Buildings Constructed With Thermocol Can Become Earthquake-Resistant in Future: Indian Scientists
© AFP 2022 / STANLEY LOUISA house is seen collapsed after the earthquake hit on August 14, 2021 in Les Cayes, southwest Haiti. - Rescue workers scrambled to find survivors after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti early Saturday, killing at least 304 and toppling buildings in the disaster-plagued Caribbean nation still recovering from a devastating 2010 quake. The epicenter of the shaking, which rattled homes and sent terrified locals scrambling for safety, was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) by road west of the center of the densely populated capital Port-au-Prince.
The scientists also claimed that other than earthquakes, the use of an expanded polystyrene core in the concrete walls of a building can provide thermal comfort. India has large temperature variations during different seasons of the year. Thermal comfort can help manage the variability along with structural safety.
A team of scientists from India's premiere technology institute has found that Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or thermocol has the ability to resist earthquake forces on up to four-storey buildings.
The team, led by research scholar Adil Ahmad, tested a full-scale building and a number of wall elements constructed with thermocol at the National Seismic Test Facility (NSTF) of the Department of Earthquake Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.
The team evaluated the elements constructed with thermocol under lateral forces that are similar to earthquakes. Later, the researchers supplemented the investigations with detailed computer simulations of a realistic four-storey building.
Nearly 60 percent of India is prone to earthquakes of different intensities.
Earlier this year, the Indian government stated that 965 earthquakes of magnitude three and higher were recorded in 2020 and 13 of them were in the National Capital Region and its surrounding areas.
"The analysis shows that a four-storey building constructed with this technique is capable of resisting earthquake forces, even in the most seismic zone (V) of the country, without any additional structural support", Professor Yogendra Singh, who supervised the research, said in a statement.
The team also stated that the force being applied on a building during an earthquake arises due to the inertia effect and depends on the mass of the building. However, thermocol resists earthquakes by reducing the mass of the building.
The scientists have also emphasised that the technology has the potential to save construction materials and energy. It may also help in the overall reduction of the carbon footprint of buildings.
Last Saturday, Indian Minister of State (MoS) for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh announced that India will have 35 more earthquake observatories by the end of this year and the country aims to add 100 more by 2026.