A Bandage for Buildings

Earthquakes cause buildings to fall and crush many helpless victims who are unable to get out in time. Many times the victims are actually on their way out and get crushed by falling rubble. Now the product of new scientific research is a fabric that will work just like a bandage for buildings, holding them together for that extra crucial time in which people can exit the building before it falls.

Developed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, the fabric has been named Sisma Calce. It consists primarily of glass and polypropylene fibers. It is mixed in the plaster of the existing building and even if the glass shreds apart during an earthquake, the polypropylene’s elastic quality will hold the structure together long enough for people to get out of the building. In some cases it may even save the building from falling at all.

Currently the fabric is being used only on masonry houses as concrete walls require far stronger support to hold together in a high magnitude earthquake. The researchers at KIT are working on a stronger fabric based on carbon fibres to use in concrete walls. If the science project is successful it would make a huge difference during future earthquakes.

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