Researchers Develop Earthquake-Resistant Concrete

Researchers from the University of British Columbia have developed a revolutionary fibre-reinforced concrete treatment, capable of dramatically reducing the impact of earthquakes on structures.

Dubbed EDCC (eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite), the material operates at the molecular level, enhancing concrete to react similarly to steel, providing high strength, ductility and malleability.

A 10 millimetre-thick layer of EDCC sprayed onto the surface of traditional interior concrete and blockwork walls reinforces against seismic shocks.

“It can take shaking of about 200 per cent level of the actual intensity of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake which was a 9.1 magnitude event,” PhD candidate Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki said.

The environmentally sustainable material is composed by combining cement, polymer based fibres, fly ash and other industrial additives. The use of fly ash replaces nearly 70 per cent of cement required in traditional formulas. UBC project supervisor Nemy Banthia said that this was an urgent requirement — one tonne of cement production releases almost a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, producing almost seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The product’s first practical application will commence in the coming months as part of a retrofit of an elementary school in earthquake-prone Vancouver. It will also be used to retrofit a school in a seismically active area of northern India.

EDCC is immediately commercially viable, as opposed to the expensive current technologies like hydraulic shock absorbers, EDCC allows for readily available and affordable applications to already existing structures as well as future development.

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