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Kosh
12-22-2005, 10:06 PM
If a man was put in cement shoes and thrown into the river how would he survive? Is there any everyday objects that could help?

September skies
12-22-2005, 10:17 PM
I don't know the answer to that but I was thinking that if you wanted a MC to survive it, you could always throw in some unforseeable condition in.....they didn't wait long enough for the cement to dry .. or something. Not sure. I'd like to see the answer to that.

MadScientistMatt
12-22-2005, 11:39 PM
Unless the character was hiding a sledgehammer in his trousers, your best bet might be incompetance on the part of the criminals. Some possibilities:

Using too little water in the cement and it didn't harden correctly. I haven't done very much cement mixing though.

The water was too shallow. The character ducks under the water until they leave, then sticks his head back up.

The shoes were too light, and the water close enough to shore that the character was able to walk into shallower water.

Pure luck. Striking an object on the way down, if pushed off a bridge or pier. This might cause the blocks to crack. This could even happen after entering the water.

Jamesaritchie
12-23-2005, 12:48 AM
If a man was put in cement shoes and thrown into the river how would he survive? Is there any everyday objects that could help?

If it's done right, he isn't going to survive unless he grows gills. It takes a jackhammer to get the cement off in under an hour.

Mike Coombes
12-23-2005, 02:02 AM
Concrete shoes, technically, not cement. Concrete's something I know about. As Mr Ritchie says, he'll need gills.

Just an additional, the lime in cement can cause terrible burns. Even if he managed to get the shoes off after they'd set, it's reasonably likely he'd need his feet amputated.

Cabinscribe
12-23-2005, 06:15 AM
Could the water be polluted with something (I don't know what) that would soften the cement/concrete?

Could both his feet be prostheses, so all he has to do is remove his cement/concrete covered appendages and float to the surface of the water?

Just trying to come up with ideas ...
:idea:

Jamesaritchie
12-23-2005, 10:21 AM
Concrete shoes, technically, not cement. Concrete's something I know about. As Mr Ritchie says, he'll need gills.

Just an additional, the lime in cement can cause terrible burns. Even if he managed to get the shoes off after they'd set, it's reasonably likely he'd need his feet amputated.

Actually, they are sometimes cement overshoes, not concrete. Concrete has sand and gravel in the mix, but with cement overshoes you don't always mix in sand and gravel, you just use quick drying cement. Or so I'm told.

Cement is, depending on exactly how you intend to use the concrete, roughly 7-15% of the mix. But cement, all by itself, makes for a very good and very solid base. Just add water, allow for shrinkage, and you have something that would hold an elephant.

In fact, cement, without the sand and gravel mix, shrinks a lot. The pressure of it shrinking will crush a man's feet.

But I'm told that many cement overshoes are nothing more than a bag of cement, often a quick set variety, and water. This makes the caustic action all the greater, and since shoes are removed before the feet are plunged in, I suspect this would be extremely painful. Both the shrinkage of the drying cement, and the highly caustic nature of the lime and sodium hydroxides burning away at your feet would probably make drowning something of a relief.

I mixed an awful lot of concrete when I was a yonker, and wet cement and bare skin just do not mix.

When done to a living person, this is part of the torture. Your feet are in the wet cement, and it hurts to the point of madness, and you just have to take it until the cement dries. Only then are you tossed in the water.

Jamesaritchie
12-23-2005, 10:23 AM
Could the water be polluted with something (I don't know what) that would soften the cement/concrete?

Could both his feet be prostheses, so all he has to do is remove his cement/concrete covered appendages and float to the surface of the water?

Just trying to come up with ideas ...
:idea:

No. Anything that would soften concrete would dissolve a person. I think they would notice if his feet were prosthetic. You remove a person's shoes and socks before giving them cement shoes.

September skies
12-23-2005, 10:28 AM
What if he landed among reeds. you always see that people breathing through them in the movies. He grabs one, it's like a long straw and he breathes through that.
Of course, sooner or later, he's going to get real tired of breathing that way.
But it can buy a little time in case someone came to save him.

Aconite
12-23-2005, 06:31 PM
What if he landed among reeds. you always see that people breathing through them in the movies. He grabs one, it's like a long straw and he breathes through that.
I don't see this happening. First, it's very hard to think clearly when you have severe lye burns on your feet and lower legs, and the pressure of the shrinking, dried cement/concrete has crushed your feet, you've just been tossed off a bridge, water has closed over your head, and you're sinking fast. Second, reeds grow only in shallow water. Anyone who took the time to make cement/concrete shoes would figure out where the water was deep enough to drown a man. Even if he grabbed a reed on the way down, it wouldn't do him any good if he couldn't get the tip above water. Also, "hollow" reeds usually have internal blockages that have to be cleared out. And don't forget that when you hit it, water is not soft. You can break bones and suffer internal injuries falling into water from a great enough height, and unless you've had special training, when you hit something after a fall, your tendency is going to be to gasp and draw in air--which will be water, if your face then goes under (humans have a reflex that makes us instinctively hold our breath when water closes over our faces, but that doesn't do you any good if you're gasping in when your face goes under); shallow water means you hit the water and then hit the bottom--you're going to be hurt if you land in shallow water. Third, if you're dealing with all the conditions set out in reason 1, you're not going to be breathing in a steady, shallow, controlled manner; you're going to be trying to gulp air.

Walk out of the water with cement/concrete shoes? Nope. The smallest bag of the stuff I've found is 50 pounds, and anyone making cement/concrete shoes is going to use more than that. Slogging or hopping through water with them on your feet is not a possibility.

rich
12-23-2005, 09:05 PM
CO2 tanks filling a rubber bladder hidden in a fold-away coat hood.

Of course, you have some heavy 'splainin' to do on how he knew before hand that they were going to deep six him.

Well, not that heavy: the perp knew his mother-in-law was done in the same way, and he had an idea who the perps were. Well, not his mother-in-law--that's not much to motivate him to track the killers...maybe his wife...better still, maybe his Dachsund..

MadScientistMatt
12-23-2005, 10:02 PM
Could the water be polluted with something (I don't know what) that would soften the cement/concrete?
:idea:

Acid will eat through cement given enough time, but you'd have to get some extremely concentrated stuff to destroy a concrete block. You'd be hard pressed to find a river as acidic as lemon juice. Substitute a tank of toxic waste and you might disolve the cement... but then you'd have other problems.

Cement would feel substantially lighter underwater - somewhere from half to 60% of its real weight. If the cement shoe makers failed to take this into account... maybe. You'd need a very strong hero and some rather dumb (or hurried) crooks.

If you wanted some ridiculously dumb crooks, there are grades of concrete that float. (http://www.matweb.com/search/SpecificMaterial.asp?bassnum=CLAC1E) However, they aren't the sort of thing you can find at Home Depot. You'd have to try to find floating concrete. This would be best for comic situations. For example, they want to mix up the concrete someplace where nobody will drive by, and pick a location where they have to carry in the sacks of concrete by hand. One of the crooks thoughtfully steals some lightweight concrete from a construction supply house so they don't have to carry such a heavy amount of cement.

Aconite
12-24-2005, 02:32 AM
Cement would feel substantially lighter underwater - somewhere from half to 60% of its real weight.
You also have to take into account the surface he'd be "walking" on, which is probably soft, squishy, deep, and inclined to stick to things. Having tried wading out of a pond with substantial amounts of muck on regular boots, I can say that both the weight and the awkwardness factor are vastly increased thereby.

MadScientistMatt
12-24-2005, 03:09 AM
True. You'd probably need solid rock (a few river sections near where I live happen to fall into this category), concrete, or gravel to walk on.

Just trying to come up with plausable, if highly unlikely, possibilities. As James said, if this is done right, the victim doesn't have a chance. I'm just trying to come up with ways in which it could possibly go wrong - and most of them require dumb luck or dumb perpetrators.

Kosh
12-24-2005, 04:04 AM
How does the weather effect drying cement? How long does ordinary and quick drying cement take to dry?

Jamesaritchie
12-24-2005, 05:30 AM
How does the weather effect drying cement? How long does ordinary and quick drying cement take to dry?

A chunk this big? At least four hours to dry all the way through, but it's probably not coming off after an hour. By this time the guy's feet are gone. He'll never use them again, and will probably have to have both amputated.

There really aren't any realistic ways out of this. The only chance the guy has if if they pour it and fail to wait for it to dry. Cement is lighter underwater, but it's still extremely heavy.

And remember. This guy has to get out before he drowns. He won't be wearing shoes or socks, and he won't be wearing any type of coat. Or anything else that could come free and float to the surface. Even crooks aren'tthat dumb.

So at the very best he has about four minutes to get free of the cement and reach the surface. Probably much much less time. You use more oxygen when you struggle. Realistically, no matter how well he can hold his breath under normal circumstances, he has no more than ninety seconds to get free and reach the surface.

I think the only real chance he has is if the crooks are nearly caught, maybe they see a patrol car coming, or if at sea, a Coast Guard cutter coming their way, and shove him in the water well before the cement is dry.

smallthunder
12-24-2005, 10:02 AM
Of course, you have some heavy 'splainin' to do on how he knew before hand that they were going to deep six him.

Well, not that heavy: the perp knew his mother-in-law was done in the same way, and he had an idea who the perps were. Well, not his mother-in-law--that's not much to motivate him to track the killers...maybe his wife...better still, maybe his Dachsund..

His dachshund!

What sort of sick, perverted, twisted, evil, EVIL! human being are you to come up with this terrible, evil, sick, perverted, twisted, er, did I mention TERRIBLE?, idea!

As if we dachshunds don't have enough to deal with, what with bigger dogs running over us like we are speed bumps, and all ... now we have to worry about sick, perverted, twisted, evil human beings ... I tell ya, it makes me just wanna crawl under the covers and stay there. Until dinnertime.

-- Nugget

Mike Coombes
12-24-2005, 03:06 PM
Concrete will set underwater if necessary.

Pretty much the only thing that will touch concrete is Hydrochloric acid, but it won't dissolve a block.

My big question on concrete (or cement) shoes, is: how do you get the guy to sit still for long enough? Even without the burning to make him fidget, if he moves his feet around as the concrete dries, he'll create voids that MAY be big enough to pull his feet out. The whole concept seems pretty unlikely, if you think about it. Make a block of concrete and tie your victim to it. far more time efficient, far more likely.

James, you're right about cement, but on it's own it's not as strong as a cement/sand/aggregate mix, needs more water and takes longer to set. A premix concrete (like you get, I would guess in the US in home depot or suchlike, ready bagged) would work reasonably well - setting can be accelerated by adding a squirt of liquid detergent, which breaks surface tension within the matrix and allows you to use less water - the less water, the stronger the end product. All concrete shrinks some when it sets.

As a thought, if, while the concrete is mixing, the victim could somehow get some sugar into the mix (depending on quantity a cup of sweet coffee might be enough) then the concrete wouldn't set properly - sugar works as a retarder.

Still wouldn't save his feet, though. Still say, from a bad guys's point of view, you make your concrete block first, cast a fixing in it, then tie/chain/handcuff your victim to it. And shoot him before throwing him overboard.

Aconite
12-24-2005, 03:20 PM
My big question on concrete (or cement) shoes, is: how do you get the guy to sit still for long enough? Even without the burning to make him fidget, if he moves his feet around as the concrete dries, he'll create voids that MAY be big enough to pull his feet out.
That's a good point. I assumed they killed people first and just used the cement to make sure the bodies weren't found, but if the point is supposed to be that they're alive when you push them in the water...um. Problematic, that.

Jamesaritchie
12-24-2005, 08:35 PM
People are sometimes killed before donning cement shoes, but not always. "Shoes" is a a misnomer. Cement shoes usually go nearly to the knees, and if the guy gives you too much trouble, you whack him up side the head. He's also tied up, (And his knees and ankles are tied together), so movement isn't easy, anyway. But if he persists, you drop a hundred pound bag of cement or two across his lap, and he really won't move his feet enough to matter.

But just the way he's tied, and the fact that all that cement is incredibly heavy, means there won't be much movement, anyway. All he can really do is sit and hurt

Richard
12-24-2005, 08:38 PM
Anyone else starting to think that James knows way too much about this?

Mike Coombes
12-24-2005, 11:11 PM
I'm starting to think maybe he's been present at a fitting.

I have a second suggestion that's not as silly as it immediately sounds - plaster of paris shoes. Same deal, but sets solid within 2 minutes, and causes no burns. Does that help?

Kosh
12-25-2005, 02:54 AM
Thanks for the info everybody. I have my scene now.:)

Aconite
12-25-2005, 08:27 PM
I have a second suggestion that's not as silly as it immediately sounds - plaster of paris shoes. Same deal, but sets solid within 2 minutes, and causes no burns.
Maybe it's just the plaster of paris that I worked with, but isn't the dried stuff soft and water-soluble?

Mike Coombes
12-26-2005, 02:35 AM
It's a fine white powder, similar to cement. Mix with water, pour into place and stand back! Depending on water content, it'll be solid within a minute or two.

Mike Coombes
12-26-2005, 02:38 AM
Ah, more thoughts. 'Lightening' cement, similar to rapid set, but even faster. I have used it in trials and got it wrong, it's been solid in 15 minutes. Also, you can add plaster of paris to cement to act as an accelerator. solid in 5 minutes. still breakable if you bang it hard, but too hard to break yourself out of and totally hard within 20-30 minutes max.

CaitlinK18
12-28-2005, 11:43 PM
Plaster of paris will eventually dissolve, but it takes a couple of hours if it's hardened all the way. Forensic investigators use it to make casts of shoe prints and tire tracks because it's sturdy and sets fast, and can be washed to remove dirt.

Short answer: by the time the plaster dissolved, he'd be dead. But his body would then float to the surface, giving the criminals a whole other set of problems. OTOH, the water would most likely have washed away any trace evidence...

Okay, I need to stop now.