Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#65 Detention Pond Riser

Pictured here is a detention pond riser. The purpose of a riser in a detention pond is to manage the outflow of water from the pond. The rocks that surround the plastic tube help filter out large particulate matter such as sticks and leaves. The plastic tube is perforated with smaller holes that allow a managed amount of water to flow into the tube. Inside the tube, there is the beginning of a culvert that only allows water to exit once the elevation of the water level in the pond reaches a certain level. This culvert leads the water to it's next destination on it's path through the water cycle.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

#64 Concrete Culvert End Section

Pictured here is a standard flared culvert end section made out of concrete. These are connected to one or both ends of a culvert. They prevent erosion by minimizing maintenance on the surrounding land by improving the hydraulics and reducing velocity of flow. Additionally, they also look better aesthetically than a bare circular ending on a pipe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#63 Culvert under Sidewalk

Pictured here is a culvert located along a ditch and goes under a sidewalk. A culvert is a pipe that goes from an open space to another open space, in this case the ditch on both sides of the sidewalk. Culverts are used to allow water to flow where otherwise it would collect and potentially cause flooding problems.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

#62 Concrete Strip Foundation Placement

This is a photo of some strip foundations being placed. Strip foundations are a type of shallow foundation, used when the soil the foundations are placed on is able to support the the loads that are placed on it. Strip foundations are used to support either a line load, such as that from a load-bearing wall, or a series of columns positioned in a line.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#61 Course Aggregate being Stored

Description:  This may look like a simple pile of gravel, but in reality it is a key ingredient in one of the most widely used building materials in the world; concrete.  Concrete is a mixture of cement, water, and aggregate.  Aggregate is a mixture of both sand and gravel, or fine and course aggregate respectively. Aggregate composition is very controlled in terms of the size and quantity of sand and gravel particles to be used.  This gradation of aggregate particles ensures that a proper force transfer between particles and cement occurs to maintain strength of the overall concrete element in a structure.  

Special note: If you look carefully, this pile of gravel is being stored under a bridge out of the path of precipitation.  Keeping the aggregate dry allows concrete mixers to assume no water is being added to the mix because the aggregate is wet on the surface.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

#60 Fire Hydrant Delivers Water

Description:  Seen above is a fire hydrant dispelling what we all hope is there; water.  A comforting feeling seems to come when we actually see that water does in fact come out of these commonly overlooked pieces of the built environment.  Civil engineers have spent over a century constructing the infrastructure that makes fire hydrants such as this one work.   Today this work continues as civil engineers strive to update our infrastructure to ever increasing standards of excellence.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#59 Temporary Coffer Dam for Construction

Description:  Featured in this photo is a temporary coffer dam made of sheet piles.  This dam is used to keep the water from the Rouge River, the water on the far side of the dam, from flowing into the canal on the near side.  Although it is difficult to tell, the water levels are actually quite different on each side of the coffer dam.  By holding back the water from the Rouge River, construction crews can perform work on the banks of the canal in a dry environment instead of working beneath the surface of the water.

Friday, May 6, 2011

#58 Multi-Use Tower: Electric Power and Cell Phone

Description:  Seen here is a perfect example of a double use structure; a high voltage electricity power transmission line and cell phone tower.  Structures of this nature are good because they allow engineers to accomplish two tasks with only one structure.  This is just one minor example of how society needs to be more efficient in designing structures of the future.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#57 Equipment: Material Handler - Magcrane

Description:  Seen above is a material handler at a scrap metal yard.  This material handler is in a special category of handlers that are called magcranes.  This is due to the fact that it uses a magnet to lift up the metal.  The magnet is the round brown colored disk hanging from the red boom.  The operator has the ability to turn the magnet on and off, and thus pick up and drop off ferromagnetic metal loads.

Monday, May 2, 2011

#56 Landslide Cleanup In Appalachia

Description: Pictured above is a landslide.  Landslides occur when the stability of a slope changes from a stable to an unstable condition. Some natural causes for a landslide are groundwater pressure acting to destabilize the slope, earthquakes, or weakening of a slope from saturation with water.  The water source originates from snow or glacier melt or heavy rains. Human activities can also form landslides from vibrations induced by machinery or traffic, blasting, or other construction activities.  Seen here is an excavator breaking the rock up so it can be removed.