While we may hear about ways of constructing new buildings to make them earthquake-resistant, what about all the buildings that are standing already? Well, that's where a new concrete developed at Canada's University of British Columbia (UBC) comes in. Sprayed onto existing walls, it reportedly allows them to withstand tremors that would otherwise reduce them to rubble.

Known as eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC), the concrete contains polymer-based fibres. These give it a strong-yet-malleable quality not unlike steel, which tends to flex under pressure instead of crumbling like traditional concrete.

Additionally, almost 70 percent of the cement in the material is replaced with an industrial byproduct – flyash. This is what makes it eco-friendly, as cement production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, plus the flyash would likely otherwise end up just being dumped.

In lab tests, a 10 mm-thick layer of EDCC was applied to walls made of traditional concrete blocks, which were then subjected to simulated tremors of a 9.0 - 9.1 magnitude – that's the same as the earthquake that struck Tohoku, Japan in 2011. The walls held up, while their uncoated counterparts collapsed.

Plans now call for the first real-life application of the technology to occur within the next couple of months, as EDCC is applied to the walls of Vancouver's Dr. Annie B. Jamieson Elementary School. The UBC-hosted Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence is also making the material available for the seismic retrofitting of a school in northern India.

There's more information in the video below.

Source: University of British Columbia

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