There are many parts of the world that do get hit occasionally by earthquakes, which is why in those countries, buildings are typically reinforced so that they can withstand earthquakes up to certain magnitudes. One of the typical ways to reinforce these buildings is by using steel, but unfortunately when it comes to high-rise buildings, going steel all the way gets expensive.
This is why concrete is usually used, although it isn’t necessarily the best material to stand up to earthquakes. However it seems that researchers from the University of British Columbia have created concrete that behaves like steel in certain ways, which also means that it can be used to reinforce buildings for earthquakes. To top it off, the concrete is eco-friendly too.
According to a report from ArchDaily, “Called EDCC (eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite), the material is engineered at the molecular level to react similarly to steel – with high strength, ductility and malleability. When sprayed onto the surface of traditionally poured interior concrete walls, it reinforces against seismic intensities as high as the magnitude 9.0-9.1 earthquake that hit Tohoku, Japan in 2011.”
The good news is that the new concrete material developed by the researchers is commercially available and has been designated as an official retrofit option for use in British Columbia, Canada. Contractors are expected to use it in an elementary school in Vancouver, and will also be used in an area in northern India which is prone to seismic activity.
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