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
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
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.