29 December 2017
Researchers from the University of British Columbia have made the new substance called EDCC that can make buildings earthquake resistant. Researchers state that spraying a 10-milimetre layer of EDCC on a masonry wall protected it from crumbling in a simulation that mimicked the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Tohoku, Japan in 2011.
"It can take shaking of about 200 per cent level of the actual intensity of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake ... The same wall without the retrofit will normally collapse at about 60 -65 per cent of the intensity," said Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, a PhD candidate.
In the coming weeks, the researchers will be using the material to strengthen Dr. Annie B. Jamieson Elementary School in Vancouver, and hope to use the material in surrounding areas in the province.
"This material can be sprayed on vulnerable structures to significantly enhance their resistance to earthquakes and save lives," said Nemy Banthia, a UBC civil engineering professor.
Civil engineering professor Nemy Banthia, who supervised the work, said: “This is quite an urgent requirement as one tonne of cement production releases almost a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the cement industry produces close to seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions”.
"If you look at our B.C. schools, you will see miles and miles of unreinforced masonry corridor walls, and, during an earthquake, these are the corridor walls that would collapse and our children would suffer causalities, unfortunately," said Banthia.
UBC President Santa Ono said the groundbreaking material is also cost-effective and “costs only half of the cost of standard retrofit”.
B.C. Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark said the new technology could be used, not only on schools but on other buildings too.
"I imagine more work will continue. We want to make sure when we leave our kids that they will be there when we pick them up in the afternoon, so our government is committed to safety," said Mark.