Structural News

Stronger construction standards can reduce tornado destruction

Oklahoma City — “The devastation and damage to homes and businesses caused by tornadoes can and should be reduced by better construction methods,” said Tim Reinhold, Ph.D., chief engineer and senior vice president of research, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). Reinhold presented several new recommendations to reduce tornado damage through stronger construction practices during his presentation at the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City. He went so far as to call on home buyers to demand safer homes in tornado-prone areas, especially manufactured homes.

JQ’s new projects track market growth in Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock, Texas — The Lubbock office of JQ is capitalizing on the city’s growth with new projects, according to principal Natalie Harvill, P.E., LEED AP. Says Harvill, “With a growth rate projected to be more than 40 percent over the next decade, our Lubbock office has been very active, proposing on new projects.”

Preventing explosive spalling of concrete in tunnel fires

When fire breaks out in a tunnel, the ensuing heat has little possibility of escaping. Temperatures rise rapidly to over 1,000 degrees Celsius. The heat that develops causes the concrete to spall explosively, weakening the structural integrity of the tunnel. This can be prevented by adding polypropylene fibers to the concrete. But what exactly happens inside the concrete? Engineers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have found a way to measure this.

Concrete solutions to aging bridges

University Park, Pa. — According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the state leads the nation in the number of bridges classified as "structurally deficient." Its 25,000 state-owned bridges are aging — their average age is over 50 years — and in need of repair. Penn State Civil engineer Farshad Rajabipour and his colleagues are working on solutions.

Roebling Museum celebrates milestone, unveils artist rendering

Roebling, N.J. — To coincide with National Engineers Week, which runs Feb. 22 through 28, 2015, the Roebling Museum announced that its Build-A-Bridge Campaign has raised more than $25,000. Launched in November 2014, the campaign enters phase two with a total campaign goal of raising $100,000, which will be used to support the museum’s mission to educate the public on engineering and industry through educational programs, special events, and exhibits.

Professor seeks to improve steel structures via geometrical cutouts

Blacksburg, Va. — While working as a structural engineer in California, Matthew Eatherton saw myriad ways the steel industry could break from century-old methods and delve into the then-burgeoning fields of subtractive and additive manufacturing — the later commonly referred to as 3D printing — and improve building performance. Now an assistant professor with Virginia Tech’s Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Eatherton will be using a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to research how steel plates with carefully designed geometric patterns — or voids — cut into them can better withstand everyday loads and extreme events — high winds, blast or shock from an earthquake — than the standard solid steel plates currently used.

3-D model could help manage U.S. bridge maintenance crisis

Lincoln, Neb. — Nearly one out of every nine bridges in the United States is deemed structurally deficient and potentially dangerous, according to the Federal Highway Administration. It would cost an estimated $70 billion to catch up with the nation's backlog of nearly 70,000 bridges in need of repair. However, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln associate professor has developed a data management tool that could help officials monitor deteriorating bridges and prioritize their repair.

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