Thermocol can resist quakes by reducing the mass of a building constructed with it
Thermocol could be the material of the future for construction of earthquake-resistant buildings even in the most seismic zone with thermal insulation as it can resist quakes by reducing the mass of a building, say a group of Indian scientists.
Also, the synthetic substance created from another synthetic substance called polystyrene could save the energy required to develop construction materials, reports the IANS citing a study of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IITR).
Researchers at the institute found that the thermocol or expanded polystyrene (EPS) can withstand seismic forces on buildings up to four stories high, a release from the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology said on Monday.
They tested a large-scale building and a number of wall elements constructed from thermocol sandwiched between two layers of concrete on the institute premises.
Adil Ahmad, the researcher who conducted the tests, assessed the behavior of the constructions under lateral forces, as the earthquake causes a force mainly in the lateral direction.
The project was completed with a detailed computer simulation of a realistic four-storey building. Overseeing the research, IIT Professor Yogendra Singh informed that the analysis shows that a four-storey building constructed with this technique is able to withstand seismic forces, even in the most seismic area of the country, without no additional structural support.
The researchers attributed this earthquake-resistant ability to the fact that the EPS layer is sandwiched between two layers of concrete, with reinforcement in the form of welded wire mesh.
The researchers said that the force applied to a building during an earthquake is due to the effect of inertia and therefore depends on the mass of the building.
In this technique, the EPS core and the wire mesh reinforcement are produced in the factory. The skeleton of the building is first erected from the core and factory-made reinforcing panels, then concrete is sprayed onto the core of the skeleton. This technique does not require any formwork and can therefore be built very quickly, the researchers said.