20th February 2020

SEISMICALLY RESISTANT CONCRETE COATING

Scientists working at the University of British Columbia have produced what they claim is a seismically resistant, fiber-reinforced concrete. The material is set to begin use in retrofitting projects.

Called eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite, it was made at the molecular scale to be strong, malleable and ductile. The researchers say it can enhance the earthquake resistance of a structure when applied as a thin coating on the surfaces.

“We sprayed a number of walls with a 10-millimeter-thick layer of EDCC, which is sufficient to reinforce most interior walls against seismic shocks,” said Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, a PhD candidate in the department of civil engineering at UBC. “Then we subjected them to Tohoku-level quakes and other types and intensities of earthquakes—and we couldn’t break them.”

The Tohoku earthquake in Japan, in 2011, was recorded as having a magnitude over 9.0. The material combines cement with polymer-based fibers, flyash and other industrial additives, which add a level of sustainability to the product.

“By replacing nearly 70 percent of cement with fly-ash, an industrial by-product, we can reduce the amount of cement used,” stated UBC civil engineering professor Nemy Banthia, who supervised the R&D. “This is quite an urgent requirement as one ton of cement production releases almost a ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the cement industry produces close to seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

The researchers are currently working with a team of contractors for British Columbia’s seismic retrofit program. They are initially working to upgrade the Dr. Annie B. Jamieson Elementary School in Vancouver. More schools are slated to follow in India, as the research was funded by the Canada-India Research Center of Excellence, or IC-IMPACTS.

“This UBC-developed technology has far-reaching impact and could save the lives of not only British Columbians, but citizens throughout the world,” said BC's Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister, Melanie Mark. “The earthquake-resistant concrete is a great example of how applied research at our public universities is developing the next generation of agents of change. The innovation and entrepreneurship being advanced at all of our post-secondary institutions is leading to cutting-edge technologies and helping to create a dynamic, modern B.C. economy that benefits all of us.”

https://news.ubc.ca/2017/10/10/ubc-researchers-develop-earthquake-resistant-concrete-2/