UBC unveils new earthquake technology

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Professor and Engineers at UBC are taking action to ensure buildings and schools are ready in the event the big one were to hit BC.

Today they unveiled fibre-reinforced concrete that would dramatically enhance the earthquake resistance of a seismically vulnerable structure.

The technology is called eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC) and according to UBC it was put through earthquake simulation tests using intensities as high as the magnitude 9.0–9.1 earthquake that struck Tohoku, Japan back in 2011.

This video was put out by UBC showcasing the tests they conducted to develop the earthquake resistant concrete.

Video courtesy of UBC 

PhD candidate, Salman Soleimani, says he has been working on this project for 6 years and says he is proud to be part of something that could help people not just in British Columbia, but across the world.

In a press release, he says ” We sprayed a number of walls with a 10 millimetre-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.”

What this means for BC 

According to UBC civil engineering professor, Nemy Banthia, there are more than 100 schools in BC that are considered to be at “high-risk” in the event an earthquake were to hit the province.

Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark was present at today’s announcement and called it ground breaking.

Mark calls this innovation a “opportunity” and says the NDP needs to jump on it in order to ensure kids are safe when they go to school.

“We want to make sure right, that when we leave are kids in the morning that they’re going to be there when we pick them up in the afternoon; so our government is committed to safety.”

In terms of when we could see this technology applied to the schools, Mark could not give a timetable, saying “I was invited today as a witness to learn about the innovation. I can’t commit to something that I’m just learning about. I can tell you that we are invested as the ministry for advanced education into this innovation. It’s UBC and other stake holders that are building this technology and the innovation that is going to save our communities.”

Mark adds that there is also a need to use this new technology in other public building, such as hospitals