We daily talk in an amazing tone about the wonders of nature, its beauty and the amazing gifts that it has to offer. But we tend to forget at times the amazing power that it can unleash and the sheer force of its wrath. An earthquake in a major city or at a sensitive installation (like say a nuclear power plant) can wreck havoc on a grand scale. One of the biggest problems that we have is the structural integrity of modern edifices in the face of a major earthquake. But scientists at Germany believe that they have a ‘sticky solution’.
The most damage caused during an earthquake is due the collapse of skyscrapers and homes that trap and kill many under their weight. But researchers at the Institute of Solid Construction and Construction Material Technology have come up with ingenious wallpaper that will strengthen the building and stop it from cracking and collapsing in the wake of a quake. The wallpaper is made up of high strength glass fibers that are interwoven in a pattern that disperses energy evenly in all directions. This helps reduce the stress on the walls and keeps them standing even after a major jolt.
The wallpapers adhere to the surface of the room using a special combination of water and polyurethane beads. Once they stick to the walls, the water quickly evaporates leaving the beads that sink into the surface of the walls and form a very strong bond. This ensures that the wallpaper literally becomes an integral part of the structure. Researchers claim that tests have been successful and while it would be interesting to know the scale of earthquakes they can tolerate, the wallpapers are sure a boon to those living close to the Pacific Ring of Fire. Commercial models are expected to be out by the end of the year.