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Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Innovation and Research Focus: Seismic Testing of FlexiArch

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 21, 2011

Masonry arch bridges are one of the oldest forms of bridge construction and have been used for thousands of years. They were

Figure 1: The key elements of the FlexiArch design

originally built of stone or brick, but modern rigid arch bridges are built of reinforced concrete or steel. The introduction of these new materials allows arch bridges to be longer than previously achieved with lower rise-to-span ratios and, with reinforced concrete as the main material, can either be cast on site or manufactured as precast. However, a common problem with such bridges is corrosion of the reinforcement, which can lead to high repair and maintenance costs. Therefore a bridge with no or low amounts of reinforcement is a significant step change and should provide bridges with improved durability and whole life performance.

The FlexiArchTM is a patented system for the rapid construction of an arch, based on modern precast concrete methods,

Figure 2: Construction of a FlexiArch Bridge

which in service performs like a conventional masonry arch. The patent holder, Professor Adrian Long FREng of Queen’s University Belfast, has worked closely with Macrete Ireland Ltd for nearly 10 years on the development of the system. Two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) between Queen’s University and Macrete have had significant input from Professor Long, Dr Su Taylor and Dr Daniel McPolin.

The method of construction (see Figure 1) utilises precast concrete voussoirs in combination with polymeric reinforcement and a concrete screed so that when lifted it takes up the prescribed arch geometry under gravity forces. Thus no centering is required and construction is very rapid. The system is very sustainable as it has no corrodible reinforcement and the flat-pack FlexiArch elements can readily be stacked during storage and for transportation to site.

In their current KTP, Macrete and the University are aiming to create FlexiArch design tools, and develop a range of complex-geometry FlexiArch systems for new bridges, and to strengthen existing bridges. However, the rest of this article discusses a collaboration with the University of California, Irvine, which is supported by a Royal Academy of Engineering Global Research Scheme Award to Dr Su Taylor at Queen’s. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Science &Technology | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The 13 Countries That Control the World’s Gold

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 31, 2011

Even if 2011 has gotten off to a rough start for gold, everyone knows that the value of gold is at historic highs.  What is interesting is that there is rarely a discussion about which countries actually have a lock on the world’s gold.  24/7 Wall St has compiled a list of the top 13 nations which hold the bulk of the world’s gold reserves and added in an outlook for 2011.

After having peaked above $1,420 per ounce at the end of 2010, gold has recently traded under $1,330 per ounce and has basically put in 3-month lows.  As part of its analysis 24/7 Wall St.  looked at the trends of the world’s top holders that may drive demand up or down ahead in 2011 after taking a look at the new data from the World Gold Council.

Many issues should be considered in gold investing including demand from the private sector for bars, coins and jewelry along with industrial use.

1) United States holds 8,133.5 tonnes. Read the rest of this entry »

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