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Researchers Develop Stronger Material for Earthquake-Resistant Bridges

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Jim S
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Gold
Cost Estimate
Jim S   9/16/2013 12:31:42 PM
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I believe the 3 % figure is an order of magnitude off. Nickel & Titanium are not plentiful like iron & carbon. The cement costs are also at least 30% more than conventional concrete.

kenish
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Platinum
Re: Scaling up
kenish   9/16/2013 12:56:06 PM
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The newly opened Bay Bridge in San Francisco has nonstructural "fences" on the underside to control sway and loading in high winds.  They are in a zig-zag pattern.  Interesting that many aircraft have small "fences" in parallel rows on the top of the wing to keep laminar flow attached while on the bridge they're arranged to prevent it!

The Bay Bridge was severly over-budget, IIRC about 5x-6x over the original $1.5bn budget.  Schedule slip was bad too, and when defective bolts were discovered early this year there was a political push to open on Labor Day no matter what...some engineers feel that trumped proper corrective action.

 

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Scaling up
Elizabeth M   9/17/2013 4:15:33 AM
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I was actually living in SF when they were retrofitting the Bay Bridge. It seemed to take ages and I remember there were probems with it, probably the ones you mention, kenish. The structural design is interesting, let's hope it holds up if there is a big quake.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cost Estimate
Elizabeth M   9/17/2013 4:21:50 AM
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You could very well be right, Jim S. Sometimes researchers don't present the full story financially of what a new invention might cost, or maybe they just aren't aware. I guess until it's put into practice, the full financial impact just won't be known.

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Believe that & I'll sell you a bridge....
Elizabeth M   9/17/2013 4:31:11 AM
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It seems to be the consensus among our expert readers that this material will be a lot more expensive than researchers think to use. I think maybe they were generous in their estimates. I guess the financial cost will come when and if this material is ever commercially used.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Platinum
Re: Cost Estimate
OLD_CURMUDGEON   9/17/2013 9:03:43 AM
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Elizabeth....

"Sometimes researchers don't present the full story financially of what a new invention might cost, or maybe they just aren't aware. I guess until it's put into practice"

OH!, you mean like AFTER the contracts are signed & work begins, and then the paying public gets to learn the TRUTH, which was purposely concealed from the outset so that certain individuals, groups could reap the reward, and the rest of us get SCREWED?  Is that what you mean to say?  Well, there, I said it!!!!!

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Scaling up
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/17/2013 11:18:03 AM
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I worked with Nickel Titanium in the 80's & 90's, while designing Antennas for portable VHF radios.  Picture those large brick-like UHF/VHF radios used by Police and many municipalities, and recall the protruding  12" over-molded whip antenna.  The base structure of these radiating elements is Nickel Titanium Rod, highly flexible, super-strong, and corrosion resistant.  It behaves like stainless or surgical steel in outdoor (even salt) environments.  Great stuff; we called it NiTi rod.

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Cost Estimate
Elizabeth M   9/18/2013 12:05:21 PM
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Hi, OLD CURMUDGEON. Thanks for your comment. So I take it you've had some experience along these lines? It's a shame that this is probably an all-too-frequent scenario!

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Platinum
Re: Cost Estimate
OLD_CURMUDGEON   9/18/2013 12:19:12 PM
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Elizabeth: 

NOT me, personally, BUT me as part of a community which through our taxes has paid for civic projects that became boondoggles, wells of corruption, graft, mismanagement, etc.

There are two blatant examples of such projects in recent U.S. history..... In the 1970s, LILCO (LONG ISLAND LIGHTING CO.) decided to build a nuclear electric power generating facility on the north shore of the Island.  The proposal was for $65 MILLION.  By the time it was sold to the State of New York, after 20 years of re-engineering, graft, corruption, etc., it cost the ratepayers of L.I. about $4 BILLION, and it never produced one watt of electric power for consumption by the public.

The second glaring example is the "BIG DIG" in the Boston area.  Again, the cost overruns & incompetent engineering & other factors turned this project into the debacle of the century.  It was so bad that the TV program, 60 MINUTES, did a segment on it.

I'm sure that IF one set his/her mind to it, they could find countless examples across this country of similar examples!

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Cost Estimate
Elizabeth M   9/18/2013 12:24:12 PM
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I completely understand where you're coming from, OC. I traveled a lot to Boston while the Big Dig was going on and know what a nightmare that was for everyone it affected, either directly or indirectly. There definitely should be more fiscal responsibility from the outset for such projects.

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