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Spray On Concrete: A Canadian Invention With a Global Impact

How one Canadian invention is making the world a safer place.

What would you say if I told you that a new spray on concrete invention could completely revolutionize the way buildings resisted external natural forces like earthquakes?

In other words, what would you say if I told you that spray on concrete could save lives?

Some might say that would be an outlandish statement, but thanks to the work of a PhD candidate out of The University of British Columbia (UBC), it’s an accurate one.

Saylman Soleimani-Dashtaki , a graduate student  from UBC’s department of civil engineering, has developed a material that can resist and withstand earthquakes of magnitudes up to 9.1 on the Richter Scale*.

*According to simulated laboratory testing

To put that into context, an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 9 has consequences described as near total destruction, waves moving through the earth visible to the naked eye.

How It All Started

As a master’s student, Soleimani-Dashtaki identified a significant gap in his province’s policies as they related to retro-fitting schools to be more earthquake resistant.

He found that the current policies were costly, inefficient and not particularly environmentally friendly either.

Fast forward six years of research and development later and we have an innovative spray-on concrete with exceptional earthquake resistance at a fraction of the cost and time.

Although here in Ontario we don’t necessarily concern ourselves with earthquakes and earthquake resistant infrastructure, British Columbia actually receives over 60% of Canada’s tremors annually.

The strength of this new material, which has already begun to be used to reinforce the structure of BC schools, is multiple times that which would be necessary to resist the strongest of Canadian earthquakes.

Why Is This A Big Deal?

The fact of the matter is that failing masonry is the primary cause of fatalities during earthquakes.

Effectively and efficiently reinforcing buildings in BC and other earthquake-prone areas is one of the number one ways to save lives in these during these types of incidents.

And while building reinforcement is a noble and important cause, the question of cost and practicality always comes to play.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of this new spray-on concrete creation is that its application is half the cost of the conventional reinforcement process.

With further development and innovation the cost savings could be even more significant, which would have implications not only in Canada but for earthquake prone nations worldwide, where this innovative technology may not have otherwise been affordable.

It’s Environmentally Friendly Too!

The spray-on concrete developed at UBC is actually made out of a material known as eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite ( EDCC).

It is considered eco-friendly for the simple reason that it uses far less cement in its formulation.

For those that may not have been aware, cement production is actually a massive contributor to global greenhouse gases that are compromising our environment.

Keep Up The Good Work

Here at we’d like to applaud Soleimani-Dashtaki and the other brilliant UBC students and researchers who continue develop this and other proudly Canadian innovations that have the potential to confer profound benefits both to those at home and across the globe.


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