The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

TheStructuralEngineer.info is excited to announce the November Newsletter Issue#116

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Patch22, a creation of the Dutch architectural office FRANTZEN et al, is the highest wooden apartment building in the Netherlands.

Monday, 20 March 2017 01:00

Interesting bridges around the world

 Each one of them is unique in its own way! 

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The roads, bridges, public drinking and water systems, dams, airports and mass transit systems in the US are in need of massive restoration. This is what the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) said in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, an assessment of the nation's infrastructure that comes out every 4 years. The organization evaluated it with an overall grade of D+, the same score as in 2013, pointing out that the country will need to invest $4.59 trillion by 2025 to improve its condition.

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The first ever 3D-printed residential home was built on-site in just 24 hours in the town of Stupino, near Moscow in Russia last December. Having a cylindrical shape and consisting of a hallway, a bathroom, a living room and a kitchen, this 38 m2 (406 ft2) house had a total cost of $10,134, or $267 per m2. Apis Cor., the Russian company that constructed it, claims that it can last up to 175 years and that a simpler house (ex. a square one) could cost only $223 per m2 ($68 per ft2).

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) examined a variety of bridge types along with design requirements under the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code. As part of the research, the seismic performance of shape memory alloy reinforced and post-tensioned bridge piers have been tested in the University’s Applied Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Structures (ALAMS). The results, published in the Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, point out that bridges are being built to withstand the force of an earthquake, however they are being overbuilt, resulting to unnecessary construction expenses.

Researchers at TU Wien have developed a construction method for concrete domes, requiring far less amounts of labor and materials than the conventional resource intensive formwork. Invented by Dr. Benjamin Kromoser and Prof. Johann Kollegger at the Institute of Structural Engineering, the new method is called "Pneumatic Forming of Hardened Concrete (PFHC)" and sets the complicated spatially curved formwork and the framework unnecessary. Also important is that it saves up to 50% of the concrete as well as 65% of the necessary reinforcement steel.

Brown University engineers Haneesh Kesari and Michael Monn have been studying sea sponges in order to understand how these fairly simple creatures can maintain their shape at the bottom of the ocean, despite the fact that they are subject to the constant stress of underwater waves and tidal forces. The findings of their research, published in the journal Scientific Reports showed that tiny structural rods in the sponges’ bodies have evolved the optimal shape to avoid buckling under pressure. According to the researchers, this shape could provide a blueprint for increasing the buckling resistance in all kinds of slender human-made structures, from building columns to bicycle spokes to arterial stents, as buckling is the primary mode of failure for slender structures.

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A huge but yet mobile 3D printer has been developed by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, Dean’s Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Astronautics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC), as well as Director of the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT). Its function is based on his idea about Contour Crafting (CC), a layered fabrication technology with great potential in automating the construction of whole structures that could also reduce material use, waste and energy consumption. An entire two-story house of 2,500 ft2 could be built in a day, without supervision! And because these machines can scale to great sizes, they will eventually be used to even build skyscrapers.

A short bridge was demolished in downtown LA, as it was standing in the way of the Regional Connector project, the city’s metro line extension. The bridge, leading to Hope Street, was built in the area where the construction of the 2nd Street/Hope Station is taking place. The station will serve the northwest part of DTLA, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad, the Los Angeles Music Center, MOCA and many offices and residences in the area.

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