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New earthquake-resistant concrete to be used in school retrofit

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World Cement,

A new seismic-reinforced concrete developed at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, will see its first real-life application as part of the seismic retrofit of a Vancouver elementary school. The material – dubbed eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC) – is engineered at the molecular level to be strong, malleable, and ductile, according to researchers.

EDCC was subjected to earthquake simulation tests using intensities as high as the 90. – 9.1 earthquake that hit Tohoku in Japan in 2011.

“We sprayed a number of walls with a 10 mm thick layers 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 earthquake – and we couldn’t break them.”

As the name implies, EDCC is also more sustainable than ordinary cement, combining cement with polymer-based fibres, flyash and other industrial additives. According to UBC Civil Engineering Professor, Nemy Banthia, EDCC replaces nearly 70% of cement with flyash.

EDCC is now an official retrofit option in British Colombia’s seismic retrofit programme. It has also garnered interest in India, said Banthia. Research into EDCC was funded by the UBC-based Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence IC-IMPACTS, which is making EDCC available to retrofit a school in Roorkee in Uttarakhand in northern India, an area prone to high levels of seismic activity.

Other EDCC applications, according to researchers, include resilient homes for First Nations communities, pipelines, pavements, offshore platforms, blast-resistant structures, and industrial floors.

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