Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

David Watkins

Committee Member 1

George Dewey

Committee Member 2

Chelsea Schelly


Access to sanitation for rural and indigenous Panamanians is the vision of global efforts to improve their quality of life. As part of on-site work from the Peace Corps to change public perceptions about open defecation, the author designed and tested a new type of ferrocement latrine slab to reduce the amount of materials involved in building latrines and by extension the manual labor involved. In the course of this investigation, a sanitation based case study establishes the precedent for working with ferrocement in these areas, and the author explores the history and structural properties of ferrocement. In laboratory experiments, six 3 to 4-inch slabs proved to be reliable under extraordinary stress while reducing the amount of materials by 75% compared to a conventional reinforced concrete slab. Overall, this study validates the new design that makes a dramatic improvement in material efficiency. The test results are limited to the specimens constructed and evaluated during this experiment, but results show potential for what can be done in the field.