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This spray-on coating can help buildings sustain earthquakes

Researchers from the University of British Columbia have created a super resilient, ductile spray coating that helps buildings keep structural integrity during major earthquakes.

The spray, called Eco-Friendly Ductile Cementitious Composite (EDCC), will be applied to a local elementary school in Vancouver that is due for a seismic upgrade.

There are also plans for the spray to be used in a variety of other buildings due for seismic upgrades, and parts of India have taken an interest in the material as well.

“This UBC-developed technology has far-reaching impact and could save the lives of not only British Columbians, but citizens throughout the world,” Melanie Mark, the minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, told the Daily Mail.

Even a thin, 10-millimeter coating kept walls resilient to shaking when tested with equipment that simulated earthquakes. One test subjected a wall with EDCC to an intensity similar to a 9.0 earthquake, the same magnitude that struck Tohoku, Japan in 2011.

The spray is extremely malleable, so if an earthquake occurs, it allows structures to bend instead of collapse instantly.

EDCC uses polymer fibers and flyash (an industrial byproduct), and the product stands up to its eco-friendly title.

“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. Then we subjected them to Tohoku-level quakes and other types and intensities of earthquakes—and we couldn’t break them,” Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of civil engineering at UBC, told the Daily Mail.

The positive implications of EDCC are numerous, and the material could save lives and millions in damages.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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