Bridge Scouring

Scouring is one of the most common causes of bridge failure. This process is the removal of sediment such as sand and rock from the area around bridge abutments or piers. I recently conducted research to gather data that will help to better understand this phenomenon. I ran tests using a flume, two pumps, and a 50 mm hollow plastic cylinder which served as a model pier. I adjusted the total pump speed and water level for each trial and then measured the resulting scour for evaluation. I then drafted a 3-D model of the scour hole from the data points collected when measuring and determined a batch of new trial criteria based on the number of trials that failed in the previous batch. The results I obtained from these trials will be helpful when determining the likeliness of bridge piers failing in the future. I then used what I had learned in a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) course to help determine what bridges in Worcester County Massachusetts were at risk of failing due to scouring. After finding enough useful data, I was able to identify at least eight bridges that were at risk. Conducting research was very interesting and I was able to learn a lot but getting the chance to then use that research and apply the knowledge I had gained from one of my classes helped me learn a great deal more about my research topic as well as the GIS program for my class. As I near the end of my time at RIT, I look forward to applying more of my knowledge to my future career.

~Tatianna Auguste

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High Speed Rail for Chicago and the Midwest

High speed rail is a technology that has been used around the world to allow people to commute between major cities, saving time and money over flying or driving. It has been proven to work in cities all over Europe, such as Paris to London and Madrid to Barcelona. The average travel time is just over 2 hours, allowing for people living in and around one city to commute to another to work. This works better than air travel or driving, as the added time waiting in security, along with the added cost makes air travel not nearly as convenient as rail. Driving might be cheaper than rail, but unfortunately it is not possible to work while driving.

So what does high speed rail mean for the Midwest?

It means that someone could live in Detroit and commute to Chicago, or use Chicago as a way to get to other major cities nearby, like Minneapolis. This could jumpstart the Midwest’s economy, possibly bringing the Midwest back into being a major production center of the United States, and potentially the world. However, there are a number of issues with bringing high speed rail to the Midwest, such as: getting the funding together would be an issue, making sure that the rail system is profitable or at least able to run without losing money, and having it run on time with more reliability than airlines.

Is this possible? Sure it is. Is it likely to happen? Not any time soon.

– Connor Butcka

http://www.urbanophile.com/2009/02/15/chicago-reconnecting-the-hinterland-part-1b-high-speed-rail/

TechComm reading surprises

I am a second year MET Student, and one of the blogs i chose to follow was rjacquez.com. I chose to follow this blog because he has been ranked within the top 25 techcomm bloggers of the year, as well as how his blog appealed to my interests. His blog stood out to me because his blog talks about new technologies and changes that are occurring within our world today. This drew my attention because i feel that by reading these blogs it allows me to gain more knowledge and information about the engineering world that i am working toward to take part in someday. When reading one of his blogs named “The New Moto x gives us a glimpse into the future of Mobile and Predictive Computing”, i found it interesting and true about why he was reading upon this information. This post talks about how most people when receiving an email, ignore all its contents if the user is not completely familiar with what the email is about. Then will most likely send it to spam without even reading anything besides the title or by skimming the email. The author then talks about how one day he received an email that he would normally send to spam but when opened saw a image about a smartphone that definitely got his attention. Which inspired him to look farther into the email reading captions that the picture was displaying and more. Then while reading he came across words and phrases that drew his attention such as “no touching necessary”. So overall his post explains how if you want a piece of technical writing to be appealing to an audience you need details and graphics that are going to grab the readers and want them to keep reading and researching about the topic that they are reading about.  Allowing more people to learn and want to read about what you as the author are trying to inform the world or a certain audience about.

Kaity Wolford