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?Earthquake-resistant? concrete developed

According to a report by the Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence (IC-IMPACTS) – which funded the research – a team of civil engineering researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have recently developed a new type of concrete that can be sprayed onto walls and “successfully protect buildings from being damaged in the event of major quakes”.

{{quote-a:r-w:300-I:3-Q:“We subjected [EDCC-reinforced walls] to [Japan-level] quakes and other types and intensities of earthquakes — and we couldn’t break them.”-WHO:Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, UBC PhD civil engineering candidate and EDCC researcher}}Under the tutelage of UBC civil engineering professor Nemkumar Banthia, the researchers subjected the eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC) material to earthquake simulation tests, using jolts as high as the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that previously struck Japan in 2011.

One of the researchers, Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, commented on the significance of the research in a statement to UBC.

“We sprayed a number of walls with a 10mm thick layer of EDCC, which is sufficient to reinforce most interior walls against seismic shocks,” Soleimani-Dashtaki said.

“We then subjected them to Tohoku-level [Japan] quakes and other types and intensities of earthquakes — and we couldn’t break them.”

According to an IC-IMPACT statement, EDCC is similar to steel in terms of its properties but actually works by using polymer-based fibres, industrial additives and an industrial by-product in fly ash.

{{image2-a:l-w:200}}According to Prof Banthia, who was one of the research team’s supervisors, fly ash is environmentally friendly, as it can reduce the amount of cement required in the future.

“By replacing nearly 70 per cent of cement with fly ash, we can reduce the amount of cement used,” Banthia 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 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

EDCC is slated to have its first real-life application as part of a ‘seismic retrofit’ of a Vancouver primary school later this year, before being made available to a school in Uttarakhand, a highly seismic area in northern India.

IC-IMPACTS promotes collaborative research between Canada and India and aims to use EDCC in a multitude of applications, including homes, pipelines and pavements.

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