Image Captions and Credits
Shake tables simulate the ground motion of real earthquakes and send strong forces into model buildings and other test structures. With information from visual inspections and sensors that measure movement and strain, engineers can understand how well a particular building design or component performs. In August 2013, a retrofitted soft-story building specimen (pictured above) withstood a series of tests on an outdoor shake table at the NEES @ University of California San Diego facility.
The image above shows a section of a city's downtown following a simulated earthquake. Potential safe paths around debris are shown as multi-color ribbons, calculated from a massively interactive agent-based model of likely behavior in the hour after the event. The height of the ribbons indicates the potential speed of movement possible; color denotes the buildings from which the trips might originate. Paul Torrens of the University of Maryland constructs agent-based models like these to understand the responses of thousands of virtual people in variety of what-if scenarios. Researchers and city planners can study the various effects of building damage, the feasibility of evacuation routes, and secondary hazards as one disruption causes another.
Credit: Paul M. Torrens, University of Maryland, College Park
A new high-speed camera system developed at the University of Utah designed to provide the clearest pictures ever of freefalling snowflakes could lead to safer streets. The technology could help transportation departments more accurately diagnose precipitation types and predict road conditions
Credit: Tim Garrett and Cale Fallgatter
While errant campfires, cigarettes or lightning strikes are often blamed, specks of hot metal start many wildfires. NSF-funded engineers at the University of California, Berkeley are learning just what ingredients and conditions cause this type of fire-starting, known as spot fire ignition
Credit: Carlos Fernandez-Pello
"It's a balloon that lifts a wind turbine." That's the easiest way to describe the technology being developed by Altaeros Energies, led by Ben Glass, inventor and CEO of the young company. Altaeros combines balloon and airship technology, which have been used to lift heavy equipment and personnel for decades, to lift a wind turbine. The Altaeros BAT, or Buoyant Airborne Turbine, reaches heights of 2,000 feet to take advantage of strong, steady winds found at altitudes beyond the reach of conventional wind turbines.
Credit: Altaeros Energies
Tornadoes evolve rapidly, sometimes too quickly for conventional radar to accurately track. The Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere has created radar systems that provide weather information faster, in greater detail, and with more geographic specificity to give communities more time to prepare for tornadoes.
Self-powered sensors from Michigan State University researchers can be attached to or embedded inside bridges, pavements, vehicles, rotating parts and biomedical implants. They can autonomously sense, compute and store information, without the aid of batteries
Credit: Shantanu Chakrabartty
Wildfires can quickly consume large swaths of land. Currently, the most common methods for staying on top of them are to post people in lookout towers and to send manned aircraft. Researchers Manish Kumar of the University of Toledo and Kelly Cohen of the University of Cincinnati are designing unmanned mini-copters with special control algorithms and data processing capabilities to make surveying wildland fires both simple and safe.
Credit: Shanti Hamburg, MAE, West Virginia University
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.