• Zapping bridges with electricity to test for corrosion

    One out of nine of the nation’s bridges is structurally deficient and that more than 30 percent of bridges have exceeded their 50-year design life; the average age of the nation’s bridges is currently forty-two years. Motorists in the United States make more than 200 million trips across bridges rated structurally deficient or in need of significant maintenance and yearly inspection. Of the more than 17,000 bridges in New York, 12.5 percent are structurally deficient and 27 percent are considered functionally obsolete. One major culprit for bridges’ deterioration: corrosion of reinforcing steel. New testing method could replace expensive, time-consuming visual inspections.

  • Cold-formed steel rebuilds earthquake-resistant architecture

    When engineers attempt to make a building earthquake-resistant, they use specific structural components, appropriately called details, to absorb earthquake forces and help direct some of those forces back to the ground. That works, but when an earthquake hits, the entire building reacts, not just the sections containing details. Even though academic research has led to improvements to the original building codes over the decades, there is much to be learned about the entire system of a cold-formed steel building as it responds to an earthquake.

  • Researchers fabricate new camouflage coating from squid protein

    What can the U.S. military learn from a common squid? A lot about how to hide from enemies, according to researchers. Researchers show that material that mimics calamari skin is invisible to infrared cameras, which is a good thing since infrared detection equipment is employed extensively by military forces for night vision, navigation, surveillance, and targeting.

  • High performance concrete to rescue Brittany's lighthouses

    Lighthouses in Brittany, France, have stood at the intersection of violent currents, blinding storms, and breaking surf for over a century. A lighthouse turret off the coast of Lorient in Brittany has been enhanced with technology developed for bridges. This trial run will test the application of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC).

  • Limestone powder enhances performance of “green” concrete

    Adding limestone powder to “green” concrete mixtures — those containing substantial amounts of fly ash, a byproduct of coal-burning power plants — can significantly improve performance. The promising laboratory results suggest a path to increasing greatly the use of fly ash in concrete, leading to sizable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, construction costs and landfill volumes.

  • Ultrathin radios enable flexible structural-health monitoring system

    Currently, engineers can use single-point sensors or fiber optic strips to detect structural problems, but the devices can collect data over relatively small spaces. The problem is that many failures develop over large areas and cannot be detect that at an early stage. The 2007 collapse of a highway bridge in Minneapolis, for example, developed over a gusset plate with an area of several square meters, far too large for current monitoring systems to practically survey. Researchers have developed ultrathin radios which can be embedded directly on plastic sheets, which can be applied to walls and other structures. The innovation could be used for new devices ranging from an invisible communications system inside buildings to sophisticated, flexible structural health monitoring system for use on bridges, buildings, roads, pipelines, and other structures.

  • view counter
  • Accessible critical rare Earth deposit confirmed in Montana

    U.S. Rare Earths, Inc. (UREE) the other day announced the results of its 2013 exploration in Lemhi Pass, Montana. The company says the results confirmed that its properties have the highest accessible rare earth deposit in North America.

  • Sandy shows need for more effective preparedness, resiliency standards

    The rebuilding efforts following the devastation wreaked by Superstorm Sandy have triggered a discussion over preparedness and resiliency in America’s commercial and residential buildings.Some experts callfor a presidential appointment of a building resilience “’czar”’ with authority to coordinate and seek synergies between public and private sector initiatives.

  • A 34-story wooden skyscraper to be built in Stockholm

    A Swedish architectural form is building a 34-story wood skyscraper in downtown Stockholm. Solid wood will be the predominant material in the building’s pillars and beams, while inside the apartments, walls, ceilings, fittings and window frames will be also constructed of wood.The firm says that wood is not only cheaper than either steel or concrete, but is also more fire resistant than both. This is due to 15 percent of wood mass being water, which will evaporate before the wood actually burns. In addition, logs get charred which protects the core.

  • Man-induced quakes to help in building safer, sturdier buildings

    A team led by Johns Hopkins structural engineers is shaking up a building in the name of science and safety. Using massive moving platforms and an array of sensors and cameras, the researchers are trying to find out how well a two-story building made of cold-formed steel can stand up to a lab-generated Southern California quake.

  • Motivating businesses to adopt building resiliency standards

    Increased resilience for buildings in the face of hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism, or cyberattacks has been a major national security focus over the past decade. Such resilient buildings not only would be less susceptible to damage and work interruption but could become community gathering places in a general crisis. It will not be easy, however, to secure voluntary adoption of resiliency standards by industry and builders without adequate justification.

  • Testing the seismic strength of light frame steel construction

    A partnership of leading earthquake engineering researchers from top U.S. and Canadian universities and design professionals from the steel industry have begun the final phase of a three-year project to increase the seismic safety of buildings that use lightweight cold-formed steel for their primary beams and columns. Research to conclude with shake-table testing.

  • Studying rare Earth elements in Alaska may help make them less rare

    A unique deposit of heavy rare Earth elements (REE) at Alaska’s Bokan Mountain could help scientists understand how rare Earth element deposits form, according to new research. Rare Earth elements are important, but scarce, elements used in components in many cutting edge electronic and defense technologies.

  • New technology prevents bridge collapse

    Researchers propose a new technology that could divert vibrations away from load-bearing elements of bridges to avoid catastrophic collapses. The researchers propose a “wave bypass” technique that has many similarities to those being used by researchers looking to create Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks, which exploit man-made materials known as metamaterials to bend light around objects.

  • Ash from olive residue biomass leads to more effective, cheaper concrete

    Researchers have produced self-compacting concrete with ash from boiler combustion of olive pruning residue pellets. The plasticity and cohesion of this type of concrete mean no compaction is needed when used in construction and, moreover, it has other advantages with respect to conventional concrete.