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 Smart buildings through innovative membrane roofs and façades
31.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Concrete from wood
05.07.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

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: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>