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 Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>