Web

New seismic fabric offers low-cost solution for strengthening buildings in quake-prone areas

new seismic fabric for buildings in quake prone areasWhile many new buildings in earthquake-prone areas are built to withstand at least moderate shaking, older buildings can collapse like a house of cards in a matter of seconds in the event of a severe quake.

With this in mind, a research team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in southern Germany has developed a new material that helps strengthen buildings, protecting them from earthquake damage.

In most cases, work on strengthening old and weak buildings in quake-prone regions is a time-consuming and costly affair, but thanks to the work of Lothar Stempniewski and Moritz Urban, their newly developed glass fiber plastic composite material allows for relatively cheap reinforcement work that can be carried out quickly and easily

Called Sisma Calce (Italian for Earthquake Lime), the revolutionary material has recently been commercialized by the Italian building material manufacturer Röfix.

The fabric has four fiber directions that gives it high stiffness and extreme tensile strength. The material is plastered onto the exterior walls of a building, which in the event of a major tremor will help prevent small cracks developing into life-threatening structural damage.

“The stabilizing deformation behavior contributes to a better reduction of the energy introduced into the walls through the horizontal forces of the earthquake’s acceleration forces,” Stempniewski and Urban explained on the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s website.

The pair said that while the material may not keep a building intact in the event of a serious quake, it will give those inside the building more time to make their escape. Of course, as the developers point out, the ideal scenario would be for the material to keep the building in one piece, leaving the need for only minor repairs.

”Thanks to the reinforcement [created by the material], collapsing of walls due to earthquakes can be delayed and, in the ideal case, be avoided completely,” Stempniewski said, adding, “In the case of a catastrophe, much can be achieved if only we succeed in reinforcing and protecting critical infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, or rest homes.”

The real beauty of Sisma Calce is that it can be applied easily and at low cost – something which could appeal to poorer quake-prone countries whose governments find the cost of traditional building-strengthening work prohibitive.

[KIT via Mashable] [Image: Dariusz Kantoski / Shutterstock]

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.
Mobile

Keep your new Google phone pixel perfect with the best Pixel 3 cases

If you want your new Google phone to stay pixel perfect, then you should snag one of the best Pixel 3 cases. We've scoped out some of your best options so far based on different styles, levels of protection, and budgets.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.
Cars

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Computing

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 
Computing

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.
Computing

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.
Computing

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Web

Feed your fandom: These are the best YouTube channels for sports lovers

If you're a cable cutter who still wants to enjoy quality sports highlights and analysis, YouTube is the place to go. There are plenty of great sports-centric channels on YouTube, each of which provides great highlights and top-shelf…
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Computing

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.
Smart Home

Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Pantry

The marvels of the Internet have made it possible to do all your shopping from the comfort of your living room. Amazon Prime Pantry allows you to buy groceries and household items online. Here's more info about the service.