

  • @gemniii Yes, i can scaffold the project, but i still need to bucket the material up. the idea was to avoid the up/down ladder effort.

  • @Talyn71 Thanks for posting your "failed" experiments. It's easy to share the more successful experiments, but these types of posts are every bit as helpful.

  • @steve Here is another pump I tested. Youtube Video

  • @steve Can you put up a scaffold and mix and pour at the level you need?

  • thanks. i did find that. i might try a 'trash' pump rather than the compressed air that Harry set up.

  • I think Aircrete Harry (on youtube) has done something like that he is trying to do a monolithic aircrete dome and he uses some sort of pump to fill the two airforms. I dont know exactly how he does it but if you search through his videos you will find it.
    Hope this helps

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