The Reinforced Concrete Department of the KIT Institute for Reinforced Concrete and Building Materials, a partner in the POLTECT EU project, has received an award for a system reinforcing brick buildings in earthquake areas: The “JEC Innovation Award 2010” recently given in Paris acknowledges outstanding innovation in composite materials. The KIT researchers are currently testing the reinforcement system in a building in Pavia, Italy.
The Intelligent Composite Seismic Wallpaper consists of a textile material with four different directions of fibers embedded in a mortar. It was developed specifically to reinforce brick buildings in areas prone to earthquakes. The purpose is to stabilize and return to use buildings suffering from seismic damage and problems of static stability. The textile-mortar reinforcement system can also be used, however, to protect intact buildings preventively. On top of that, it may be employed generally to cover cracks in buildings due, for instance, to settling.
The seismic wallpaper was developed within the framework of the POLYTECT (Polyfunctional Technical Textiles against Natural Hazards) EU project which aims to develop intelligent textiles to protect building structures against natural hazards. The Italian company, D’Appolonia S.p.A., and its partners in science and industry, among them KIT, received the “JEC Innovation Award 2010” in the building construction category for their reinforcement system. The prize was awarded within the framework of the JEC Composites Show. A jury of international experts selected the best innovations in composites in the light of the following criteria: technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impacts, originality.
The KIT researchers and their partners are currently testing the textile-mortar reinforcement system in a greatly damaged building in the Italian city of Pavia. In terms of architecture and materials, the house is typical of the buildings in the Abruzzi region, also of the town of L’Aquila which was hit by a major earthquake in April 2009. In the large-scale experiment, the building is reinforced with the seismic wallpaper and then shaken on a vibration table to simulate an earthquake. The “Planetopia” TV science magazine of SAT 1 and the “pur+” children’s discovery magazine of ZDF will report about the test in Pavia.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation pursuing the tasks of a state university of Baden-Wuerttemberg and of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. The KIT mission combines the three core tasks of research, higher education, and innovation. With about 9,400 employees and 24,500 students, KIT is one of the big institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe.