Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Levee modeling study to provide technical data for rebuilding New Orleans

22.02.2006


To provide essential data for the rebuilding of the ravaged levees in New Orleans, engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will be studying small-scale models of sections of the flood-protection system. The researchers will replicate conditions during Hurricane Katrina by subjecting the models to flood loads, supplying important information to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepare the city for next hurricane season and beyond.



The researchers will build and test models of typical levee sections from several locations in New Orleans, including the 17th Street Canal and the London Avenue Canal.

As part of the Corps’ Hurricane Katrina Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET), the project will take advantage of the facilities at Rensselaer’s Geotechnical Centrifuge Research Center, which is partially funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Two Rensselaer engineers will be leading the effort: Tarek Abdoun, principal investigator and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Thomas Zimmie, professor and acting chair of civil and environmental engineering.


"In addition to studying the damaged structures in the aftermath of the hurricane, we also can model the conditions that were occurring during the storm," Abdoun says. "This will provide decision makers with the best scientific information available as they proceed with the rebuilding process."

Zimmie was a member of the NSF-funded team that investigated levee failures in the immediate wake of the storm. In the team’s preliminary report, researchers noted that there was not one simple answer as to why the levees failed. The field observations suggested a number of possible causes, according to Zimmie.

At the 17th Street Canal, the foundation is a complex combination of peat and weak clays, which may have caused this levee’s failure, Zimmie says. Likewise, at the London Avenue Canal, a section of fine sand under the levee might have been the culprit.

"Until all the physical evidence has been analyzed, we will not have a complete picture of what happened," Zimmie says. "The information we collect from these centrifuge models will provide some hard data to back up our preliminary observations, helping us to better understand how levees respond under extreme conditions."

Rensselaer’s 150 g-ton centrifuge, which is one of only four of its kind in the country, has a large mechanical arm that can swing model structures around at 250 miles per hour, exerting forces real structures would face only at catastrophic moments.

"Suppose we want to test a levee that is 100 feet high," Abdoun says. "We can build a model that is only one foot high and then spin it around at 100 g, making it equivalent to a 100-foot-high levee. We can simulate all kinds of structures under just about any failure condition -- earthquakes, explosions, landslides -- and we can do it relatively fast at a very reasonable cost."

A system of advanced sensors will measure the response of the levees in both the vertical and horizontal planes, and cameras will be mounted around the models for visual observations.

The research at Rensselaer will be supplemented by modeling studies at the Army’s Centrifuge Research Center in Vicksburg, Miss. The IPET final report, which is scheduled to be completed by June 1, will be validated by an external review panel from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The National Academies has assembled a multidisciplinary, independent panel of acknowledged experts to review and synthesize the IPET and ASCE efforts. The National Academies panel will report its findings and recommendations directly to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works in the summer of 2006.

Jason Gorss | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>