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Seismic Fabric delays collapsing of walls due to earthquakes

Seismic Fabric delays collapsing of walls due to earthquakes

14-Jan-13

During earthquakes, even a few seconds are vital for a safe escape from buildings. The escape situation may be aggravated further by debris falling down and obstructing the escape routes. A product developed at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) extends the time for saving lives by reinforcing walls and keeping off the debris. Thanks to the reinforcement, collapsing of walls due to earthquakes can be delayed and, in the ideal case, be avoided completely. In the case of short and moderate earthquakes, mostly not much more additional tensile strength is needed to avoid a collapse of the building. The simplicity of that “prophylactic dressing” allows to apply it easily during renovation together with insulation. The high stiffness and considerable tensile strength of the glass fibers in the quasi plaster-integrated fabric allow walls to better reduce higher tensile stresses during earthquakes and avoid that punctual damage occurs and develops into cracks. Should the fibers rupture in spite of their strength during a heavy earthquake, the elastic polypropylene fibers will hold the broken wall segments together and keep them off the escape routes. The two developers are sure that the reinforcing earthquake fabric gives occupants more time to escape buildings. Under advantageous conditions, the walls may even stay intact and houses could be repaired after the earthquake. The stabilizing deformation behavior contributes to a better reduction of the energy introduced into the walls through the horizontal forces of the earthquakes acceleration forces.
For several years, Lothar Stempniewski and Moritz Urban have investigated possibilities of low-cost retroactive securing and reinforcement of earthquake-prone walls of older buildings. They invented a glass fiber plastic fabric with four fiber directions. By means of an appropriate plaster, this special seismic fabric is applied onto the respective facings. Together with Dr. Gunther Kast GmbH & Co. KG, a manufacturer of technical tissues, the high-tech tissue was developed to maturity. Under the brand name “Sisma Calce”, the Italian building material manufacturer Rofix, a subsidiary company of the German Fixit Group, now has included seismic fabric and a proper plaster in its product range. In cooperation with Bayer MaterialScience AG, MAPEI S.p.A., and Dr. Gunther Kast GmbH & Co. KG, the introduction of an adhesive seismic fabric for indoor use is currently being prepared.

 
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