In cooperation with partners in industry and academia, Bayer MaterialScience has developed an effective and cost-efficient seismic protection system for buildings. An extremely tear-resistant woven fabric is applied with a special adhesive directly to the wall, like wallpaper, forming a permanent bond. In the event of an earthquake, the “wallpaper” holds large areas of the masonry together and should keep it stable for some time. The objective is 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 the adhesive 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, based in Sonthofen, Germany.
The system is 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 products with headquarters in Milan.
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. It is a school building located in Brescia, Italy. Other reference objects are currently in the planning.
The adhesive adheres extremely well to masonry and the woven fabric, yet is flexible enough for a permanent bond. Numerous trials with other adhesives, from common wallpaper paste to special performance adhesives, showed that only this specially developed product fulfills the requirements. Another advantage of the adhesive is that it is waterborne, contains no organic solvents and is thus ideally suited to interior applications.