A concrete spray that keeps walls from crumbling in a quake is being tested in B.C.
A city primed for “The Big One” might seem a perfect place to test a concrete spray that could keep walls from collapsing in an earthquake.
That’s precisely what’s happening at one elementary school, which is being used as a pilot project for a spray developed by engineers at UBC which, they say, could keep walls standing when the shaking begins.
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The spray works as a kind of fibre enforcement, bridging cracks in a building’s structure.
“The concrete will continue to take stresses without collapsing,” said Dr. Nemy Banthia, a professor in UBC’s Department of Civil Engineering.
It’s not hard for a concrete wall to collapse in a quake. But a demonstration of this spray showed that a wall kept standing when subject to vigorous shaking on Tuesday.
If it were used around the world, the spray would mean lessened earthquake risk for millions of people — including in B.C., where coastal residents worry about a possible 9.2-magnitude earthquake striking one day.
The material is being sprayed on the walls of Annie B. Jamieson Elementary School in East Vancouver as part of a pilot project; more study is needed before it’s rolled out any further.
One-hundred and fifty schools throughout B.C. are considered “high-risk” when it comes to earthquakes, and there’s no timeline on when they’ll have seismic upgrading completed.
“I imagine that more work will continue, and [Education] Minister [Rob] Fleming is committed to making sure that our kids go to school in safe buildings,” Minister of Advanced Education Melanie Mark said Tuesday.
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