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Civil Engineer Blog
Civil Engineer and Civil Engineering Student Blog

The Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Banding
If you have ever considered using stainless steel strapping, you more than likely know what an incredible and versatile material it is. Take a look at the hinges on your refrigerator door, they are able to support over 140 pounds without sagging. In addition, steel is one of the most environmentally friendly materials on the […]
Water Features And Fountains In Your Garden
Many people wonder if they should get a water feature for their gardens. It is a valid question that you have to ask yourself. Adding a fountain or other water feature is a big job and you have to make sure that you plan it carefully. Water features can add a lot to your garden […]
Caring for Your Parents Simplified
Sooner or later you will find yourself in a position where you have to care for your aging parent. The emotions involved with their health as well as wanting them to be well cared for can be quite stressful, but it is easier to face this problem if you simplify your options. The following are […]
5 Roof Emergencies to Fix Right Away
There are many home improvement and repairs that can be put off for an indefinite amount of time, but roofing is not one. You need a secure and sound roof surface to shed water, snow and protect the interior of the home. Below are five roofing emergencies that should be taken care of immediately. Ice […]
What You Need To Know About Pipeline Engineering
Most people don’t give much thought to the pipelines that make up a huge part of the world’s infrastructure. They’re crucial to the modern way of life though, and the design and construction of these pipes are the responsibility of pipeline engineers. The oil industry in particular, as well as the natural gas industry, depend […]

Civil Engineering News -- ScienceDaily
Civil Engineering News -- ScienceDaily
Civil Engineering News and Research. From new mathematical models for building better structures to new corrosion-resistant composites, read all the latest discoveries in civil engineering here.

Shaping animal, vegetable and mineral
A new technique to grow any target shape from any starting shape has now been developed by researchers, outlines a new report.
Finally! A solution to office thermostat wars
A new method has been proposed that simultaneously optimizes individual office workers' productivity and energy consumption costs by automating the control of indoor environmental conditions including air quality, temperature and lighting.
New software speeds origami structure designs
Researchers have developed a new computer-aided approach that streamlines the design process for origami-based structures, making it easier for engineers and scientists to conceptualize new ideas graphically while simultaneously generating the underlying mathematical data needed to build the structure in the real world.
Solar-powered devices made of wood could help mitigate water scarcity crisis
Energy from the sun and a block of wood smaller than an adult's hand are the only components needed to heat water to its steaming point in these purifying devices.
Timber bridges viable option for local roads
Structural testing of a glulam timber girder bridge confirmed that they are viable, cost-effective options for replacing bridges on low-traffic county and township road.
Army researchers point to early warning signs in military vehicle structural 'wellness'
Researchers have shown that early fatigue damage behavior in structures may be predicted through the study of the microscale mechanical behavior of the material. The findings are an important result for the structural health monitoring (SHM) community and may lead to new sensing techniques for predicting the service life of critical components.
Small scale energy harvesters show large scale impact
The production of nano-scale devices has drastically increased with the rise in technological applications, yet a major drawback to the functionality of nano-sized systems is the need for an equally small energy resource. To address this, researchers have been modeling new piezoelectric energy harvester technology at the nano-scale level.
Football helmet smartfoam signals potential concussions in real time, study suggests
While football-related concussions have been top of mind in recent years, people have struggled to create technology to accurately measure them in real time. Engineers have now developed and tested a nano composite smartfoam that can be placed inside a football helmet (and pads) to more accurately test the impact and power of hits.
Rogue wave analysis supports investigation of the El Faro sinking
A new analysis done to support the investigation into the 2015 sinking of the El Faro cargo ship has calculated the likelihood of a massive rogue wave during Hurricane Joaquin in October of that year – and demonstrated a new technique for evaluating the probability of rogue waves over space and time.
Coatings needed for concentrating solar power
Next-generation concentrating solar power (CSP) plants require high-temperature fluids, like molten salts, in the range of 550-750 degrees Celsius to store heat and generate electricity. At those high temperatures, however, the molten salts eat away at common alloys used in the heat exchangers, piping, and storage vessels of CSP systems. New research is aimed at mitigating corrosion levels in CSP plants with nickel-based coatings.
Developing roads that can generate power from passing traffic
Researchers are looking at advanced materials for roads and pavements that could generate electricity from passing traffic. Engineers are working on smart materials such as 'piezolectric' ceramics that when embedded in road surfaces would be able to harvest and convert vehicle vibration into electrical energy.
A drone for last-centimeter delivery
A new drone uses cutting-edge technology to deliver parcels weighing up to 500 grams. The device will never get stuck in traffic, it’s programmed to avoid obstacles, and it can reach destinations on steep or uneven terrain. Its protective cage and foldable design mean that it can be carried around in a backpack and used in total safety.
Corrosion: Nanoscale glimpse of crevice and pitting corrosion as it happens
What affects almost everything made of metal, from cars to boats to underground pipes and even the fillings in your teeth? Corrosion -- a slow process of decay. At a global cost of trillions of dollars annually, it carries a steep price tag, not to mention, the potential safety, environmental and health hazards it poses.
'Peel-and-go' printable structures fold themselves
Researchers have created a printable structure that begins to fold itself up as soon as it's peeled off the printing platform.
Getting to the point (mutations) in re-engineering biofuel-producing bacterial enzymes
Helping bacteria become more efficient when breaking down fibrous plant waste into biofuel could result in more affordable biofuels for our gas tanks and sustainable products such as bioplastics. One way to achieve this goal is to re-engineer the bacterial enzyme complexes, called cellulosomes, which serve as catalysts in the degradation process.
'Rubber material' discovered that could lead to scratch-proof paint for car
A stretchy miracle material has been discovered that could be used to create highly resistant smart devices and scratch-proof paint for cars, report investigators.
Insect eyes inspire new solar cell design
Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could help scientists overcome a major roadblock to the development of perovskite photovoltaics.
Improving earthquake resistance with a single crystal
A new heating method for certain metals could lead to improved earthquake-resistant construction materials.
In the face of climate change can our engineers keep the trains running on time?
Each nation has employed its own methodology for maintenance and repairs of trains and subways, but new, daunting challenges created by climate change -- extreme heat, extreme cold, and severe flooding -- require yet more rigorous solutions.
Team develops novel 3-D printed high-performance polymer that could be used in space
With a new breakthrough, the high-performance polymer now could theoretically be used in any shape, size, or structure, and not just within the aerospace industry, say researchers. The same material can be found in scores of electronic devices, including cell phones and televisions.
Origami-inspired robot
New research details how origami structures and bio-inspired design can be used to create a crawling robot.
Chemists get step closer to replicating nature with assembly of new 3-D structures
Chemists have created a series of three-dimensional structures that take a step closer to resembling those found in nature.
Understanding brittle crack behaviors to design stronger materials
Scientists have discovered the mechanism that causes cracks to behave strangely when they spread very rapidly in brittle materials.
AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
In what could be a small step for science potentially leading to a breakthrough, an engineer has taken steps toward using nanocrystal networks for artificial intelligence applications.
Tough, self-healing rubber developed
Imagine a tire that could heal after being punctured or a rubber band that never snapped. Researchers have developed a new type of rubber that is as tough as natural rubber but can also self-heal.
Researchers 'count cars' -- literally -- to find a better way to control heavy traffic
There's 'Counting Crows,' counting sheep, counting blessings and now researchers have their own version of 'counting cars' -- literally -- in an attempt to improve traffic flow on South Florida's and our nation's overcrowded roads. And with more than 263 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States and more than 14 million registered vehicles in Florida alone, this is no small feat.
When robots help with shopping
Today, the desired book, toy or household appliance can be purchased by a click only -- thanks to online mail order business and smart logistics. The bottleneck in logistics, however, is the high-bay store, where many picking and detection processes cannot yet be executed automatically by robots. At the Amazon Robotics Challenge in Nagoya, Japan, a team has demonstrated how future warehousing may work.
Machine learning could be key to producing stronger, less corrosive metals
Researchers have studied grain boundaries for decades and gained some insight into the types of properties grain boundaries produce, but no one has been able to nail down a universal system to predict if a certain configuration of atoms at grain boundaries will make a material stronger or more pliable. An interdisciplinary team of researchers have cracked the code by juicing a computer with an algorithm that allows it to learn the elusive 'why' behind the boundaries' qualities.
How to pave over our big (cigarette) butt problem
Cigarette butts are toxic for the environment. Encapsulating them into asphalt traps the chemicals in the filters and improves the performance of the construction material.
Simultaneous design and nanomanufacturing speeds up fabrication
By using concurrent design and nanomanufacturing, researchers produce inexpensive material surfaces for use in ultra-thin solar cells that can absorb more light.
Heat-conducting plastic could lead to lighter electronics, cars
Advanced plastics could usher in lighter, cheaper, more energy-efficient product components, including those used in vehicles, LEDs and computers -- if only they were better at dissipating heat.
Getting therapeutic sound waves through thick skulls
Ultrasound brain surgery has enormous potential for the treatment of neurological diseases and cancers, but getting sound waves through the skull and into the brain is no easy task. To address this problem, a team of researchers has now developed a ceramic skull implant through which doctors can deliver ultrasound treatments on demand and on a recurring basis.
Cicada wings may inspire new surface technologies
Researchers are looking to insects -- specifically cicadas -- for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities.
Smart underwear proven to prevent back stress with just a tap
Unlike other back-saving devices, this one is mechanized and was tested with motion capture, force plates and electromyography.
Materials emitted by water pipe-repair method may pose health risks
New research is calling for immediate safeguards and the study of a widely used method for repairing sewer-, storm-water and drinking-water pipes to understand the potential health and environmental concerns for workers and the public.
Engineering on a blue streak
A process has been developed to form interwoven polymer networks more easily, quickly and sustainably than traditional methods allow. Their secret ingredient? Blue light.
What happens when materials collide?
The first direct observations of a material's dynamic fracture have been observed at the atomic scale, from X-ray diffraction measurements of tantalum.
Here's a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties
Three key molecular mechanisms control the mechanics of layered crystals such as tobermorite, a natural crystal used by the Romans to make concrete.
Toward 20-Story Earthquake-Safe Buildings Made From Wood
A two-story wooden structure endured four different earthquake simulations on July 14, 2017 on the world's largest outdoor shake table here in San Diego. And it's still standing before more tests in the coming weeks. The goal of the tests is to gather enough data to design wood buildings as tall as 20 stories that do not suffer significant damage during large earthquakes. That is, not only can occupants leave the building unharmed, but they can come back and resume living in the building shortly after a temblor.
More than 8. 3 billion tons of plastics made: Most has now been discarded
Humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, and most of it now resides in landfills or the natural environment, according to a study.
High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing
Using the principles of light, scientists have discovered a new way to measure the strength of modern forms of concrete -- giving industry a better way to understand when it could fracture.
Concrete from wood
Houses can be made of wood, as they were in the past – or of concrete, as they are today. To build for tomorrow, the two building methods are being combined: these hybrid structures, which contain both wood and concrete elements, are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary architecture.
Sprayable sensing network technology for structural health monitoring
A novel breed of nanocomposites-inspired sensors has been developed that can be sprayed directly on flat or curved engineering structural surfaces, such as train tracks and airplane structures. The sprayed sensors can be networked, to render rich real-time information on the health status of the structure under monitoring.
Protecting astronauts from radiation in space
Scientists have designed a new nano material that can reflect or transmit light on demand with temperature control, opening the door to technology that protects astronauts in space from harmful radiation.
Surprising insights into properties of butterfly wings
A collaboration between biologists and materials scientists is yielding new insights into the wings of the "skipper butterfly" in the Costa Rican rainforest. What they learn could lead to technological advancements in systems ranging from power-efficient computer displays to sensors to energy efficient buildings, windows and vehicles.
Dual-arm construction robot with remote-control function
A new concept construction robot has been developed for disaster relief situations. This robot has a double swing dual arm mechanism and has drastically improved operability and mobility compared to conventional construction machines.
Super-strong metal made for next tech frontier
Engineers have developed a strong, durable new material to help shape advanced MEMS sensors needed for the internet of things.
System of quadcopters that fly and drive suggest another approach to developing flying cars
Being able to both walk and take flight is typical in nature many birds, insects, and other animals can do both. If we could program robots with similar versatility, it would open up many possibilities: Imagine machines that could fly into construction areas or disaster zones that aren't near roads and then squeeze through tight spaces on the ground to transport objects or rescue people.
New approach improves ability to predict metals' reactions with water
The wide reach of corrosion, a multitrillion-dollar global problem, may someday be narrowed considerably thanks to a new, better approach to predict how metals react with water.
Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water
Researchers have provided new insight into piezoelectrics materials, a smart material used in ultrasound technology. While forming the most thorough model to date of how these materials work, they found striking similarities with the behavior of water. A more complete understanding of why these materials behave the way they do can unlock new materials design, leading to higher quality piezoelectrics that may revolutionize smart material applications.
The future of our cities: Engineers test resilient, intelligent infrastructure
Engineers tested several advanced sensors that can collectively measure strain, temperature, movement and leakage – installed along a 40-foot section of a hazard-resilient pipeline being tested for earthquake fault-rupture performance. The results could have huge consequences for urban planners and municipal leaders.
3-D printed tensegrity objects capable of dramatic shape change
A team of researchers has developed a way to use 3-D printers to create objects capable of expanding dramatically that could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices.
When the rubber hits the road: Recycled tires create stronger concrete
Engineers have developed a more resilient type of concrete using recycled tires that could be used for concrete structures like buildings, roads, dams and bridges while reducing landfill waste.
Artificial cartilage under tension as strong as natural material
Biomedical engineers have created a lab-grown tissue similar to natural cartilage by giving it a bit of a stretch. The tissue, grown under tension but without a supporting scaffold, shows similar mechanical and biochemical properties to natural cartilage.
Simulations pinpoint atomic-level defects in solar cell nanostructures
Heterogeneous nanostructured materials are widely used in various optoelectronic devices, including solar cells. However, the nano-interfaces contain structural defects that can affect performance. Calculations have helped researchers ID the root cause of the defects in two materials and provide design rules to avoid them.
Turning car plastics into foams with coconut oil
End-of-life vehicles, with their plastic, metal and rubber components, are responsible for millions of tons of waste around the world each year. Now, a team reports that the plastic components in these vehicles can be recycled with coconut oil and re-used as foams for the construction, packaging and automotive industries.
Oyster shells inspire new method to make superstrong, flexible polymers
Engineers have developed a method inspired by the nacre of oyster shells, a composite material with extraordinary mechanical properties, including great strength and resilience. By changing the crystallization speed of a polymer well-mixed with nanoparticles, the team controlled how the nanoparticles self-assemble into structures at three different length scales. This multiscale ordering makes the base material almost an order of magnitude stiffer while still retaining the desired deformability and lightweight behavior of the polymeric materials.
Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
As the summer months approach, most people turn to thoughts of sunshine, outdoor barbecues and destination trips. Yet travelers often are greeted by detours, lane closures and delays for road repairs that generally are reserved for warmer weather. Researchers have studied systems to alleviate inevitable backups and delays. Researchers found that using variable speed limits in construction zones may ease congestion, reduce crashes and make work zones safer for both workers and travelers nationally.
DIY crystal-makers get refurbished online cookbook
In response to popular demand, materials scientists have resurrected an online cookbook of crystalline structures that started when the World Wide Web was Netscape Navigator and HTML 1.0.
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which creates less carbon pollution?
A new study finds that drone deliveries emit less climate-warming carbon dioxide pollution than truck deliveries in some -- but not all -- scenarios.

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