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 Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>