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With recent natural disasters, resilience has become a more important aspect of new design. Researchers have just developed a cement that is more flexible under seismic events, adding to the potential of future resilient design.

RESEARCHERS at the University of British Columbia (UCB) in Vancouver have developed "earthquake-proof" fibre-reinforced concrete.

Named EDCC - short for eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite - the material doesn’t fracture, but bends and takes stresses under pressure. It is designed to be sprayed onto existing masonry construction to form a seismically-protective layer.

According to researcher Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, a wall treated with EDCC could withstand twice the intensity of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, which had a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter scale and devastated much of eastern Japan.

Having withstood an earthquake, structures treated with EDCC would need to be structurally assessed by engineers before any potential re-use or occupation.

Nearly 70% of the cement in the material has been replaced with fly ash, an industrial by-product arising from burning coal.

UBC civil engineering professor Nemy Banthia believes the material is an important step in trying to reduce the carbon footprint of the cement industry, which is responsible for almost 7% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

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