Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Introduction to Floating Concrete Structures

Floating concrete structures are used to construct a large array of structures, such as highways and streets, bridges, large buildings, airport runways, irrigation structures, breakwaters, piers and pavements, silos and farm buildings and homes.

Floating concrete structures are constructed using high strength; quality controlled reinforced concrete which includes pre-stressing or post-tensioning. The designs also take advantage of positive Styrofoam floatation enclosed in concrete.

The design of the floating concrete structure must meet the operating conditions, strength and serviceability requirements, safety requirements, durability and cost-effectiveness. An appropriate design service life is prescribed depending up on the importance of the structure and the return period of natural loads. Its service life is generally expected to be as long as 50 to 100 years with preferably a low maintenance cost.
Floating Platform at Marina Bay, Singapore
 As floating structures are inherently base isolated from earthquakes, they are ideal for applications as floating emergency release bases in earthquake level countries. Very large floating structures have been used for storing fuel. Constructed like flat tankers parked side by side, they form an ideal oil storage facility, keeping the explosive, inflammable fluid from populated areas on land.
Nkossa Barge allows docking of ships
The materials used for the floating body may be steel, or concrete or steel-concrete composite and the relevant specifications should be followed. Since water tightness of concrete is important to avoid or limit corrosion of the reinforcement, either watertight concrete or offshore concrete should be used.
Docking Facilities of LNG
Advantages of Floating concrete structures:
• Cost effective
• Environmental friendly as they do not damage the marine eco-system
• Easy and fast to construct
• Can be easily removed
• Do not suffer from differential settlement due to reclaimed soil consolidation
• Their positions with respect to the water surface are constant

The tensile strength of concrete is much lower, but by using properly designed steel reinforcing structural members can be made that is as strong in tension as they are in compression.  (ArticlesBase SC #980827)


  1. These types of structures do make sense as long as the ecosystems in which they reside aren't negatively impacted. Construction of these structures can have a lot of backlash if environmental concerns are ignored.

  2. I recall that in an issue of Concrete Magazine in the 1980's there was that article dealing with Floating Concrete structures. Examples cited were: Section of a Bridge in the Highway near Seattlle, WA; A helipoint in the harbor of Philadelphia, PA (I think). In Brazil this kind of structure has been usaed also in harbor and as Guide or Trainning Wall for a Navigation Lock.

  3. There are many types of concrete each designed for fulfilling specific technical, structural and aesthetic.In the broadest definition, concrete is a mixture of Portland cement. Non Explosive Demolition Agent