Sunday, September 23, 2012

Civil engineers destroy a test levee in the Netherlands

Rennselaer news release: Civil engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute were part of an international research team that collapsed a full-scale dike this week in The Netherlands. The test dike was embedded with advanced sensors and traditional measurement instruments, and results of the study are expected to help validate powerful new technologies for monitoring the health of aging flood-control infrastructure.

The dike was situated in a specially constructed basin, which the researchers filled with water. The slow addition of water into the basin increased the pressure on the dike. Water forced its way into the dike, and eventually softened the bottom of the dike and shifted the earth underneath, prompting the overall structure to collapse. The study was led by Dutch research institute Deltares, in partnership with Rensselaer and 14 other companies and universities from around the world. It was the research team’s third full-scale levee test collapse this summer. The full results of the tests will be presented at the Flood Risk Conference in November 2012 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

“The failure of flood-control infrastructure is very real, and can lead to catastrophic flooding as we unfortunately witnessed in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina,” said Tarek Abdoun, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the School of Engineering and the Judith and Thomas Iovino ’73 Career Development Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer. “A large-scale test like this can help supply us with invaluable data to inform and validate our efforts to create a long-term, real-time monitoring system that can assess the health of levees and help identify the vulnerability of levee or dam sections before they fail.”

...The collapsed dike was fit with a large number of different sensors, including SAPP (shape-acceleration-pore pressure) arrays that were developed through a partnership between Rensselaer and industrial collaborator Measurand. SAPP sensor arrays are designed to be installed into the ground, beneath and around levees and dams. The cost-effective arrays accurately measure soil deformation, vibration, and pore pressure at critical points of a flood-control system....

Photo from the Rennselaer web site

No comments: