P17485: Lightweight Concrete Roofing Tiles


Project Summary Project Information

4 Walls is an organization that helps provide homes to the people of Nicaragua. 4 Walls is looking to create light weight roofing tiles that will replace the current roof which is made of sheet metal. The light weight roofing tiles should prevent rain water from entering the house and also animals from nesting on the roof. In addition the manufacturing process should be optimized with regards to the environment of Nicaragua. Last year a prototype of a light weight roofing tile was developed and met the requirements of being low cost and locally manufactured to meet the needs of families in Nicaragua.

The goal of the continuation of this project is to create an improved prototype through the process of building and experimenting with roofing materials. Key constraints in this project are mostly due to the environment of Nicaragua including the potential for earthquakes and hurricanes. In addition, the roofing tiles should utilize the resources available in Nicaragua and be the most cost effective option.

During the project definition phase our team reviewed last year's prototype and tried to understand their design process. We had initial meetings with the project stakeholders to better understand the scope of our project. The team wrote the initial problem statement, defined team roles, and refine the customer requirements and engineering requirements.

During the system design phase our team continued to research roof designs and materials of concrete and biochar. The team wanted to understand all the options and techniques that could be used to manufacture a roof. The team started this phase by making a functional decomposition and doing the bench marking of roof design and concrete mixes. Next for concept development, the team created a morphological chart and Pugh chart. In addition, feasibility analyses were conducted on different topics and a selection criteria was made. The design options were narrowed down to a one side pour style concrete roof or a peaked roof made with concrete tiles.

During the preliminary detailed design phase, the team transition to doing 3-point load testing instead of compression testing. The team began there preliminary research on doing an DOE and what factors would be involved. Lastly the team molded 3 different tile designs and conducted preliminary simulation on them, measuring the displacement and stress.

In the detailed design phase, the team decided on a final tile design of "W" shape. Simulations were ran in Creo to determine batten spacing of tiles and how they will be assembled on the house. For testing, new molds were created and the team made samples with different variations of different materials. The team determined that DOE factors would be amount of plastic, amount of biochar, type and amount of plastic.

In the Build & Test Prep phase, we recapped our teammate's trip to Nicaragua. One deliverable that came out of the trip, was to make a change to the attachment system. The manufacturing device was built and the DOE was started. Additional test plans and the risk table were updated.

In the Subsystem Build & Test phase, we made some finishing touches on the manufacturing device, started making the mold for the tile, and completed one iteration of the DOE. We also made a mini-mold to test the manufacturing device.

In the Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo, the group completed both of the test rigs. Additionally the group completed some preliminary testing including a standing on the roof tile and a mini leak test. The group finalized the tests plans to bring next phase. Lastly the group made an estimate for how long it would take to manufacture a roof in El Sauce, Nicaragua and update the cost analysis.

For more information concerning our project, please click on the following link for the Project Readiness Package.

Residents of El Sauce, Nicaragua stand next to their home built by The 4 Walls Project

Residents of El Sauce, Nicaragua stand next to their home built by The 4 Walls Project

Project Name
Lightweight Biochar Concrete Roof
Project Number
Project Family
Sustainable Technologies for the Global Marketplace
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
John Kaemmerlen, jxkpdm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Bonnie Yannie, bonnieyannie@gmail.com
4 Walls Project: http://www.4wallsproject.org/
Ithaka Institute: http://www.ithaka-institut.org/en/home
Sponsor (financial support)
Eagle Roofing
Storm-Lock Tyle Tye

Team Members

From left: Jennifer Kane, Luqman Zainalabidin, Rory Little, Mary Korycansky, Carmen Azzaretti

From left: Jennifer Kane, Luqman Zainalabidin, Rory Little, Mary Korycansky, Carmen Azzaretti

Member Role Contact
Mary Korycansky Project Manager mvk5850@rit.edu
Rory Little Testing/Manufacturing Lead rwl5880@rit.edu
Jennifer Kane Lead Engineer jak9304@rit.edu
Luqman Zainalabidin Modeling/Simulation Engineer lxz8085@rit.edu
Carmen Azzaretti Design Lead cma5841@rit.edu

Table of Contents


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation