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Seminar Report
In Patial Fulfilement
for the award of the Degree of
Bachelor of Technology
In Department of Civil Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering

Engineering College,Bikaner

Rajasthan Technical University

Submitted to: Submitted By:

Mr. Prashant Bhakhar Mitesh Singh
Head of Department 15EEBCE033
Civil Engineering Department
Engineering College, Bikaner
Candidate Declaration

I hereby declare that the work, which is being presented in the Seminar, entitled
“CONSTRUCTION OF ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS” in partial fulfilement for the
award of Degree of “Bachelor of Technology” in Dept. of CIVIL ENGINEERING
submitted to the Department of Civil engineering, Engineering College Bikaner,
Rajasthan Technical University is a record of my own investigations carried under
the Guidance of Shri. ROHIT VYAS Department of Civil Engineering,
Engineering College Bikaner.

I have not submitted the matter presented in this report anywhere for the award of
any other Degree.



I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all those people who have been
directly and indirectly with me during the competition of this seminar.
I pay thank to Prashant Bhakhar sir who has given guidance and a light to me
during this major project. His versatile knowledge about “CONSTRUCTION OF
ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS” has eased me in the critical times during the span of
this Seminar.

I acknowledge here out debt to those who contributed significantly to one or more
steps. I take full responsibility for any remaining sins of omission and














1. Introduction

An artificial island is an island that has been man-made rather than formed by
natural means. They are created by expanding existing islets, construction on existing
reefs, or amalgamating several natural islets into a bigger island.
Early artificial islands can be floating structures in still waters, or wooden or megalithic
structures erected in shallow waters.
In modern times artificial islands are usually formed by land reclamation, but some are
formed by the incidental isolation of an existing piece of land during canal construction,
or flooding of valleys resulting in the tops of former knolls getting isolated by water.
Some contemporary projects are much more ambitious. Kansai International Airport is
the first airport to be built completely on an artificial island in 1994.
Dubai is home to some of the largest artificial island complexes in the world, including
the three Palm Islands projects, The World and the Dubai Waterfront, the last of which
will be the largest in scale.
The Israeli government is now planning for 4 artificial islands to be completed in 2013,
of the coasts of Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Netanya and Haifa. Each island will house some
20,000 people and bring in 10,000 jobs.


2. Why Artificial Island?

Artificial islands are an expensive but in some cases it can be option for many
cities having lack-of-land problems. In the future they may be common sights as many
cities (especially Asian cities) around the world face severe urban land shortages and
congestion. Eventually, this may make man-made islands a logical option

Laws: There are probably some laws that you do not agree with in india. For example, in
the U.S., to drive a car in most states you would have to pay $1000-$2000 a year in car
insurance. If you created your own island, you would be able to enact your own

Money: If you have limited funds, cannot earn enough money to survive, or simply
cannot find a job, building an island may be right for you. Provided you live near a body
of water, you can build an island which has shelter, food from fishing, and a possible
income generating potential in the tourists that would come to visit your island.
There are also many ways an island can be utilised to generate both raw materials and
energy. The sea can be farmed just like ordinary land, only the products are different.

Stateless Individuals: There are some people who for reasons not entirely under their
control have been denied citizenship in all countries of the Earth. People who are in this
position literally have no where else to turn; however, it could be argued that people who
are in this position are also incapable of gathering the resources necessary to build an


3. Methods to construct an Artificial Island

 Dumping Method

The easiest (and simplest) method is to import large quantities of rocks and soil into a
shallow pool of water until the hill it forms breaks the surface.


Solid Foundation


Not movable
Must be placed in shallow water
Expansion requires enough material to fill a volume from your extended surface to the
sea floor i.e. 10 m^2 of extra land in 10 m of water will require at least 100 meters cubed
of material.
Erosion will be a problem without some way to hold the island together.


 General Floating Island


Can be placed anywhere
If it is built as a set of modules then expansion is almost unlimited.


No foundation for building.

Poor anchors will result in island drifting.
Storms damage may be more severe as centre of gravity is much higher compared to a
normal sea floor constructed island.

 Seacrete Method

Utilising electricity to cause minerals to be deposited onto a mesh of conductive wire.

Over time it will form a substance similar in strength to concrete.


Construction is inexpensive. Cost is the price of the mesh foundation and the electricity
required to deposit the seacrete.
Massive structures can be built.
Seacrete structures may become the basis of new reefs.


Still poorly understood

Will probably require shallow water.

 Pikecrete/Pykrete Method:

Serve as an extremely strong island material, it has the same strength as concrete but it
floats. It can be used to hold a foundation until a permanent location is found. Alternately,
if you would like to roam, just make a mold of a vessel and then pour it onto the mold
with a flat top as a foundation. It could also potentially serve as a boxing fence to pour in
dirt or sand to form an island.



Good for short-term.
Can be applied to the entire construction from sea-bed to above-sea level.


Can be expensive to maintain cooling and cooling pipes are a must,or else it would
melt. Although it would take a very long time, you don't want to ruin your new home.
Using it to construct an entire island can be expensive as a barge with dirt or other, terra-
firma materials are needed and can be costly.
Production of a mold.
Subsequent freezing can be costly as well.

 Volcano Method:

Many islands have been formed as the result of undersea volcanic activity - the
Hawaiian Islands are an example. A volcano is simply a point where the molten rock has
squeezed through a fissure leading to the surface of the earth. If an appropriate point can
be found where a volcano can be stimulated by drilling or placement of explosive on the
ocean floor, a subsequent eruption may form a cone of lava that reaches above the surface
of the water.


Creates a sturdy and solid landform; weathering will eventually turn the igneous rock
surface into fertile soil.


Immensely expensive and disruptive to the local ecology; no technology exists to

stabilize a volcano once one has been formed; location would be dictated by existing
geological structures.

4. Materials to construct an Artificial Island;

 Seacrete:

Seacrete, also known as Seament and Sea Cement, is a substance formed by electro-
accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater.
By using a low current and a metal mesh you can cause minerals to be deposited on the
mesh. Rate of deposition is limited by current used, flow rate of water and many other
variables. This is a fairly green technique as the only resources it requires that is not easy
to provide from a renewable source is the mesh. Although, perhaps it is feasible to
recycle scrap metal. Of course, the energy to produce the electricity must also be
considered and this will require resources.

 Concrete:

Concrete is not a particularly green material. Every ton of concrete releases two tons
of carbon dioxide during production and curing. However it is fairly cheap to construct
using concrete and the techniques are well known.

 Pikecrete/Pykrete:

Pikecrete is a compound invented by a British scientist named Geoffrey Pyke

working under Lord Mountbatten during the Second World War. It consists of ice with
14% sawdust or wood pulp and 86% water mixed into a slurry and frozen. The resulting
compound is not only roughly as strong as concrete, but also resists melting and is able to
float, being less dense. It also does not suffer from concrete's carbon dioxide output


As of today pikecrete/pykerete is not considered relevant by most scientists. Pykrete is

generally only used for glacial reconstruction.

 Steel and other metals:

Steel hulls have some great benefits. It's readily available all over the globe, it's not prone
to marine borers, it is quite cheap once you come up to a certain scale (some where
around 7 meters in diameter for a circular island).
But it certainly has some backsides as well. Since sea water is inherently erroding on
almost all metals, the steel has to be protected in some way. The obvious solution to the
layman is of course different kinds of paints and varnishes. As one intuitivly understands,
this not an ecological way, and since it usually demands some re-applying every now and
then you might have to see to that your island is capable of being dry docked. Another

alternative of conservation, or more correct, for delaying the erosion, is using anodes. The
two methods can be combined.

 Plastics and ceramics:

The word ceramic is derived from the Greek word (keramos). The term covers
inorganic non metallic materials which are formed by the action of heat. Up until the
1950s or so, the most important of these were the traditional clays, made into pottery,
bricks, tiles and the like, along with cements and glass. Clay-based ceramics are
described in the article on pottery. A composite material of ceramic and metal is known as
cermets. The word ceramic can be an adjective, and can also be used as a noun to refer to
a ceramic material, or a product of ceramic manufacture. Ceramics may also be used as a
singular noun referring to the art of making things out of ceramic materials. The
technology of manufacturing and usage of ceramic materials is part of the field of
ceramic engineering.

Many ceramic materials are hard, porous, and brittle. The study and development of
ceramics includes methods to mitigate problems associated with these characteristics, and
to accentuate the strengths of the materials as well as to investigate novel applications

5. Construction guidelines for Artificial Island:

 Floating Fishnet:

First of all, it would be better to construct these on land and transport them to the
Materials: Soil, fishnets, empty bottled water containers and/or empty soda bottles. Make
sure bottles are closed and air tight; preferably plastic.
Spread the fishnet over some flat area where plants are able to grow into the soil but not
the ground underneath (construct on top of something like concrete).
Figure out how you want the empty bottles to lay in the fishnet. You could try to tie them
to the fishnet or just lay them on their sides (if you think the roots of the plants you're
going to be using in the next step will secure them in the soil).
Cover with soil and plant plants as hopefully they will trap the bottles in their roots. You
will have to determine the depth of the soil you want. If it's too thin your weight won't be
dispersed enough and you may fall through, too thick and it may sink.
Here's how to work out how many bottles you'd need for your island:
Work out how much weight in soil you'll have for the island (in kilograms).
Work out how much weight in other facilities you'll have for the island (in kilograms).
Work out the maximum number of people you expect on the island, and multiply that
number by 70 kg.
Add the above numbers, altogether, and add about an extra 5~15% of that for safety.
The resulting number is the total number of liters in bottles that you'll require. Divide the
number by the bottle size (in liters) that you'll be using to get how many of them you
250 mL = 0.25 L; 500 mL = 0.5 L
Note: Do not employ glass bottles.


 Modular Construction:

It is envisaged that the island will be produced in a modular way, with sections able to
be added as required. Modules can be either free floating and anchored to the seabed,
possibly using an existing sea mount as the anchor point, or built up from the seabed

Modules can be any shape and design but the easiest shape both to deploy and built is the
rectangular platform. Hexagon modules should also be considered for additional reasons.
The prime one being increase of volume for a given surface area.

It is suggested that modules should be able to be raised and lowered in the water to allow
the modules to be moved as needed. A module completely empty of water has less inertia
and will be much easier to control for a tug or other propulsion system. A module half full
of water for example will be much more stable as long as that water is prevented from
moving from side to side (this is the same principle used for ship-board stabilisers and
fuel tanks in cars.) The easiest way to do this is to provide baffles in the buoyancy tanks
that prevent fluids from moving from one side of the tank to another.

One design that may be viable is that of a box, solid at all sides except the base which
will be covered with either mesh, if an internal lift bag is to be used or solid of all sides
with valves able to control airflow into and out of the tank. It is suggested that the tank be
divided into several sections to allow for redundancy if a tank should become damaged. It
is also suggested that the valves should be designed in such a way that if they fail there is
a backup valve able to stop it failing in a dangerous way.

The biggest risk for any island is the destructive force of a storm. A floating island as
suggested above should be able to cope with such a storm by increasing the amount of
water in it buoyancy tanks. In doing so it will become heavier and sit lower in the water.
It will also have less cross-sectional with which to be pushed against by the wind. The
only real problem will be the waves. Wave energy decreases with the depth below the
surface. The depth being dependant on the wavelength of the wave. In calmer water the
sub-surface effects of waves will be minimal, but during a storm wave-length increases
and therefore sub-surface effects do also.

One possibility for a floating island which will be difficult in practice would be to
literally sink the island during a storm and re-float it after it has passed. This would
probably be a last resort option as it would require a lot of disruption unless the modules
were designed for this action.

Compartmentalisation of the buoyancy tanks of a module should allow greater tolerance

of water ingress by limiting centre of gravity shifts through the structure and thus making
the module more stable. This can be proved in a little thought experiment. If we have a
spherical module, unlikely but it makes it easier to demonstrate the basic idea, with 25%
of its volume filled with water. Then there is nothing to stop the whole module from
spinning in any direction about its centre of gravity. If we now divide this sphere into
many little compartments and fill the lowest 25% of these with water then we essentially
have a module that bears a close resemblance to a weeble in terms of mass distribution.
Each time it is pushed from its stable position it will tend to return to this equilibrium
point. This is called pendulum stability. For every subdivision we create inside the
module we have a set of trade offs. With every division we tend to the ideal module with
a fixed centre of gravity, but its a case of diminishing returns since while initial divisions
will have great effect as you keep adding more you will reduce the effect and add more
mass to the structure, also cutting down usable buoyancy tank volume. This isn't very
scientific but instinct tells me that the ideal number of subdivisions is between 3 and 5
giving us somewhere between 9 and 25 separate buoyancy tanks, but this will depend
upon application.

We will go through a worked example for the rough design of a cubic floating module.
If we require a rectangular module that has a surface of 5 metres by 5 metres and can take
a payload of 4 tons in addition to its own mass then we need to calculate the mass of the
structure, the mass of the water inside the structure and how much water we need to
displace to get it to float.

The volume of the structure is given by the height x width x length for a rectangular
object. We'll use the height as 3 meters for now, we can always go back and change it

This gives us a volume of 75m3.

If we assume that we will be using seacrete or concrete as a basis for the structure, then
the calculations are as follows. Steps will be similar but with different figures for other

If we use a wall thickness of 0.1 metres then the volume of the walls is given by
(height x width x thickness x 2) + (width x length x thickness x2) + (height x length x
thickness x 2)
(3x5x0.1x2) + (5x5x0.1x2) + (3x5x0.1x2) = volume
3+5+3= 11m3
The mass of the walls will be given by volume of walls x density
If we use the mass of sea water as 1020kg/m3, air as 1kg/m3 and concrete as 2750kg/m3
For concrete this would be:11 x 2750kg/m3 = 30250kg
If we add to this the mass of air inside the structure we get an overall figure of 30325kg
The volume of water the structure will displace if fully submerged is 75m3 (The volume
inside the structure) + 11m3 (The volume of the walls) for a total of 86m3 The mass of
water it will displace is 86m3 x density of water
Or 86m3 x 1020kg/m3 = 87720kg
Since this is greater than the mass of the structure it should float and should be able to
take a payload of 57395kg before it would begin to sink. However, unless you distributed
the load carefully the structure is more likely to fail before you get to this point.
So far we have neglected to include subdivision of the tanks into the calculations. If we
wish to calculate the extra mass required to subdivide the buoyancy tanks we do the
Decide how much we will subdivide then tank by.
For example, to divide it into 9 sub tanks we would require 4 extra panels. 2 in the
lengthwise direction and 2 in the widthwise direction. Volume of these panels can be
calculated as follows.
(w x h x thickness x #panels) + (l x h x thickness x #panels) = total additional volume. for
our example previously this would give an additional 6m3 of volume (which needs to
also come off the usable volume of the tanks when filled with air) which has a mass of
6m3 x 2750kg/m3 = 16500kg
We can do this technique for more complex structures as long as the masses of the
structure and water displaced is known or can be calculated.

 Anchors:

There are many techniques used for anchoring items to the sea bed. The simplest
technique is simply to drop a large mass onto the sea bed and tether an object to it.

However, this solution is neither a particularly elegant solution nor is it efficient in terms
of raw materials.

One technique, which has gained popularity with structural designers in recent years, is
the idea of dropping a large bell onto the sea floor and pumping water from it. While
water is being removed, the bell will fill with sand, either by sucking up a large mass of
sand into itself, thereby causing its mass to increase, or by burying itself in the seabed,
causing an increase in static friction of the anchor. Which condition occurs will depend
upon the design of the anchor and the amount of suction provided upon installation. It is
unknown whether the first situation would have long term durability.

6. Artificial Island facilities:

If you ever get to the point where you have successfully built an artificial island, it still
will not be fit for human habitation without some necessities, listed below in the most
likely order of importance:

 Water:

Purification of Sea Water:

Sea water can be processed to remove any dissolved salts to provide almost pure water.
The simplest technique for doing this is simply to heat the water until it evaporates and
then recondense the water into a fresh water tank. As a by-product of this you will have a
large quantity of salt.

 Food:

If you do not live on the island permanently and have a main base on another land, it
would be more practical to send routine supplies to the island rather than attempt any of
the following.
Food Producing Plants.

 Freshwater Plants:

You're going to have to keep the plants away from the saltwater that your island is
probably floating in. One solution is to plant these above the ground, and you're also
going to have to give them some of the salt free drinking water for them to survive. If the
island has no native soil, then it will be required to either import it or generate it from raw



 Saltwater Plants:

Edible marine plants include the seaweed kelp and the red alga carrageenan.

Fish are the most available source of meat for an island. Although means of cooking
them would be less readily acquired. Sushi is an alternative, combining farmed seawedd
and raw fish. Shellfish can be gathered in large amounts by use of cages and traps

 Power:

OTEC Generators
OTEC is an acronym standing for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. It uses the
difference in temperature between the cold water at depth and the much warmer water at
the surface.

Wind Power
Off-shore the wind has few obstacles that cause turbulence; because of this the wind
tends to blow slightly stronger. (Mention anchoring to seabed or floating platforms (and
anchor problems) and economies of scale)
Advantage: 24 hours, except when no wind
Wave Power Generators
These types of generators that harness the energy created by sea-waves is, so far, too
expensive and impractical for the average island-maker. Many of the various designs for

the generator are still frustrated by the practical challenges of the sea, chiefly storm
damage and saltwater corrosion. The salter's duck is one example of a wave based
generation system.

Current turbines
There are many currents in the sea, the most obvious one to most people is the gulf
stream. This flows year round at around 4 knots. A single turbine placed in this stream
could produce significant amounts of power. It is unknown how much power we could
remove from a current such as this before it may have an appreciable effect on the world.
(Mention Betz theorem as related to wind and adjust to water as just another fluid
dynamics problem)

 Communication

Communications can be split into two general areas, data and voice.

External Communications
Tying into the worldwide telephone network is not difficult even if out at sea. There are a
number of satellite networks designed for just this purpose.

Internal communications
There are many options for this, the cheapest solution would be to leverage standard
commercial hardware for the purpose. This boils down to 3 media types and a handful of
standards. The media types are radio, fibre and cable. Each of these has advantages and

Radio is very cheap to install but has problems with interference, range and lack of

Cable, meaning Gigabit Ethernet in this case also has a range problem unless routers are
used but has quite a lot of bandwidth and more can be added by just running an extra

Fibre is the most expensive to install but has fewer limits of range (few km for multi
mode fibre and around 80km for single mode fibre) and has a lot of scope for upgrading
bandwidth (WDM can be used to send multiple signals down a single pair).

7. A case study: - Burj Al Arab


Burj Al Arab was one of the most complex and challenging buildings in history of
engineering. It’s the first skyscraper to be built on an artificial island. There are several
engineering aspects in the building, which can make it very interesting to explain for the
class and professor. There were many new engineering issues that had to be solved for
this project. The challenging part was building the model, and I will be discussing these
two elements more through the report.


This project required building two models. The first model presented the entire building,
and the second one showed only the foundation. These two models were built separately,
but it connects all the aspects of the presentation together. Yaseen El-Gerwi built the
building model, and I built the foundation model.

The foundation model was more difficult than it seemed to be. The idea is to show how
the building is standing on steel piles within an artificial island. To do that I designed two
bases that’s connected by the piles. The materials that I used were formed of: balsa wood
sheets, cardboard, 1.3cm wood pile, .95cm wood pile, spray paint, and super glue. First, I
designed the lower base by creating the triangle, and drilled approximately 60 holes
within the triangles. To cut the wood piles into pieces, I used a saw to cut each pile into 5
inches pieces. After that, I placed the piles temporary and started working on the upper
base, which is similar to the design of the lower base. Designing the upper base was
harder because it have to match with the lower one exactly, otherwise it won’t connect.
After I carefully finished the upper base, I started working on connecting the two bases.
To connect them firmly, I was required to cut more of the edges, so the piles can fit. The
whole process of building the model took approximately 6 hours, most of the times were
spent on building the concept and finding tools.


 Artificial Island

In order able to make the building of Burj Al Arab more unique and symbolic, it has to be
built on a private island. Building the artificial island took approximately 3 years. First,
they piled rocks at a depth of 24 feet (Pourabedain Ehsan, 2008). Then they installed
concrete armor that can protect the island from the wave erosion. After that the island
became completely protected from wave destruction.

 Foundation

All of the skyscrapers that were built previously had a foundation connected to the
bedrocks. Under the island of the Burj there was only sand. The engineers used the
physics law to come up with solution. They drove 130 ft long concrete piles into the sand,
and relied on friction law to keep the building stable.


 Installing Trusses

To hold building firm against high winds and earthquakes, Architects came with the idea
of building huge steel trusses outside the building. Three steel trusses were installed on
each side of the building, and it were connected to a huge steel arch that was tied to the
reinforced concrete. The trusses were built in a factory 9 miles from the construction site
(Pourabedain Ehsan, 2008). Each truss weighs 165 tons and 85 meters in length, which
made transporting it extremely difficult (Dubai's dream palace, 2012). The contractors
brought one of the largest heavy lift transporters to transport the trusses at a very slow
speed, and roadways had to be closed. To lift the trusses, they used huge winches; like the
ones on offshore drilling rigs.

These trusses have to be placed on a very firm accurate point, but the physics of steel
create a big challenge. Steel contracts and expands with the change of temperature, and
desert weather known to change a lot through the day. In this case, the trusses couldn’t be
installed with a fixed point. Architects designed a fixing bracket that contains huge
washer, which is a hole rotate from the center. This lined up with the holes in the trusses.
The original idea of this solution comes up from the engine’s camshaft, which rotates in
similar way.

 Electric Load

In order to build a high class hotel of this size, they had to install the capacity for a huge
load of electric power. Each suite requires 14 kilowatts, which is 8 times the load of an
average European suite. This requirement increased the amount of electrical load on the
building by 50%. The building contains a total of 52,000 lights, and over 3,106 miles of
electric cable (Burj Al Arab, 2006). The suites also have advanced electronic service. By
a remote control, you can open and close doors, change temperature, and drop down a
television from the ceiling.

This advanced system can also have negative consequences. This massive power supply
can cause disturbance to the electric current and create a problem called harmonic
distortion (Dubai's dream palace, 2012). When this problem occurs it can cause the
melting in cables, which can burn the entire building. Electric engineers came up with an
ingenious solution. They designed a device called harmonic filter, which can detect the
harmonic distortion and cancel it. This solution saved the building from all electrical