• Landslide detector to be developed

    Researchers are working in developing an early-warning acoustic sensor for the detection of landslides; current devices available for the early detection of slope failures are costly and technically limited

  • China ponders: Are a few big hydropower projects better than many small ones?

    China is moving aggressively to build dams along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, in part to protect the Three Gorges Dam, but can such hydropower development be done better? “It’s not just dams versus no dams,” one expert says; “It’s about elegant dams”

  • New Bay Bridge span designed to endure major quake

    Twenty years ago a 250-ton section of the Bay Bridge fell into the water as a result of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake; the new bridge design will be able to withstand the largest plausible earthquake to occur within a 1,500-year period

  • Indonesian experts: Dense soil, light materials vital for sturdier buildings

    In the wake of last Wednesday’s devastating earthquake in Indonesia, experts call for more care in choosing sites for new buildings and communities; key factor: the stability of the soil; “If you build the foundation 20 to 30 meters deep, then you need very dense soil,” an expert said

  • Negligence a factor in hydropower plant disaster that killed 75

    The massive 17 August accident in Russia’s biggest hydroelectric power plant was the result of negligence by officials; these officials may now face charges over the disaster

  • Large new dam construction moving ahead in California

    Environmental studies are due out today on a $409 million project to replace Calaveras Dam, a 210-foot-high structure east of Milpitas in the remote, oak-studded hills along the border between Santa Clara and Alameda counties

  • California faces major decision on dams

    California already has upward of 1,000 dams that provide water supply, flood control, and hydropower, but California growing water shortages; last month Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger insisted he would not sign off on any major overhaul of the water system without money for new dams and reservoirs

  • Earthquake-resistant building structure developed

    The system dissipates energy through the movement of steel frames that are situated around the building’s core or along exterior walls; the frames rock off their foundation under large earthquakes

  • Corps asked to scrap floodgate plans in Belle Chasse, Louisiana

    There is a debate in Louisiana about the best way to protect homes in the Jesuit Bend area: the Army Corps of Engineers wants to build a floodgate — but this would leave some 1,400 homes unprotected; residents prefer an 8-mile levee

  • APMR checks stability of dikes

    A Dutch company develops an instrument that can “look” into the ground and measure the amount of water in the soil under a dike, which is important when checking the stability of dams and dikes

  • Tacoma airport runway tunnel safety project complete

    The tunnel’s 3-foot-thick walls and roof and 2.4 million pounds of rebar are a reflection of the project’s main goal — safety; fire monitoring system set for September completion

  • U.S. government eyes University of Maine's bridge technology

    Researchers at the University of Maine developed a “bridge-in-a-backpack” technology — so called because of its light weight and the portability of its components; the bridge uses carbon-fiber tubes that are inflated, shaped into arches, and infused with resin before being moved into place

  • "Active cloak" protects buildings from earthquakes

    Researchers say real objects could be cloaked by active cloaking — which means the technology uses devices that actively generate electromagnetic fields rather than being composed of “metamaterials” (exotic metallic substances) that passively shield objects from passing electromagnetic waves

  • All-titanium campus bridge show way for defense industry

    University of Akron, Defense Metals Technology Center co-sponsor design contest for titanium pedestrian bridge on university’s campus; titanium is a strong, lightweight, virtually corrosion-proof (but expensive) metal; a high-profile venture demonstrating titanium’s feasibility in commercial infrastructure projects could spark greater demand and open new markets for titanium
    ‘Avant-garde’ all-titanium span could spur other projects - and cut Pentagon’s costs

  • Pervious concrete may eliminate need for storm drains

    A Minnesota town experiments with a new concrete paving method that lets rainwater pass right through the street surface to prevent damaging runoff