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Civil Engineering

SPECIAL STORY: Earthquake-proofing the world’s highest railway bridge

In early August 2004, the Indian Railways embarked on one of its most ambitious projects. The project, declared a national project, was the construction of a new railway line from the town of Udhampur to Baramulla district in Jammu, India. The project involves constructing a number of tunnels and bridges, culminating in the construction of a new steel arch bridge over the deep gorge of the river Chenab. Once completed, the Chenab Bridge, at a height of 360m above the river bed, would be the world’s highest railway bridge, a title currently held by the Biepanjiang Bridge in Guizhou province of China.

BMTC Network Optimizations Could Save Crores

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) can save a whopping Rs. 2.7 crores per annum in just one of its divisions by simply reducing “dead kilometers” in its routes, a new study has claimed. This study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Department of Civil Engineering at IISc, under the leadership of Prof. T G Sitharam. The team collected data on the daily schedules of Air Conditioned (A/C) buses operated by BMTC, their respective trip sheets, routes, information about depots and operating costs with an objective to minimize the total non-revenue generating distance traveled by all these buses of BMTC.

Building in Potential Seismic Zones

Earthquakes have long been one of the most devastating natural calamities to property and life. On closer inspection, however, we see that it’s not the quake itself that causes the damage, but the falling structures and debris and the landslides and tsunamis triggered by the shaking that pose a threat. It is imperative to build structures that can withstand these vibrations of the earth, especially in areas prone to earthquakes, called “potential seismic zones”.

How much water does the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin store?

The Ganges-Brahmaputra basin covers a large area, extending over India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Bangladesh. The basin houses rivers, floodplains, lakes, wetlands and the largest delta in world, all of which contribute significantly to the regional climate; groundwater, surface water and rainfall form an interconnected cycle and are constantly affecting each other. This study was aimed at understanding the relationship between these elements by quantifying water storage at different levels, and variations across years.

Can the water drainage system of North Bangalore withstand flooding?

The water drainage system in North Bangalore – roughly the area between IISc and Kodigehalli – may become “unreliable”, with rainwater runoffs exceeding the capacity of the water drainage network, finds a recent study from IISc. This can obviously cause urban flooding, among other problems.
The study further shows that there is a chance of flooding if the probability of storm event exceeds the estimated limit of 50% (or lower) in any year.

A permeable reactive barrier to remove harmful nitrates from pit toilet leachate

While the Indian government is promoting the No toilet, No bride campaign, especially in rural areas, little attention is given to the design and construction of pit latrines. Many studies have shown evidences of nitrate contamination into groundwater through infiltration of pit toilet leachate; not many, however, have worked on effective solutions. In this context, a study from the Department of Civil Engineering and Centre for Sustainable Technologies at IISc proposes using a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) containing Bentonite-Enhanced Sand (BES) for removing nitrates in pit toilet leachate.

Brain-inspired technique to manage water resources better

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science applied three different statistical techniques to forecast streamflow for short lead times. Out of them the technique called 'Field Forward Neural Network' (FFNN) gave the best forecasts. The researchers presented their findings at the International Conference on Water Resources, Coastal and Ocean Engineering (ICWRCOE).

Scientists build system to avoid leakages in water distribution system

Researchers from IISc have made a prototype of a monitoring system that can help identify water losses and raise alarms.
A lot of resources and money is spent in purifying and cleaning naturally available water to make it potable. Loss of purified water is a waste of these resources and a financial loss to the water distribution authorities. In addition, leakage points tend to deteriorate the pipelines and also pose a risk of exposing water to bacteria and other impurities. Thus it is extremely important to identify water losses so that corrective action can be taken. “It has been observed that a large amount of water loss happens close to the source of purified water, even before the distribution network” says study author Vignesh Kudva.