Researchers design protective wall to shield bridges from terrorist attacks

June 6, 2007

Government officials have acknowledged the transportation system’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks. Bridges are among the most vulnerable. Because of this reality, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia are working with federal highway officials to develop a new technology that can protect bridges against such attacks.

Sam Kiger, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, and Hani Salim, assistant professor of civil engineering in the college, have received $85,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation to design a protective wall capable of withstanding an explosion. They are collaborating with engineers from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

The wall will shield a bridge’s crucial areas, such as its piers and towers. Ideally, it would be easy to add to existing bridges – and just as easy to remove, if warranted, Kiger said. The technology also will be incorporated into new construction.

“A blast would destroy the protective wall, but the bridge will be safe because the wall will block most of the blast’s shockwaves,” Salim said.

The research team is now examining materials to determine the combination of strength and flexibility necessary to protect bridges from a blast and resulting debris from the wall. This month, two high explosive tests will be conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and Federal Highway Administration researchers.

“To control costs, our research will focus on using concrete and steel, materials that bridge engineers are familiar with,” Kiger said. “We’re trying to figure out the most practical way to do this.”

The final results of the research will be available to transportation officials across the country.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Stunned tech sector ponders future under Trump

Related Stories

Stunned tech sector ponders future under Trump

November 27, 2016

After disbelief, anger and grief, the US tech sector is looking to come to grips with the presidency of a man described by many of its leading lights as a "disaster" for innovation.

Researchers discover key link in a deadly staph bacteria

November 15, 2012

(Phys.org)—A new study from Stanford's Department of Chemistry reveals that the cell wall structure of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium responsible for a broad range of diseases, depends on growth stage and nutrient availability.

Ancient Egyptians transported pyramid stones over wet sand

April 30, 2014

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to make it easier to transport heavy pyramid stones by sledge. The Egyptians moistened the ...

Recommended for you

Computer learns to recognize sounds by watching video

December 1, 2016

In recent years, computers have gotten remarkably good at recognizing speech and images: Think of the dictation software on most cellphones, or the algorithms that automatically identify people in photos posted to Facebook.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.