• Thermocol could be the material of the future for construction of earthquake-resistant buildings, with thermal insulation and could also save energy required to develop construction materials.
• Researchers at IIT Roorkee have found that thermocol or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is used as a composite material in core of reinforced concrete sandwich, could resist earthquake forces on up to four-storey buildings.
• They have attributed this earthquake resistance capability to the fact that the EPS layer is sandwiched between two layers of concrete having reinforcement in the form of welded wire mesh.
• The researchers said that the force being applied on a building during an earthquake arises due to the inertia effect and hence depends on the mass of the building. Thermocol resists earthquakes by reducing the mass of the building.
• In this technique, the EPS core and the wire mesh reinforcement is produced in a factory. The building skeleton is first erected from the factory-made core and reinforcement panels, and then concrete is sprayed on the skeleton core.
• This technique does not require any shuttering and hence can be constructed very fast.
Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level: Expanded Polystyrene
Mains level: Key highlights about the technology