Taking Charge of Your Health

The powerful force of an earthquake can collapse
bridges instantly, stranding, and even killing people. That is why, with funding from the National
Science Foundation, engineers at Texas A&M University are leading an NSF-funded collaborative
research effort with the University of Colorado-Boulder to investigate alternative bridge structures. Traditional bridge columns are cast as one
piece, which means that as the earth shakes, these structures crack like a stick at both
ends. The team has proposed one possible alternative:
hybrid sliding-rocking or HSR columns, which are built as a series of individual concrete
segments stacked on top of each other and held together by steel cables that allow the
columns to shift and rock without sustaining structural damage.

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