Friday, January 21, 2022

Structural Safety: Thermocol as the building blocks of future Earthquake resistant homes

What do the mega cities Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata have in common with the Himalayan region? Seismologists believe that these mega cities are likely to be hit by major earthquakes in near future, while in some cities, the impact is already exhibiting. Although the intensity of earthquakes varies in these mega cities than what happens in Himalayan regions, devastation to property and life is diverse. It is pertinent to note that the Indian subcontinent is one of the most earthquake-prone areas of the world. Recent reports show that 59% of the country is prone to earthquakes and hence, researchers at IIT Roorkee have discovered that thermocol could be the material of the future for the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings. Researchers believe that this unconventional material can help in facing seismic activities better.

Thermocol: The material to save lives

Earthquakes don’t kill, buildings do. Therefore, it becomes important to construct such buildings that can face lateral forces. The researchers at IIT Roorkee used thermocol or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), as a composite material in the core to enhance and strengthen the concrete sandwich that could make buildings immune to earthquakes. This technique is effective in up to four stories. This method of using thermocol could also provide better thermal insulation as well as aid in saving the energy required to develop construction materials. The researchers tested this method on a full-scale building at the National Seismic Test Facility (NSTF) of the college’s Department of Earthquake Engineering. They critically evaluated the behavior of the building under lateral forces, as earthquakes compel force predominantly in the lateral direction. The professor leading this research stated that with this technique, a four-story building is capable of resisting earthquake forces, even seismic zone V, which is seismically the most active region, while zone II is the least. Zone V includes the most vulnerable regions, without any additional structural support.

Benefits of using EPS equipped technique:

– Thermal Comfort

The researchers have claimed that besides resisting earthquakes, the use of thermocol or EPS core in concrete walls of a building can result in thermal comfort. The core aids in providing the essential insulation against the heat that transfers between the interior and exterior environment. As a result, this method can help in keeping the building interiors cool in hot environments and warm, in subsequent cold environments. Along with structural safety, thermal comfort is a crucial consideration, as India witnesses a huge variation of temperatures in different parts of the country, alongside in different seasons of the year.

– Reduction in Carbon Footprints

The usage of the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technique is helping the planet by being environmentally sustainable. EPS has the potential of saving construction material and energy, with an overall reduction in the carbon footprint of buildings. EPS is made from styrene which is a derivative product of crude oil extraction and natural starch found in many naturally occurring food products. Furthermore, expandable Polystyrene is a low pollution process with h steam, produced from natural gas and water, being the principal energy source. In fact, the production and conversion of EPS insulation products create a net GreenHouse Gas benefit. Hence, from an overall perspective, EPS has a positive carbon footprint as it saves considerably more energy than is consumed during its manufacture, use, and disposal.

- Advertisement -spot_img
Latest news
Related news