U.S. Army Corps deconstructs nuclear facilities, carefully

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the midst of a decades-long effort to safely decommission and dismantle a trio of Army nuclear reactors. The first part of the project involved the successful deconstruction of a nuclear power plant onboard a ship — which provided the Corps with multiple ‘lessons learned’ to improve the process for the remaining two land-based reactors. 

In April 1957, the U.S. Army activated the first nuclear power reactor in the United States that provided electricity to the commercial power grid for an extended period. Based at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, just

Chase Center arena in San Francisco excels above and below ground

The Chase Center arena, which opened in 2019, is the capstone in the transformation of San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The project has energized and engaged the neighborhood, completing the area’s conversion from a deteriorating industrial zone into a flourishing, urban entertainment center and transportation hub. The complex design modernizes the concept of an arena, catering to visitors of all kinds with year-round sports and entertainment events. 

The project’s success is the result of a structural design that integrates an 18,000-seat National Basketball Association arena — home to the Golden State Warriors — with two 11-story office towers, an

Perseverance pays off: The Transatlantic Telegraph Cable

The fast pace of globalization that has knit the world together over the last several centuries depends crucially on a robust communications network. One of the cornerstones of that system was the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, a daring, costly endeavor completed in fits and starts over the course of more than 10 years in the mid-1800s. 

Telegraphs use dedicated wires to send pulses of electric current, which can be received and decoded to deliver messages. “The first functioning telegraph was set up by Francis Ronalds, a distinguished amateur scientist, in his Hammersmith (England) garden in 1816,” wrote historian Gillian Cookson

Part 1 of 2: ASCE’s new code of ethics explained

On Oct. 26, 2020, the ASCE Board of Direction approved a comprehensive rewrite of the ASCE Code of Ethics, the most extensive change to the Society’s ethical code in more than 45 years. This is the first of two columns that will review the new code and highlight noteworthy areas of difference from, and consistency with, the code it replaces.

QUESTION How does the new Code of Ethics compare with its predecessor?

DISCUSSION Looking first to the overall structure of the new Code of Ethics, one of the most significant changes in the new code is its abandonment

Mapping, coordination streamline Saint Louis University’s utility system upgrade

This summer, work was completed on an extensive utility infrastructure upgrade project at the 200-year-old north campus of Saint Louis University. More than 33,000 linear ft of new infrastructure was installed as part of the project, which used sophisticated underground mapping, virtual design, and construction planning to upgrade electric, gas, chilled water, and communications systems. The work creates a fully private SLU system separate from the city of St. Louis.

The age and tightness of SLU’s existing public and private underground utility conditions complicated the project. SLU is the oldest university west of the Mississippi, and its main campus

Duke researchers ask: Can soil temperature predict a landslide?

Researchers in Duke University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have developed a new mathematical model that uses temperatures within a deep-seated landslide to help predict the sudden, catastrophic failure of the moving land mass. A deep-seated landslide is one in which the sliding surface of rock is deep underground, roughly 30 m or even much deeper, notes Manolis Veveakis, Ph.D., an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke. 

Although deep-seated landslides are less common than shallow landslides — which involve material located closer to the surface, often in a slurrylike state — the deep-seated events involve

Low-carbon community in China to transform waterfront

Global design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has released the design for a new mixed-use neighborhood that will be located along the Pearl River Delta in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China. The greater bay area in this region is a burgeoning tech hub, and the development will transform the waterfront and act as a blueprint for future development in China, according to material released by the firm. SOM provided architecture, structural engineering, sustainable design, graphics and branding, and interior design services on the project.

Known as Jiuzhou Bay, the development will include 1.6 million sq ft of office space, 2.3

AI makes quick work of earthquake damage assessment

After an earthquake, effective damage assessment is critical to saving lives and planning a rapid and effective response. The assessment needs to accurately and quickly gauge the scale and the extent of the damage and do so without endangering additional lives. A new Japanese artificial intelligence model that uses aerial images from disaster sites is able to do just that.

A team of researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan has developed an artificial intelligence system to analyze aerial images taken after earthquakes and quickly evaluate the damage shown so teams can attend to critical areas first. The AI places

Modular facade of renewable tech firm’s HQ features photovoltaic panels

When it came time to remodel the facade of the headquarters building of the Hanwha Corp., a renewable technology firm based in Seoul, South Korea, the design focused on two aspects: the amount of sunlight striking each side of the building and the integration of the corporation’s own photovoltaic panels into the new building envelope. The international engineering firm Arup, the project’s sustainability and facade consultant, worked closely with the Dutch architecture firm UNStudio on the new system, which features 54 types of facade modules arranged in 239 configurations, according to Vincent Cheng, Ph.D., an Arup fellow and the

College course focuses on how fire affects structures

During a building fire, thermal expansion and large deformations impose loads on structural components that are not considered during the design of the building for ambient temperatures. Unfortunately, these principles of structural fire engineering are not being taught at the undergraduate level, according to Erica C. Fischer, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University. As a result, there is an entire subset of civil and structural engineering that many graduates know next to nothing about. However, Fischer is working to change this. She has developed a series