After 15 years of hard work and research, a new earthquake-resistant concrete was developed in B.C. in 2017. which saw its first real-life application in a Vancouver elementary school seismic retrofit project.
The project to develop the environmentally friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC) was overseen by Nemy Banthia at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. He explained that EDCC’s design reaches down to the molecular level, where it is designed to be strong, malleable and ductile like steel, capable of dramatically improving the earthquake resistance of a seismically vulnerable structure when applied as a thin layer.
The new technology came at a time when Vancouver was in the midst of a massive seismic upgrade to its schools.
UBC has notably excelled in seismic design, so much so that last year it took first place in the 2021 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) undergraduate seismic design competition.
The team’s innovative design for a cost-effective, earthquake-resistant structural addition to a Seattle hospital beat out 36 international competitors and took the number one spot overall. The team also won the event’s Best Communication Skills Award, for “the best professional communications in all facets of the competition.”
Before the pandemic, participating teams would assemble at the competition site with scale balsa wood construction models that they had designed and built over the previous year. These models would then be put through a rigorous test: they would be placed on a shaking table and subjected to the equivalent of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. The performance of a building, Chupik says, would largely depend not only on the soundness of its design, but also on its “buildability and build quality.”
This year, however, the competition was held entirely online, requiring teams to focus their efforts on non-construction aspects of their construction projects. Entrants were judged on the quality of their virtual poster and video and oral presentations, as well as the written reports they submitted detailing the geotechnical, architectural, and structural components of their projects.
In the ANDAMA family we are very proud of the work that these young people are doing for the good of our community and the world, helping to build a culture of prevention and construction that saves lives.
To learn more about UBC Seismic Design, visit their website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram pages.