1. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    drown in cement

    Discussion in 'Research' started by vinniram, Feb 1, 2010.

    is it possible for someone to be submerged in liquid cement mixture and for the cement to harden, encasing their body and making them suffocate? Or, will the body float to the surface before the cement hardens, or else will the body disrupt the process of hardening? i've looked around but no good google hits for "drowning in cement".
     
  2. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    I don't know how accurate this is (probably not very) but on an episode of Grey's Anatomy a teenager was stuck in cement and it hardened around him (his face was uncovered however). The most damage came from the chemicals in the cement leeching into his body and the pressure on his chest.

    EDIT: Rereading this it doesn't seem very helpful. Sorry I couldn't give you anything more useful.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The buoyancy of the human body would tend to make it float to the surface, but the cement mixture is rather viscous, and becomes increasingly so as it sets. But if the body were weighted, or hung up on an obstruction (like a section or rebar), or if the cement were poured on top of the person, the body might never reach the surface before the concrete hardens.
     
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cement mixtures are adjusted for desired hardening times. For example, high rise construction mixtures are very "thin" (watery) so it can be pumped up to the level of construction before hardening. The pump supervisor at ground level tests every truck's load for the degree of "stiffness" before he authorizes pumping. If a load has been waiting too long in a line of trucks, and begins to thicken, the entire load is rejected. On the other hand, cement for a sidewalk or foundation is mixed to thicken quickly.

    In answer to your question, the rate of "floating up" due to buoyancy would slow quickly as the cement sets up. Quick setting mixes would stop the body from moving much while a thinner mix might allow the body to reach the surface or possibly put a noticeable bulge in the finished cement.
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Forget cement and use ready-mixed concrete. The large-grade stone used in it would prevent any floating from happening and would likely crush / knockout the victim if poured on to him either from a conventional mixer (truck with rotating barrel), or from a industrial pump as NaCl suggests.

    FYI on smaller construction projects, like new housing estates, cement also now arrives ready-mixed but is placed in large silos with taps beneath into which the workers would let flow approx 1-2 tonnes of cement at a time (enough to last half a day for two working hard laying porous clay 6 inch bricks). The forklift driver on site would then usually carry the large containers to where it is needed, and depending on the size of the fork, can lift it to two stories high.

    If one of these containers fell on someone it would kill them through sheer weight, and if left the cement would set of course. If a silo fell over for whatever reason a similar effect would happen. But if its purposeful burying alive you're after, the volumes needed indicate industrial foundations and a pump. If you use quick hardening concrete then you could perhaps acheive what you want and have it set around the person. Drowning may kill in this instance, but crushing would be as likely.
     
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  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great point, Gannon. Large stone aggregate, like in ready-mix, would prevent any "float" from the body, and the victim would likely die from suffocation due to the weight. I'll have to remember that next time I want to hide a body...no industrial concrete! LOL
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, Dean, too risky. Too many workers at a concrete pour. Too much of a chance the body will be seen before it is encased.

    Better if he's a victim of a random mugging turned lethal. If someone goes to the trouble of trying to hide a body, the police expect to find a connection between victim and killer.
     
  8. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Didn't stop the Detroit "boys" with Jimmy Hoffa! LOL
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Nah. He was mulched and used as a fertilizer additive. For years, everyone who ate Midwestern corn had a little Jimmy Hoffa at dinner. ;)
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does that make corn-fed steak, Italian food?

    - sorry for getting off topic -

    Let's see, to the OP, if you google "concrete aggregates" or "concrete curing time", you'll get lots of information that should be useful to your subject.

    Am I out of trouble now for getting off topic? LOL
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    funny you should mention hoffa...

    my daughter was head page in the us senate when he disappeared and she told me of an odd 'coincidence' she noticed... the new teamsters building was being built then and one night, not long after he went missing, for some never-explained reason, they made a cement pour in the middle of the night!

    so, ever since, teamsters have been 'saluting' jimmy when they pass the building, much as catholics will cross themselves when passing a church...
     
  12. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always wondered about the whole premise of hiding a body in cement at a construction site. I've worked in the construction industry for going on 20 years and I can tell you that a pour done in the dead of night would be noticed the next day by the crew.

    Now if you really wanted to be successful you could bury your victim under the prepared area and re-compact the dirt above. Still a serious risk for discovery due to possible plan changes or if the body happened to get dug up by animals before the crew arrived the next day. Perhaps a grave filled partly with cement, allowed to set up, then finished with dirt....
     
  13. 67Kangaroos
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  14. mammamaia
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    which, of course, it was!... thus, the source of the assumption...
     
  15. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    I helped pour cement for the floor of a shed last summer, and it's seemed to me to be more like mud/quicksand than water. I don't think if, for example, you had a swimming pool filled with that type of cement (what it was I have no idea) and chucked somebody in there, that they'd float.
    Then again I've never tried it myself.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Mud/quicksand/cement is denser than water, denser than a human being. given enough time, and no weights or snags to hold a body down, it will float to the surface and partially above the surface.

    Viscosity limits the rate of ascent, and of course the viscosity of cement rapidly increases until it is effectively a solid. But despite what you see in movies and TV shows, an unencumbered body at rest in mud or quicksand will indeed float, and float fairly high (chest or shoulder high).

    Movements can force the body to rise or sink, but once movement has stopped, buoyancy takes over.
     
  17. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    Learn something new every day. :)

    Time would really be the enemy, I suppose. If you did, for some reason, have a deep pool filled with cement and dumped someone into it from a height which would cause them to be submerged, it is probably that they would suffocate before they could reach the surface. They would become less buoyant as the cement solidified. The cement I mention cured so you could stand on it within a couple hours.
     
  18. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Too true. Matter of fact, this is why forms not only have to be securely strapped together, but also to the ground. Forget to do that anywhere and the concrete will push the form straight up and pool out. Wet concrete has an incredible ability to make stuff you don't want to float pop up like a cork.

    This is why you would want to drive rebar through your victim's body and into the ground below. Killing can be messy work. :cool:
     
  19. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    Also making the concrete stronger, no? Killing is messy, I think I'll avoid it
     

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