Watering blocks during building for a stronger igloo?

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Banff Martin
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Watering blocks during building for a stronger igloo?

Post by Banff Martin » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:29 pm

Hello,

I recently glimpsed a video of people making a quasi-igloo with large square buckets, where they first loaded & packed the bucket with snow & then poured water on top before proceeding to build with the bucket-block.

I have to wonder, if one experimented first to determine the amount of water to be added, if it would make sense to add a bucket of water to each block during construction, between filling the form & moving the form? I'd think this would make for a much longer lasting igloo and even reduce sagging over time?
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Watering blocks during building for a stronger igloo?

Post by Igloo Ed » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:58 pm

One person in MN didn't get the packing of the cold ice right away and they had access to water. They mixed up slush on lake ice and put that in the form. He said it was pretty much a solid ice igloo. Any water at all is sure to make the igloo stronger and melt slower.
I've built quite a few times with man made snow that was soaking wet. It made an igloo that lasted all winter in MN.
The one problem that can happen though is the form icing up. Air temp or snow temp can make that happen. I've used wet snow from the sun when the form was in the shade and have it freeze up. I've also had the snow itself be cold with a slush layer on top. That froze up on a warm sunny day.
Using slush might have enough mass that the form wouldn't freeze up. The cold snow with slush on it didn't get mixed right and the globs of slush made contact with the form. Those were days of old and didn't know the mixing techniques yet.
It'd sure be fun throwing in slush like soupy mash potatoes. Probably wouldn't need to pack it.

Banff Martin
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Re: Watering blocks during building for a stronger igloo?

Post by Banff Martin » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:19 am

Good to know, thanks!
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Watering blocks during building for a stronger igloo?

Post by Igloo Ed » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:41 pm

The one drawback of ice walls is the loss of insulation from the outside temps. Just icy snow and the igloo is colder than one built with fresh powder.
In your case where people show up for a short time, it wouldn't make much difference in temps as it takes a while to warm the igloo up until the surface of the walls reaches the melting point. Then it is dependent on the type of material it is. Ice always has a fast heat exchange where powder has air in it and it slows the rate of exchange.

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