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Underground Bunkers

Used shipping containers that are used by shippers of products via ocean travel are showing up in the marketplace at (relatively) low prices and are being used for a variety of applications. The most obvious application involves using them for residential outdoor storage for seasonal gardening equipment or other things that need are used during certain times of the year and then need to be kept out of sight or out of the weather.

People are now buying used shipping containers and burying them in their back yards with the intention of using them as underground bunkers. They will be used as a means of escape during severe weather, civil unrest outbreaks or even nuclear war. But many people are questioning whether or not used metal shipping containers are adequate or even safe for such uses.

Shipping Containers Are Sturdy, But Just How Sturdy Are They?

One reason that people are using used shipping containers as underground bunkers is the cost effectiveness, as previously mentioned. They're also relatively lightweight so getting one into the ground would not involve the use of a major construction crane. But there are some factors involved that suggest they may not be the best thing to use for underground bunkers.

Shipping containers, whether they be new or used, have their strong points-the areas of the container that can take the most vertical pressure at each of the four corners. They are designed to be stacked one on top of the other for their ride across the ocean. And they remain strong as long as they are interlocked together. In other words, because each container is identical, a stack of several containers on a ship distribute all the weight through each of the four corners from the top of the stack to the bottom.

As long as they are stacked that way they remain strong in spite of the fact that the flooring and walls of the containers are quite lightweight and relatively thin. But when you take shipping containers out of the arena for what their intended and bury them underground to be used as underground bunkers, will they keep the same strength?

Many people who have studied this idea have come to the conclusion that shipping containers as underground bunkers are quite dangerous to be in. Even a used shipping container, if it's in decent shape, still has its strength at its four corners. But when buried underground, the four corners are not the sole carriers of the strain on the container like they are as part of a stack on a cargo ship.

A shipping container underground will now have pressure being applied from all directions, especially against the sides and the top. Some opponents of using shipping containers for underground bunkers propose that because the sides and top are lightweight and relatively thin, a shipping container buried underground could collapse with as little as just a few feet of soil or other earthen material over the top. The problem of rusting metal is an issue as well, and everyone knows that rusting metal underground-no matter how thick it is-does not tend to stay strong for very long.

There are some companies that sell used shipping containers to be used for underground bunkers that have been reinforced with extra steel on all sides and have special coatings to help prevent rust. Some come with pre-fitted ports in the sides and top for plumbing and air ductwork. Does this make the containers safer to use for underground bunkers?

No one's quite sure. There's a lot of debate going on regarding the subject and many opponents suggest after spending all the extra money to reinforce a shipping container to make it safer underground, you might as well skip the idea and build a bunker using other traditional methods.

Regardless, anyone considering using shipping containers as underground bunkers should do a lot of homework, tons of research and throw in a huge dose of common sense.


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