• FLOODSHow Sponge Cities Work?

    By Aditi Rajagopal

    With concrete and asphalt covering areas once given over to grass and soil, the water from heavy rains has nowhere to go. Too often, that results in flooding, and cities around the world are now exploring ways to reverse this kind of urban development. And they are doing it by turning themselves into urban “sponges.” In other words, they are creating spaces and infrastructure to absorb, hold and release water in a way that allows it to flow back into the water cycle.

  • MANUFACTURINGNSF invests $35M in future manufacturing

    Manufacturing is a linchpin of the U.S. economy, bolstering national security, economic growth, and American employment. The National Science Foundation (NSF) makes targeted investments in the future of manufacturing research and helps grow the manufacturing workforce.

  • FLOODSBeaver-Like Dams Can Enhance Existing Flood Management Strategies for At-risk Communities

    River barriers made up of natural materials like trees, branches, logs and leaves can reduce flooding in at-risk communities. Leaky barriers are effective in slowing down the flow of the river during periods of rainfall and storing up vast quantities of water which would otherwise rush through causing damage to communities downstream.

  • EARTHQUAKE RESILIENCEBuildings Left Sanding in Turkey Offer Design Guidance for Future Earthquake-Resilient Construction

    By Osman Ozbulut

    The Feb. 6, 2023, earthquakes in Turkey and Syria put to the test advanced building technologies that can minimize damage and keep buildings functioning after a quake. Several hospitals built with one such technology – called a seismic isolation system – survived the earthquakes with almost no harm.

  • DISASTER-RESISTANT BUILDINGS AI Could Set a New Bar for Designing Hurricane-Resistant Buildings

    Being able to withstand hurricane-force winds is the key to a long life for many buildings on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast of the U.S. Determining the right level of winds to design for is tricky business, but support from artificial intelligence may offer a simple solution.

  • EARTHQUAKESEarthquake Footage Shows Turkey’s Buildings Collapsing Like Pancakes. An Expert Explains Why

    By Mark Quigley

    Many of the collapsed buildings appear to have been built from concrete without adequate seismic reinforcement. Seismic building codes in this region suggest these buildings should be able to sustain strong earthquakes (where the ground accelerates by 30% to 40% of the normal gravity) without incurring this type of complete failure. The 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes appear to have caused shaking in the range of 20 to 50% of gravity. A proportion of these buildings thus failed at shaking intensities lower than the “design code.”

  • EARTHQUAKESGauging Losses and Lessons in Turkey's Unfolding Earthquake Calamity

    By Andrew Revkin

    As earthquake engineers stress, most of the time, buildings kill people, not the shaking itself. Many of the buildings destroyed in the quake had “soft floors” – ground-level retail spaces with very little reinforcement supporting far heavier residential floors above; buildings where, for tax purposes, higher floors jutted out beyond the dimensions of the ground floor; or homes where floors were added as families expanded. Engineers call such structures “rubble in waiting.”

  • DAMSSupporting Dams with Innovative Materials

    There are about 91,000 dams in the United States. About half the dams built in the past century and a half are starting to show their age, with resulting wear and tear. Severe weather events, extreme temperatures, erosion and rising water levels are all straining the infrastructure and exacerbating the impacts of deterioration and aging processes. In many cases, simply replacing the dams and levees is not a viable option due to high costs.

  • WIND RESISTANCEGone with the Wind? Huskers Investigate Mystery of Last Standing Grain Bin

    By Scott Schrage

    More than 750,000 steel silos and bins are estimated to pepper rural America, often standing empty before filling up on the annual harvest. Most cannot withstanding winds of 100-plus miles per hour – but some can.

  • GEOEGINEERINGArtificial Ocean Cooling to Weaken Hurricanes Is Futile: Study

    A new study found that even if we did have the infinite power to artificially cool enough of the oceans to weaken a hurricane, the benefits would be minimal. The researchers suggest that ocean cooling is an effectively impossible solution to mitigate disasters.

  • HURRICANESThirty Years After Hurricane Andrew Devastated Florida, Researchers Are Using a “Wall of Wind” to Design Safer Homes – but Storms Are Getting Even More Intense

    By Richard Olson and Ameyu B. Tolera

    Studies show tropical storms are ramping up in intensity as the climate changes and ocean and air temperatures rise. Designing homes and infrastructure to withstand future storms like Dorian will require new test facilities that go well beyond today’s capabilities – for what we believe should be called Category 6 storms.

  • GEOENGINEERINGScientists Evaluate Earth-Cooling Strategies

    By Blaine Friedlander

    A group of international scientists is – more rigorously and systematically than ever before – evaluating whether and how the stratosphere could be made just a little bit “brighter,” reflecting more incoming sunlight so that an ever-warming Earth maintains its cool.

  • COASTAL CHELLENGESU.S. Senate Approves Bill Containing Texas’ “Ike Dike” Coastal Protection Project

    By Erin Douglas

    The U.S. Senate voted to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning for a massive coastal barrier project in Galveston Bay meant to protect against hurricanes’ storm surge. Funding is not yet secured.

  • FLOODSMitigating Flood Disasters

    Engineers have proposed a flood control measure which recommends designing permeable pavements to specifically suit local rainfall and soil conditions and reduce flood impacts.

  • GeoengineeringExperts Call for More Comprehensive Research into Solar Geoengineering

    Two articles published in Science magazine this week argue for more and better social science research into the potential use of solar geoengineering to offset some of the global warming from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.