• InfrastructureTop Reasons for Sewer Line Failure

    Concrete sewer pipes around the world are most likely to fail either because their concrete is not strong enough or because they can’t handle the weight of trucks that drive over them, a new study indicates.

  • Flood protectionVenice Ambitious Anti-Flood System Passes First Trial

    Venice On Friday conducted the first test of a controversial dam system made up of 78 inflatable barriers, aiming to protect the city from severe flooding. The ambitious and costly dam system, launched in 2003, has been plagued by corruption and is nearly a decade behind schedule. It will becoe fully operational by the end of 20201, and it is designed to hold water surges as high as 10 feet.

  • 3D-printing vulnerabilityReverse Engineering of 3D-Printed Parts by Machine Learning Reveals Security Vulnerabilities

    Over the past thirty years, the use of glass- and carbon- fiber reinforced composites in aerospace and other high-performance applications has soared along with the broad industrial adoption of composite materials. Machine learning can make reverse engineering of complex composite material parts easy.

  • DamsDo Two Failed Dams Foretell a Dire Future?

    By Upmanu Lall and Paulina Concha Larrauri

    Climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme rainfall events and hence the risk for filling and overtopping dams, which is the predominant mechanism of dam failure. However, using climate change as a bogeyman for aging infrastructure failure is an unfortunate trend, since it takes attention away from an urgent and potentially fixable problem.

  • FloodsRising Tide: Seeking Solutions to S.C.’s Mounting Nuisance Floods

    While a rising tide may lift all boats, it spells trouble for South Carolina coastal communities where flooding has already long been a fact of life. Low-lying areas such as the state’s more than 2,000 miles of coastline are increasingly prone to floods and storm surge as sea levels rise — driven by a more variable global climate system. Researchers are examining green solutions to help those communities fight back.

  • Climate mitigationA Dam Across the North Sea to Protect Europeans from Sea-Level Rise

    Engineers say that a 475-km-long dam between the north of Scotland and the west of Norway. and another one of 160 km between the west point of France and the southwest of England, could protect more than 25 million Europeans against the consequences of an expected sea level rise.

  • Fire risksBuilding Standards Give Us False Hope. There's No Such Thing as a Fireproof House

    By Geoff Hanmer

    Bushfires have killed 33 people and destroyed nearly 3,000 houses across Australia so far this fire season. Canberra is under threat right now. It isn’t only houses. Significant commercial buildings have been destroyed, among them Kangaroo Island’s iconic Southern Ocean Lodge. In New South Wales alone, 140 schools have been hit. Many require extensive work. Trouble is, Australia’s National Construction Code provides false, and dangerous, hope. The sad truth is that any practical building that is exposed to an intense bushfire will probably burn down, whether it complies with Australia’s National Construction Code or not.

  • Coastal challengesSea-Level Rise Could Trigger Migration from Coastal Areas to Inland Cities in U.S.

    When Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast in 2017, displaced residents flocked inland, trying to rebuild their lives in the disaster’s aftermath. Within decades, the same thing could happen at a much larger scale due to rising sea levels, says a new study. The researchers say that climate change-driven sea-level rise could trigger mass migration of Americans to inland cities.

  • ArgumentClimate Change Means the U.S. Must Start Building Big Things Again

    There used to be a time when the United States was adept at planning and building big projects – the highway system, putting a man on the moon, and more. Not anymore, James Temple writes. He notes that nearly every giant infrastructure project in the United States suffers from massive delays and cost overruns, and this is when they are not shut down altogether before completion. “The U.S. has become terrible at building big things, and negligent in even maintaining our existing infrastructure,” he writes, adding: “That all bodes terribly for our ability to grapple with the coming dangers of climate change, because it is fundamentally an infrastructure problem.”

  • Perspective: Climate crisisThe Earth Needs Multiple Methods for Removing CO2 from the Air to Avert Worst of Climate Change

    Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in human history, and nine of the warmest years have occurred since 2005. “Avoiding catastrophic impacts on our coastal infrastructure, biodiversity, food, energy and water resources will require more. In particular, many climate researchers like myself believe government needs to advance technology that will actually suck carbon dioxide out of the air and put it away for very long periods,” David Goldberg writes.

  • Perspective: Mitigating climate crisisCan We Engineer Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?

    The Climate Apocalypse is upon us. More carbon monoxide has been discharged into the atmosphere in the last 50 years than in the whole of human history that went before. Carbon traps heat and the world is getting hotter. Heat holds water vapor and so rainfall is getting more frequent while heat waves last longer. Ice at the poles melts and coastal cities face inundation as sea levels rise. The doom confidently predicted by many climate scientists around the world is being met by optimism among other scientists who are employing innovative technologies that may transform the debate and offer hope for us all. These technological breakthroughs will impact all aspects of climate change from carbon emissions to food production and all forms of energy.

  • FloodsThese Dams Needed Replacing 15 Years Ago. Now Texas Will Drain Four Lakes Instead — Causing Other Problems.

    By Chase Karacostas

    Texas officials will start draining four lakes next week in Guadalupe County in Central Texas without a plan in place for when the lakes, and the 90-year-old dams that support them, will be rebuilt. Area homeowners, who got barely a month’s notice, said they felt blindsided by the plan, and they say it will slash their property values, kill their beloved century-old cypress trees and render the lakes — which have hosted water skiing tournaments for decades — unusable.

  • Perspective: 9/11 mystery9/11 Mystery Solved: World Trade Center Building Didn't Collapse Due to Fire – Study Finds

    Foreign interference and hostile state espionage are a bigger threat to Australia’s security than terrorism, one of the country’s top spy chiefs has warned. Duncan Lewis, the outgoing head of Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), identified three challenges security confronting Australians: terrorism, cyber warfare; and foreign interference and espionage. But the latter was on a “growth trajectory” and is a greater threat than terrorism, he told a Lowy Institute forum in Sydney.

  • EarthquakesBetter Support Column Design to Help Bridges to Withstand Earthquakes

    Bridges make travel faster and more convenient, but, in an earthquake, these structures are subject to forces that can cause extensive damage and make them unsafe. Researchers are investigating the performance of hybrid sliding-rocking (HSR) columns. HSR columns provide the same support as conventional bridge infrastructure columns but are more earthquake-resistant.

  • Fire hazardReducing fire hazards from materials

    Fire researchers will tell you that there’s a simple solution for reducing fire hazards: eliminate flammable materials. If it doesn’t burn, the experts say, then there won’t be a fire. Of course, that option isn’t very practical or realistic; after all, who wants to sit on a block of cement when you can have a cushiony recliner? NIST offers a better strategy for reducing the thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in damage resulting from the more than a million fires each year in the United States.