Snow and ice on roads is an expensive and dangerous problem, not only for cities, but for motorists and businesses. The cities have to pay for a fleet of trucks to dump salt and other chemicals on roads, as well as plow. Motorists get into an increased amount of traffic accidents in poor driving conditions and also have to deal with the after effects of all of that salt destroying the undercarriage of their cars. Businesses suffer legal claims from not being able to keep their sidewalks clear or increased costs from plowing and shoveling.
Because of all those costs, it’s no wonder why scientists have been working on a solution to reduce ice and snow build up on rows. Just recently, we learned about Turkish scientists who developed an additive for asphalt roads that would slowly release to the surface and melt ice. Now, it appears another group of researches want to electrify concrete in order to melt snow.
Professor Chris Tuan, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL), has been researching and developing his solution for years and is now close to a breakthrough. Tuan’s electrified concrete is currently being tested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for use on tarmacs, which, they say, could potentially greatly reduce weather related delays for airlines.
The formula for conductive concrete is pretty simple, it’s 80% standard concrete mixture and 20% metal fiber and carbon particles. Add a little electricity and you’ve got the makings for an ice and snow free surface. The big hurdle that Tuan and his creation will face is cost. Though over time it could save cities tons of money, the initial cost to tear up roadways and re-pour would be extremely cost prohibitive. Tuan’s concrete has actually been used on the 150-foot long Roca Spur Bridge for the past 14 years, since it’s completion in 2002. In total, the bridge has 52 conductive concrete slabs, which Tuan told Phys.org cost $250 in electricity over a three day storm. That $250 is several times less than what it would cost trucks to dump chemicals on the bridge.
It would certainly be interesting to see what else could be accomplished with electrified roads…could they possibly charge electric cars? We could let our imaginations wander for hours, but for right now, Tuan wants to focus on specific areas, like intersections, exit ramps, driveways, and sidewalks.
The story below from WOWT 6 News, includes an interview with Tuan.
Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean and landed in South Florida a little over a week ago, sadly killing at least 50 people in Florida and causing plenty of property damage. High winds that accompanied the storm also caused the collapse of 3 construction cranes – two in Miami and one more in Fort Lauderdale. The crane in Fort Lauderdale was recently dismantled and the action was caught on video.
Video feeds on a construction site are not only great for timelapse videos, they can potentially help stop intruders who enter your site.
As if the high winds and heavy rains weren’t enough of a safety hazard for the people of Florida, citizens who are staying in the area also need to be concerned about the dozens of tower cranes that are still erected throughout downtown.
In June, we shared that OSHA was planning to extend the deadline for crane operator certification requirements until November 10, 2018. Last week, on August 30, OSHA made that official and issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) has formally been around since 1982, when the first site was approved for the program. In short, the VPP is a partnership between OSHA, Management of the Employer, and laborers, with the intent of making jobsites safer for everyone involved. Employers seeking to participate in the VPP must first apply to the program and then undergo a “rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals” in order to be accepted.
Two construction workers in Santa Barbara, California, both in their 20’s, were injured during the installation of a CMU retaining wall when it partially collapsed on Monday.
Falls from height is one of the leading causes of death among construction workers and ladders are a major contributor to that number. According to the CDC, falls from ladders caused 64 fatalities and 11,500 injuries in the construction industry alone in 2011. There are many things ladder users can do to make their work safer, like setting it at proper angles on level ground, checking for damage, and maintaining 3 points of contact, among others. One technology company is trying to take some of the thinking out of ladder set up.
Tool box safety talks are super important, but sometimes they can be pretty dry. In order to keep people engaged and committed to jobsite safety, sometimes you have to mix it up a little bit. A construction company in New Zealand has an aspiring rapper on their team and they decided to enlist his help for a safety talk and it’s pretty entertaining. This company isn’t the first company to use rap music to send a message, as Caterpillar also released a rap about their bulldozers.
Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
Construction crews in Parma, Idaho were busy working onmulti-story onion shed, when the under construction structure collapsed, sending some that were on the roof down with it. 14 crew members were either on the structure or around it at the time of collapse, but 6 of them were transported to the hospital. First responders on the scene explained that it was lucky that only 6 were injured.