Concrete that's indestructible

Have you ever worried about being buried in a rubble of concrete if an earthquake were to hit your community? Well, not anymore!

Engineers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, have developed a seismic-resistant concrete, which can withstand earthquakes with magnitudes as high as 9.1 on the Richter scale. This is the kind of earthquake that struck Tohoku, Japan, in 2011.

The material has been named eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC) and is so strong that it acts like steel, bending during an earthquake instead of crumbling like concrete. Thus, EDCC is aimed to ensure the potential of more people surviving a devastating earthquake. Further, it is a sustainable product.

Walls that are sprayed on both sides with this material performed so well in seismic tests that the creators dubbed it the ‘Unbreakable Wall’. In the tests, the dial was turned to three times the magnitude of the strongest earthquake ever recorded in order to break a two-metre wall of EDCC. In ‘live tests’, UBC will spray EDCC onto the walls of an elementary school in Vancouver as part of its seismic retrofit.

EDCC is meant to be a strong, malleable and ductile material increasing the resistance of a seismically vulnerable structure, similar to steel. The substance can be sprayed, or applied by hand to an already existing wall or surface. This means that no demolishing is needed in the process to make a high-risk building stand a greater chance of surviving an earthquake.

 

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