Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rice research IDs vulnerable bridges

06.06.2012
More than a dozen Gulf Coast bridges in or near Galveston, Texas, would likely suffer severe damage if subjected to a hurricane with a similar landfall as Hurricane Ike but with 30 percent stronger winds, according to researchers at Rice University.

Analysis of Ikefs damage shows which bridges are most susceptible to a stronger hurricane

Preliminary results from research at Rice University show more than a dozen Gulf Coast bridges on or near Galveston Island would likely suffer severe damage if subjected to a hurricane with a similar landfall as Hurricane Ike but with 30 percent stronger winds.

An awareness of which bridges are most at risk of damage in a strong hurricane helps public safety officials, said Jamie Padgett, a Rice assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

gWefve been sharing these findings with emergency management agencies,h Padgett said. gSome of the groups, particularly in the Clear Lake area, are interested in this information so they can plan emergency response routes, or at least do some hypothetical scenarios to think through their responses.h

Padgett leads a research team modeling the performance of dozens of bridges in the Houston-Galveston region. Theyfre determining how well bridges would withstand such a hurricane from their assessment of damage by 2008Œs Ike, the third-costliest storm in American history.

Padgett and Matthew Stearns, a former undergraduate student in her lab, wrote about the effect of hurricanes on bridges in a new book, gLessons From Hurricane Ike,h based on analyses after Ike and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The book was published recently by Texas A&M University Press. The book incorporates material from more than 20 researchers associated with the Rice-based Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center.

After Ike, Padgett and Stearns published a paper in the American Society of Civil Engineersf journal on the impact of Ike on bridge infrastructure in Greater Houston and Galveston.

The first bridge featured in their lengthy report was the Rollover Pass Bridge on Bolivar Peninsula, northeast of Galveston. In 2008, the span, which sat 5.3 feet over the mean water elevation, was given National Bridge Inventory condition ratings of ggoodh for the superstructure and substructure, gvery goodh for the deck and gsatisfactoryh for the channel; yet that same year it was destroyed in Ikefs 15-foot surge and five-foot waves. This highlights the fact that condition ratings alone are not sufficient indicators of bridge safety, particularly in the face of natural hazards, Padgett said, and it underscores the importance of risk-assessment studies such as those conducted by her group.

The bridge was one of 53 evaluated by Padgett and her team after Ike. They used data compiled by themselves and others, including the Texas Department of Transportation and design firm HNTB, which worked on the statefs recovery effort. Some bridges (mostly timber structures in rural areas) were destroyed by the storm surge and wave loading. Others were damaged by debris impact that accompanied the wind and water, and 25 more were weakened by scouring, where earth underneath the structures and supporting elements was washed away. Even 17 of the evaluated bridges that were far enough inland to escape significant storm surge suffered some degree of damage.

Advances in high-strength, corrosion-resistant materials and new design and construction techniques will help the next generation of bridges withstand such damage, said Padgett, who earned a coveted CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) last year to model sustainable solutions for bridge infrastructure subjected to multiple threats. But there are also fixes available to help existing bridges. gThrough our work, wefve identified some simple solutions,h she said. gAdding details and retrofits to the structures, like shear keys or tie-downs, are potential solutions that would help protect bridges during hurricanes.h

Padgett said the Houston Endowmentes support of the SSPEED Center, along with her NSF award, were critical to her work. Her group also studies the impact of earthquakes and other factors, including increased load from a growing population, on bridges.

gInfrastructure reliability is certainly a hot topic worldwide,h said Padgett, who is also studying bridges in California and Charleston, S.C. gWe try to pick strategic locations that have an array of threats.h

Watch a video about Padgettfs work in Ikefs aftermath at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXv9ouW0gIA

David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXv9ouW0gIA

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Concrete from wood
05.07.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht Modular storage tank for tight spaces
16.03.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>