In past few decades, earthquakes have become a common phenomenon and have caused destruction on a massive scale, especially for mega structures like schools, offices or any large buildings for that matter. Hence, a new type of seismic-resistant concrete is developed by UBC researchers that guarantees protection against seismic shocks as strong as magnitude 9.0.
This ‘superconcrete’ called as eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC) was developed at the university of British Columbia and has been designed at a molecular level. EDCC has the ability to bear a lot of stress without fracturing or demaging and is similar to steel in material properties.
How it works? Its quite easy and simple. The material is sprayed onto the walls in a thick layer of 10 millimetres and bam, your walls have just been upgraded and can now resist severe seismic shocks.
A number of experiments have also been carried out in order to compare the shock resistance abilities of EDCC coated walls as compared to the non-coated regular walls and the results were promising. The EDCC coated walls were able to withstand the Tohoku level earthquakes without breaking at all. When subjected to higher stress, the material, instead of breaking or fracturing, bends and hence proved resistant against seismic shocks.
The material gets its sustainability and ductility from cement combined with polymer-based fibres, fly ash and some other industrial additives.
Dr. Banthia, the supervisor of the research, is confident that the amount of cement used can be reduced by replacing almost 70 percent of cement with fly ash. This is also a great step towards reducing global greenhouse gas emissions since cement industry produces almost 7 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
EDCC is now available commercially and is an official retrofit for use in British Columbia, Canada. The material will have its first application in an elementary school in Vancouver this fall. It is also planned to use in North India in an area which has become a favourite spot of seismic activities for past few years.