Bayer MaterialScience has developed a polyurethane-based substance that it says will offer protection to buildings against the impact of an earthquake.
A tear-resistant woven fabric is applied with the special adhesive directly to a wall, like wallpaper, forming a permanent bond. In the event of an earthquake, Bayer states the ‘wallpaper’ holds large areas of the masonry together and should keep it stable for some time. The objective is said to be to delay, or even prevent, the collapse of the walls, giving the occupants time to flee the building to safety.
The key component of the system is said to be the adhesive, which is formulated with Dispercoll U, a waterborne polyurethane dispersion from Bayer MaterialScience. Partners in the patent-pending development are the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and KAST, the manufacturer of the fabric.
The system is said to be available from professional distributors under the name ‘MapeWrap EQ System’ and installed by trained personnel. The exclusive global distributor is MAPEI, one of the world’s largest suppliers of building chemistry.
"This innovative development underscores Bayer MaterialScience’s commitment to finding sustainable solutions for global challenges in keeping with our corporate mission ‘Science For A Better Life’," says Michael Engel, head of the project for the seismic protection system at Bayer MaterialScience. "We hope that it will enable us to protect many people from the horrific consequences of earthquakes in the future."
Bayer states the major advantage of the system is that it can also be applied easily in existing buildings. It can then be covered with wallpaper or other coatings, so that the occupants can continue to decorate as they see fit. MAPEI already has installed the system in a reference building, for demonstration purposes.
The adhesive is said to adhere extremely well to masonry and the woven fabric, yet is flexible enough for a permanent bond. Bayer states it is waterborne and contains no organic solvents, therefore making it ideally suited to interior applications.