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What is the SodaBIB Project?

Tell me about the Invention.

SodaBIB (Bottle Interface Bracket) deploys plastic water or soda bottles to form a roof membrane; it helps people to create shelter from garbage.

The Building Interface Bracket (BIB)

SodaBIB addresses the problem of plastic waste by enabling people to make useful things from two types of plastic: blow-molded PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and resin, thereby directing this waste away from landfills and oceans.

SodaBIB encourages craft, up-cycling, and participatory architecture. Soda BIB roofs promote a cool interior with natural ventilation and light. Plastic water bottles absorb heat when empty but do not radiate heat like corrugated metal roofs. Soda BIB up-cycles the design intelligence of both bottle and cap. The bottle shape introduces gaps between layers for natural ventilation; the bottles are secured to the BIB's by re-using their caps.

Step 1 - Preparing Plastic Bottles for their Second Life

Half of all bottles that are used in a SodaBIB roof merely need one cut, and they're ready to go. These are called "Top Thatch" bottles. The other half only need a second cut, and they are ready. These are called "Bottom Thatch" bottles.

The Building Interface Bracket (BIB)

These cuts are designed to help the bottles nest into each other for two reasons. First, the bottles drain "Top Thatch" to "Bottom", and then down to the next layer. This double-draining insures extra protection against leaks. Second, the nesting bottles support each other -- acting as a continuous diaphragm -- making a stronger roof.

At the SodaBIB Project, we're designing a special jig with 1" child-proof blade to insure that the cutting device is not inadvertently used in areas of poverty or need.

Step 2 - Disassembling a SodaBIB Pallet to be a Building Material

The SodaBIB pallet is several layers of a grid pattern that are perforated to split in one direction. An adult can break a pallet into layers with a small knife. Then, the layers can be further split into roofing purlins with one's bare hands.

A pallet consists of five layers of material that acts as decking, and nine blocks that create space for a forklift. The layers can be split along six perforations -- making seven purlins per layer and a total of thirty-five purlins per pallet (enough to cover about 100 sq. ft. of roof, per pallet).

Further, the blocks split apart too! Each block is designed to split into scores of roofing clips to help attach the purlin to any kind of roof. The clips can be lashed, nailed, or screwed into existing roof rafters of lumber, bamboo, or plastic -- all depending on what materials are on hand.

Step 3 - Assembling a SodaBIB Roof

Once the purlins and bottles are cut, assembling a SodaBIB roof is a breeze.

The Building Interface Bracket (BIB)

On the ground, bottles are simply slid into the purlin attachments, and the bottles' caps are tighten from the other side. If you know how to screw on a bottle cap, you can make this roof. The cap pinches purlin material creating a very strong and rigid connection.

Next, clips are attached to the purlins at regular spacing. Finally, a bottle-laden purlin is lifted into place, and snapped in.

This system is designed to have as much labor as possible done on the ground. Ladder time is reduced to clip-attachment and purlin-attachment so that falls and accidents are minimized.

How a SodaBIB Roof works.

The Breathing Roof

A. Rainfall strikes the roof. It hits a "Top Thatch" bottle. Surface tension and gravity prompts the water to slide down the bottle.

B. Rainwater slides down either side of the "Top Thatch" bottle and drips into the cup of the "Bottom Thatch" bottle of the same assembly.

C. The "Bottom Thatch" acts as a channel for collecting water. It is sloped to push water down toward the cut opening. The overlap between assemblies ensures that water drips from one "Bottom Thatch" bottle to the next.

The Stacked Roof

Why SodaBIB Pallets are so STRONG

The deck of a SodaBIB Pallets is three layers of specially designed material, stacked in a very intelligent way.

First, the layers are offset grid pattern to receive bottles. Each layer is perforated to split in one direction -- so an adult can break them apart into roofing purlins with his bare hands.

Second, the grid-pattern layers are offset pattern to nest within each other. That nesting helps the layers buttress each other, and prevent bending in any direction. The pattern is VERY strong, and commonly found in crystal structures -- classified as a body-centered Cubic Bravais lattice. This is the structure of diamonds and rock salt; Mother Nature give the best design hints.

Finally, the perforated layers are assembled in opposite directions -- exactly like common plywood. Since the perforations create a week direction in the layers, the next layer features perforations spanning in the opposite direction. This creates the same problem as plies sliced from a tree - which are stiff in the trunk's direction but wobbly in the cut direction. We copy the solution that plywood makers use -- laminating layers in 90-degree rotations -- so that our decking is uniformly strong.

SodaBIB Pallets are designed to meet the same specifications as plastic pallets used in the food-service industry.

Where SodaBIBs are needed.

SodaBIB roofs offer an ecological, breathing roof. They are best deployed developing countries or disaster relief zones where they mediate between rain, sun and over-heating.

The plain bottle

Who else is using plastic bottles in construction?

Non-performative plastic bottle building application has been attempted with the Fizzy Bottle Roof project and by United_Bottle. The BIB project advances these early successes by creating a universal building attachment system to allow an unskilled population to build durable roofs that are water-tight, and locally adjustable for climate needs.

The BIB system is applicable to disaster relief missions. It presents quick shelter for refugees already consuming bottled water. Further, BIB is an alternative to makeshift roofing systems (asbestos corrugated panels and tin roofs) used in developing equatorial countries. They are unstructured, over-heat easily, and use hazardous materials.

The BIB project plans to publish the success of its scheduled roof construction in the Dominican Republic. Articles, web sites, and promotion will continue to raise awareness of bottle reuse. Awareness will create more funds to disseminate BIBs to impoverished areas around the globe.