Engineering
Top stories summarized by our editors
4/25/2017

A US Geological Survey study shows that the seafloor around dying coral reefs is losing sand and subsiding, posing a risk to coastal communities that experience storm waves. The study, which examined reefs in Hawaii, the Florida Keys and the US Virgin Islands, states that coral reefs create sand naturally but that as they decline as a result of changing weather patterns and human-induced damage, erosion occurs on the ocean's bottom.

More Summaries:
Virgin Islands, Florida Keys
4/25/2017

Images of a storm-generated surge in waters on California's San Lorenzo River captured by a drone inspired the Santa Cruz Public Works Department to seek more imagery now that the waters have subsided. Officials hope before-and-after comparisons will help them fine-tune their predictions of sedimentation and accretion and erosion over a half-century.

More Summaries:
San Lorenzo River
4/25/2017

Baltimore County and the state of Maryland will be jointly funding a $4.5 million dredging of runoff sediment from the Bird River. Upstream mining, farming and development have clogged the river over the years, and the dredging is expected to remove 50,000 cubic yards of sediment.

Full Story:
The Baltimore Sun
More Summaries:
Bird River, Maryland
4/25/2017

The city of Evansville, Ind., has earned federal approval to pursue a lower-cost solution to stormwater overflow that includes constructed wetlands. The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed idea was a $1 billion deep tunnel; the city's answer should cost about half that much.

4/25/2017

Public comments sought by Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority have added significantly to the state's plans, which were officially approved last week. Meanwhile, Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the coastline.

4/25/2017

Acknowledging the vital role that wetlands play as a buffer against variable rainfalls and drought, Kenya's government has launched the country's first policy to manage wetlands. Charities are helping to fund the program, which also encourages farmers to pursue less water-intensive alternatives, such as beekeeping and eco-tourism.

Full Story:
Reuters
More Summaries:
Kenya
4/25/2017

MIT's MakerWorkshop is generously equipped with four kinds of 3D printers, a precision lathe, water-jet cutter, laser cutters and a CNC mill, as well as all variety of tools, making it the ideal spot for a vast array of student projects and brainstorming sessions. The objective is to encourage the spontaneous growth of maker communities on campus, part of a wider program that includes the multiyear Project Manus and a new course, Intro to Making, as well as plans for an even grander maker space.

More Summaries:
MIT
4/25/2017

Complex polymers infused with ionic liquids hold the potential to create robots that can heal themselves, according to researcher Bryan Wong at the University of California at Riverside. A cut in the polymer initiates a strong interaction with the ionic liquid that leads to a mend, although the process does leave a scar.

Full Story:
ASME.org
4/24/2017

The rare-earth metals neodymium and dysprosium are costly and sometimes hard to get but necessary for the very light magnets that are part of the motors for electric vehicles. Common ferrite magnets developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory may take their place, thanks to machining and other engineering tricks that keep these much heavier magnets secure against the fierce centrifugal force of the rotor.

Full Story:
ASME.org
4/21/2017

The $4.2 billion Rover natural gas pipeline under construction in Ohio has received a notice of two violations from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for dumping 2 million gallons of drilling mud into local wetlands. Energy Transfer Partners halted construction at one of the sites to clean up the mess and construct barriers to keep the mud from entering public water systems.