Engineering
Top stories summarized by our editors
9/21/2017

Tropical Storm Irma damaged homes in South Carolina's Wild Dunes and Harbor Island communities, and it's uncertain whether experimental removable seawalls in the area would have helped. One assessment is that the walls effectively move the shoreline closer to the areas they're designed to protect.

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Irma
9/21/2017

Sediment and vegetation that have accumulated since record flooding in 1983 have left the Santa Cruz River in Tucson, Ariz., in a newly flood-prone state, per a report prepared for Pima County. The soil cement used to line the river through downtown hasn't proved effective, the report states.

9/21/2017

Flood mapping, damage reduction measures and environmental restoration will be among the subjects explored by the Army Corps of Engineers in a long-term study of Idaho's Big Wood River. Blaine County contracted for the work after severe spring flooding along the river.

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Army Corps of Engineers, Army
9/21/2017

The Army Corps of Engineers is studying how Folly Beach, S.C., can be restored after storms Irma and Matthew washed away much of the sand from a previous $30 million renourishment project. The Corps is using a small vehicle equipped with GPS and LIDAR to accurately assess the loss from Irma, which is believed to have caused more erosion than Matthew.

9/21/2017

Texas cities generally lack the public policies that would promote green infrastructure and other measures to curb damaging stormwater runoff, per a report by Environment Texas. "Smaller amounts that the green infrastructure can capture means that if you use it on a wide scale, it is very effective in addressing the flooding that comes from smaller storm events that happen much more frequently," said report author Brian Zabcik.

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Public News Service
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stormwater runoff
9/21/2017

A multiyear study of tile-drained catchments in Czechia revealed significant differences among the monitored sites concerning the season and the methods used. But the findings have implications for improved assessment of nutrient loads and the design of tile drainage mitigation.

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MDPI (Switzerland)
9/21/2017

A 3D-printed silicone rubber matrix containing microbubbles of ethanol forms a light, elastic muscle for robots that can be activated electrically via embedded wires. The muscle, developed by Columbia University engineers, can be produced cheaply and can contract -- or push or twist -- far more powerfully than the human equivalent.

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New Atlas
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Columbia University
9/21/2017

Mesh that's used to separate oil from water in the oil industry tends to get clogged. A new method developed at MIT incorporates titania nanoparticles in the mesh and uses ultraviolet light to degrade the oil contaminate and allow the mesh to clean itself.

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ASME
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oil industry, ultraviolet light, MIT
9/20/2017

What constitutes a smart city, and how do you make an existing city smart? Instead of just being a random collection of buildings and people, according to the Communications Industry Association TM Forum's new "City as a Platform" manifesto, it should be reshaped as a platform embracing 11 principles, prioritizing among other things the so-called sharing economy and sustainable development.

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New Atlas
9/20/2017

While microfluidic devices flushing fluids through tiny pipes are one way to make a lab on a chip, Michael Schertzer, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is taking a markedly different approach. He's aiming for a credit-card-size device using digital technology with a "checkerboard of electrodes" that shift fluids around.

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ASME