FCB Top Revealed


FCB Top Revealed

We recently removed the scaffolding and form work above the Freezer-Cooler-Brine (FCB) rooms that we had just poured. The interior of the FCB ceilings are barrel vaults, using the same forms we used to build the Chiller.

The top surface of the vaults is more like the catenary arch design of the cutting room and cave a.k.a. curing room a.k.a. cold kitchen. Embedded in the concrete are heat electrical conduit, heat exchangers, refrigerant lines and a little bit of DWV plumbing for the evaporator condensate and brine as well as test points for research.

Having all of this embedded in the pour means the interior walls will be smooth which are easier to keep clean and sanitary. That will save us time and make for better food safety and quality.

The research test points are so I can monitor systems deep within the insulation to see how well the real world holds up to my theoretical models. Data! I love data…


Butcher Shop in June Sun

The heat exchangers will let us use our natural cold environment to chill our reefer much of the year. Winter is good for something. Even now with the temperatures up to 80°F the interior of the butcher shop is staying cool (60’s) because of the building’s immense thermal mass. This is in spite of the fact that the doors are open, the tower is open and we have a fan running to vent the heat of reaction from the latest 100,000 lbs of concrete we poured recently. This coolth makes working inside the butcher shop quite pleasant on a hot summer day.

The FCB is actually three separate, thermally isolated and insulated rooms although we poured them all at once. That was a bit of a trick since we were pouring on both sides of the pink foam thermal breaks. To do that we drilled monitoring holes in the forms up the inside of FCB so that we could tell how much concrete was in each of the six sections. The floors are at different heights due to the difference in insulation need for each room – the Freezer has R-100. We then began the pour by bringing each wall section to the base line 0′ above the footer – this meant pouring over two feet of concrete in the Brine walls, more in the Cooler and only a few inches in the Freezer. Just to make it a little more challenging the rooms are different lengths and the walls are different thicknesses. This made it take longer to pour Brine and Cooler sections than Freezer.

Also poured into the concrete is stainless steel rebar, stainless steel sockets for hanging the rails and evaporators and basalt mesh for reinforcement.

Despite my anxiety, because the pour was both critical, complex and our first indoor pour, it went perfectly. Maybe anxiety, a little worry, helps make things go better. Now it has cured enough that we can take off forms to see our work. Really cool – And soon to be cold!

In the top picture you can also see the joists and beams that held up the formwork for the ceiling pour that we did in December. That was more than three times as much concrete at about 328,000 lbs. The fact that those ceiling forms did not fail is why we were able to work inside on the butcher shop all winter. Not only did they not fail but I noticed recently that the 24’x32′ form had deflected less than 1/8″ when loaded. Impressive.

The hose in the top picture is for Hope to keep the concrete moist during curing – an exothermic reaction which has been using up some of our winter coolth.

Outdoors: 81°F/65°F Partially Sunny, Some Rain
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/66°F

Daily Spark: There used to be an entire town on our land. Many houses. They are all gone except our old farm house, and it is on its last legs. That house was the first building built here and it is the last. All the rest are stone foundations or less, virtually invisible in the forest. Nature perseveres. Sometimes the parking lot gets torn down and they put in a meadow.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to FCB Top Revealed

  1. Lot’s of non-intuitive material behaviours are touched in your story-telling of the pour and the design that went into it. The many-material-behaviours-and-time-delayed-side-effects-while-maintaining-close-oversight reeks of NASA at its best showing us what is possible. Are you sure you’re not making a secret-hush-hush space rocket launcher disguised as a processing-facility?

  2. Melissa says:

    Walter I marvel at what is possible when one is creative, determined, and willing to push the limits. To me you represent a peice of America that has withered away and all but disappeared due to _______. You can fill in the blank.

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