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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seismic Wallpaper Makes Homes Safer

Here's something interesting from the world of science.

Scientists from Bayer MaterialScience have created a high-tech adhesive and glass fiber fabric that they believe can make homes safer.

With sales of almost 11 billion euros in 2011, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest manufacturers of high-tech materials. A subsidiary of the Bayer Group with some 14,800 employees, Bayer MaterialScience has a global presence, with focal points in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The company has around 30 major production sites and various smaller plants around the world.

The company has developed an economical and effective earthquake protection measure in the form of glass fiber fabric combined with a special adhesive which increases the stability of masonry and therefore reduces the risk that apartment and office buildings will turn into deathtraps.

The glass fiber fabric is part of something called the EQ-Top system, and is apparently as easy to install as wallpaper, which for anyone in my family has always been a bloody nightmare, so perhaps that IS what Bayer MaterialScience means. Actually professional wallpaper hangers can easily install this earthquake safety-proofing system.

Key to the system is a special adhesive which firmly anchors the special glass fiber - known as seismic wallpaper - to a wall's plaster surface.

The idea behind it is simple enough... it helps shore up the walls to delay or prevent them from collapsing as easily as does without the extra material. The hope is that it will save lives and make some money for Bayer MaterialScience, which, if this is a proven product, then they deserve it.

The demand for protection systems of this type is pegged to be enormous considering over 1.3 billion people around the world live in what are known as earthquake zones.

Scientists identified characteristic fracture behaviors in brick and mortar structures, saying that they begin to yield at high stress points like doorframe corners, windows or mortar between bricks. The solution was to cover the walls with a layer of glass fiber fabric to increase the stability of the masonry.

The problem was finding the proper adhesive to attach the wallpaper to the wall, so that it does not crumble iteself or cause the fabric to come loose.

The flexible special adhesive used is based on the polyurethane dispersion Dispercoll U created by Bayer Material Science.

The adhesive is also used to treat the glass fiber fabric to give it a high tear strength.

And, in case you were worried that if the earthquake and collapsing walls didn't kill you the chemicals used to manufacture the adhesive would - fret not. The adhesive is water-based and contains no organic solvents, which means that EQ-Top is ideally suited for indoor use
The EQ-Top system helps distribute the impact energy of an earthquake across the entire wall surface to help absorb the energy to prevent stress points from forming. Heck, even if joints crack along the full length of the wall, the glass fiber fabric and adhesive hold the bricks together, which prevents or at least delays the collapse of chunks of masonry and protects the residents.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

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