The rapid construction and installation of colonial buildings necessitated the formulation of a material that could be produced in rapid quantity, was relatively lightweight and inert to endure on a variety of environments, and could be assembled with relative ease. Plasticrete is the result. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as it is a plastic-glass hybrid, that takes silicate deposits (sand) and organic material to produce. The end result is a foam-like material that can easily be poured into already assembled molds. After setting, the plastic-glass composite is impermeable, resistant to temperature changes, and, the benefit of the silicon, impermeable to UV light. The resilience to UV light is what makes Plasticrete such an effective material for building a colony – not to mention space installations.
The downside of Plasticrete standardization is the requirement of organic material: Recycling can only produce so much, and colonies with low organic deposits will have to import the raw carbon off-world, or make do with very little.
When a colony vessel arrives, it contains the basic facilities to mix and bake Plasticrete in a number of building templates. Building new templates for Plasticrete is an expensive and time consuming process. Plasticrete can also be shaped “freehand”, almost analogous to 3D printing. Colony vessels therefore carry both the templates needed for building construction, and a few freehand tools to do touch-ups or special projects.