Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Nanotech and Wireless Guard Against Earthquakes

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the whole-lotta-shakin dept.

Wireless Networking 45

Roland Piquepaille writes "Two separate efforts using technology to protect people from earthquakes have recently been in the news. At the University of Leeds, UK, researchers will use nanotechnology and RFID tags to build a 'self-healing' house in Greece. The house's walls will contain nanoparticles that turn into a liquid when squeezed under pressure, flow into cracks, and then harden to form a solid material. The walls will also host a network of wireless sensors and RFID tags that can alert the residents to an imminent earthquake. Meanwhile, another team at the Washington University in St. Louis is using a wireless sensor network to limit earthquake damages."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Not sure this is such a great idea (3, Interesting)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747485)

I remain skeptical of the idea of the self healing house, I think that it might work in just the opposite direction of what is intended if not very careful, kind of like if the dampers in the other article linked to gets out of sync with the waves of the quake (or maybe rather into sync) creating resonance instead of weakening the resonance.

First thing I don't like about this idea of nano-particles turning into liquid is this. Imagine a solid structure being put under pressure, as the pressure increased a tiny fraction of the material is turned into liquid, my immediate idea is that this would weaken the structure increasing the risk of a collapse. Sure it might be nice if the liquid later filled out the tiny cracks in the structure, but if the entire thing has collapsed by then, what good will it do?
The second thing I don't like is that these cracks that will be filled out in structure represent unevenness in the entire structure. I can't help but think that it would resemble using uneven bricks for a house. I can see that this could give extra strength to the building if they are used very carefully, but if you just put one uneven block into an entire building it will make it more unstable.
Maybe if the blocks are to uneven they will liquefy and turn into the right structure for creating the most possible strength, I guess it depends on how much pressure would be put on a given unevenness.
Also wouldn't this leave the building a lot more vulnerable to the next earthquake?
All this is said knowing very little about the detail of this idea, it is just my immediate thoughts being confronted with this.

The idea to have the building itself alert the inhabitants is nice, it would especially be nice if the building would warn if there had been a minor quake that is not noticeable for humans but still might be the warning that a bigger quake will soon happen.

Re:Not sure this is such a great idea (5, Insightful)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747661)

Imagine a solid structure being put under pressure, as the pressure increased a tiny fraction of the material is turned into liquid, my immediate idea is that this would weaken the structure increasing the risk of a collapse.

I was wondering about this as well. For as long as the liquid is, well, liquid, surely it wouldn't have any structural strength, so this would effectively make a building more likely to fall apart under stress. Or if the liquid solidifies quickly, what happens when a gap gets filled under temporary expansion and is then suddenly compressed? I'd put money on rubble.

In my opinion, a much more sensible idea for housing in earthquake prone areas can be found here [abc.net.au] (warning: contains video). It's designed to stay up and not crush people while an earthquake is happening. After the earthquake it can be safely demolished and rebuilt for a fraction of the cost of automagichanical fluidic nanobeads or fancy electrological shock absorber doodads.

But then low tech and simple solutions that just work are never as cool as nano electronic opto whatsits. Certainly not as profitable.

Re:Not sure this is such a great idea (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747925)

My first though was what if it's a bit slow to set? Your house collapses on you, and then the rubble solidifies making it even harder for the rescuers to dig you out.


I totally support parents comments about low-tech.

Re:Not sure this is such a great idea (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748265)

at the same time you don't have to worry about that rubble above you collapsing further, as it has solidified.

Re:Not sure this is such a great idea (2, Interesting)

chtank (83512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18749747)

Oh come on guys, wouldn't it be better to understand who it works before saying this it not going to work. WE have had self-sealing fueltanks in military aircraft since WWII which uses a similiquid to fill the hole and seal if from fuel loss. NASA is (has) developed self healing composites for the skin of aircraft and spacecraft from the nanotechnology research. From an engineering standpoint, when we have new and revolutionary ideas put forth it means someone is thinking and not simply reacting against anything new or different. One of the lessons learned in life is that nothing remains the same, change is the constant. This has been put up before, but for those who want to think a little, here it is again: http://www.nano.gov/ [nano.gov] .

Ancient mortars are already self-healing (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747963)

Many old mortars such as lime absorb CO2 and get harder with time. If lime mortar cracks while young, it will absorb CO2 and fill up those cracks.

Sorry Miss (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18748165)

your husband is stuck in the gone-to-liquid-back-to-solid walls of your house. But we'll get him out when we get an aftershock

Re:Not sure this is such a great idea (3, Interesting)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748263)

Imagine a solid structure being put under pressure, as the pressure increased a tiny fraction of the material is turned into liquid, my immediate idea is that this would weaken the structure increasing the risk of a collapse.

I'm not sure. If nothing can liquify, then the high pressure will make everything crumble. A pile of sand, so to speak, doesn't have much structural integrity. Conversely, if part of the pressurised solids convert to liquid and thereby keep the rest of the solid material whole, I would think overall integrity would be stronger since the pressure which caused the liquifying in the first place also keeps everything pressed together. And once the pressure stops the liquids solidify again, thereby reinforcing the building's own structural integrity again in the absence of external pressure.

Re:Not sure this is such a great idea (1)

Chris whatever (980992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18749187)

the good part would be that we would all live in a SMURF like home afterwards

Roland (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18747517)

Don't forget to tag "boycottroland" as usual.

boycottroland (-1, Offtopic)

nbritton (823086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747675)

Don't forget to tag "boycottroland" as usual.
WTF?

Re:boycottroland (1, Interesting)

Punch-Drunk Slob (973904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747785)

WTF? A post containing only the word "WTF" is modded interesting? Can anyone mod this interesting as well? Help free me from bad karma.

Boycott trolls and? (1, Offtopic)

nbritton (823086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748205)

WTF... as in wtf is the boycottroland tag?

Re:Boycott trolls and? (1)

Punch-Drunk Slob (973904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748709)

thanks for the clarification. if only i had points to mod you up...

Re:Boycott trolls and? (2, Informative)

asninn (1071320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748775)

This refers to the story's submitter, Roland Piquepaille, who has, shall we say, a bit of a reputation on Slashdot. (And not a good one, either, just in case there's any doubt...)

Automated post: FA void of anything new or useful (2, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747521)

This is an automated comment generated by a grease monkey script. If you agree that this is posted by a blog whore, or if you do not want to read any future articles with no useful or new content, you can gray out all Roland Piquepaille articles with this script:

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/5735/ [userscripts.org] [userscripts.org]

Enjoy!

The part that automatically posts this information is not included.

The perfect position title... (2, Funny)

breadboy21 (856238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747561)

"Shirley J. Dyke, Ph.D., the Edward C. Dicke Professor of Civil Engineering and director of the Washington University Structural Control and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory" http://news-info.wustl.edu/tips/page/normal/8961.h tml [wustl.edu]

So, after an earthquake in Greece... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18747557)

People will have houses of strange bulging shapes with upper floor overhangs which are now glued into position and cannot be altered?

I welcome our new earthquake reigion overlords dwelling in surreal melting houses!

or:

1) build house
2) have earthquake
3) charge people $1.50 to view strange 'Leaning House of Athens'
4) ??
5) Profit!

Re:So, after an earthquake in Greece... (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748161)

People will have houses of strange bulging shapes
I'm Antoni Gaudi [greatbuildings.com] , you insensitive clod!!!!

Re:So, after an earthquake in Greece... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18748307)

So?

The idea of freezing a house in a weird shape has already been done before?

This is SlashDot. We expect to publish dupes every two years anyway.

Who is this guy.... (0, Troll)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747585)

that turn into a liquid when squeezed under pressure, flow into cracks, and then harden to form a solid material.


OK this place is really going down hill? Whatever is happening to good taste and decorum these days?

This sounds like some badly written erotic literature.

Sigh... (4, Informative)

cy_a253 (713262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747591)

This is not "nanotech" just because you have nanoparticles. This is applied chemistry and materials science.

Try holding-up a piece of aluminum foil to a lighter flame. The black residue created contains good amounts of C60 buckyballs and other broken bits of nanotubes. These things have always been around. Nanotech means ATOMIC CONTROL, not just nanoparticles. Like this:

http://www.nanoengineer-1.com/mambo/index.php?opti on=com_content&task=view&id=60&Itemid=57 [nanoengineer-1.com]

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18747655)

When I see that sweet webpage I can't help but imagine the sales pitch...
"We have just the software your nanotech company needs!"
"Oh, sorry... we just make a hydrophobic spray-on film, not actually build nanometer scale machines or materials."

Misleading title.... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747601)

Sheesh, " Nanotech and Wireless Guard Against Earthquakes" makes it sound like they have something that works on actual earthquakes. Technically these technologies do not guard, the attempt to limit damage done to structures during an earthquake. This is a far cry from guarding against something.

An automotive airbag does not "guard against" accidents!

We all know about how much damage an airbag deployment causes, I wonder how much actual damage these technologies can prevent. Getting everyone out alive is important, but if the remaining structure is left distorted and unrepairable, the cost will probably be more than most want to spend. Safety is one thing, going broke just in case is another.

Re:Misleading title.... (2, Informative)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750399)

Depends how quickly the material liquifies under pressure and then restabiizes... if it does it within milliseconds, migrates to the area left cracked and then hardens in place all you have to worry about is a slightly off plum wall or a wall/foundation with a little shift in it.

Comparing this to an airbag is ridiculous... maybe if you picked crumple zones? Yes crumple zones are a far more accurate comparison if you have to go to vehicle safety measures to make your point.

To answer your statement... this won't prevent initial damage but will definitely stop the cascade effect of one crack leading to another to another and will definitely help with aftershocks, where the building is damaged in the initial quake and then reduced to rubble by the aftershocks, this will seal up the destabilizing cracks so that the aftershocks won't have such an easy job to do.

fucXk a mare (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18747603)

sanctions, and Or chaIr, return

From the Terminater (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747605)

To the practical [imdb.com] ...(?)

Brute force (2, Insightful)

slashdot.org (321932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747695)

Two separate efforts using technology to protect people from earthquakes (emphasis mine)

As opposed to efforts using what, brute force?

Fair enough, this is a bit of a troll, but it just makes me wonder if certain story submitters have figured out that a title with "Nanotech" and "Wireless" is best followed up with a starting line containing "Technology" in order to maximize story acceptance rate.

Especially considering that the actual articles are remarkably low on content/references/links...

application in space? (3, Interesting)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747705)

i grew up in southern california and went through many earthquakes. paying attention to things like securing brick facades, anchoring furniture to walls, and buying adhesive pads for the bases of vases etc combined with improved building codes has nearly eradicated earthquake related deaths in that area.

my question is... could this whole gap filling technology be used to upgrade security for space vehicles..

i can't find links but read something about micro-meteorite protection systems already (i think) in place.

can anyone with better knowledge chip in here?

link (.pdf) (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747883)

not offtopic, please. this link discusses issues such as rigidization of flexible structures if the structure is compromised. relates to tfa. this isn't what i read originally, but has some details about micrometeor protection systems including some stuff about asbestos foam and gelatin resin... true, all for a vacuum environment, but plenty of stuff starts with space research before getting to the general public. link: http://www.sicsa.uh.edu/index.php?option=com_docma n&task=doc_view&gid=26 [uh.edu]

The only somewhat earthquake proof building (3, Informative)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747749)

Geodesic domes are unaffected by earthquakes and tend to ride them out with little or no damage. The downside is people still want their ranch houses. Unless you build to the environment it's doubtful science can completely protect you. You can make them more resistent but so long as asthetics come first the resistence will be limited. Ever drive around the mountains in LA? There are sedimentary rocks with lines going straight up. Large building sized rocks that are part of the San Andreas fault have bounced tens of miles. In reality nothing is earthquake proof but if you're in a geodesic dome odds are you'll have the last house standing.

Re:The only somewhat earthquake proof building (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747811)

domes are cool, but having spent a little time in one i can't recommend the experience. a lot of the discomfort was due to not having things that were designed to work in a dome environment... or maybe the place was just too small.

anyhow, i am with you 100% on building to the environment.

there has been some interesting work in 'permanent' temporary shelter and my high school actually expanded through adding some of these structures. they were spacious and showed little effect during an earthquake as they were designed to 'ride it out,' and were extremely light weight. they had to be anchored carefully to contend with the the winds in the area, but even that was not much of a problem once they put some money into it.

i believe that the main structure they purchased is still up and doing fine alll these years later.

that would be more attractive to me than the type of house tfa describes...

Re:The only somewhat earthquake proof building (1)

ady1 (873490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747855)

You can make them more resistent but so long as asthetics come first the resistence will be limited
While not exactly a Geodesic dome, the architecture used in Muslim Building has the same effect as well as aesthetically pleasing, one of which is Taj Mahal [wikipedia.org]

Re:The only somewhat earthquake proof building (1)

umbra_dweller (797279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747997)

I like the idea of building to the environment, and I actually have seen several dome houses in California and I liked the look of them, though I never thought about them from a natural disaster perspective. I think there are people out there who would give up their ranch houses for a new design, but nobody would want to be the first to do it. For the first person in a community it is

1) Wierd. No matter how nice one might be able to make a dome, it would feel strange to be the only one living in one.
2) Expensive. Standard houses made from standard parts benefit from economies of scale. The three dome houses I can remember seeing looked like they had rich occupants - someone with money to throw around on something eccentric.

Roland the Plogger discovers WWII technology (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747941)

It's Roland the Plogger again.

This sounds like a variation on self-sealing gas tanks [wikipedia.org] , which were first used widely on World War II aircraft.

It's not all that hard to make earthquake-resistant buildings. You just have to have materials and joints with tensile strength. Steel frame buildings are seldom damaged by earthquakes. Wooden buildings with metal plates reinforcing the joints hold up well. Reinforced concrete does fine if there's enough rebar in the right places and the rebar is welded together.

Re:Roland the Plogger discovers WWII technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18748329)

It's Roland the Plogger again.

This sounds like a variation on self-sealing gas tanks, which were first used widely on World War II aircraft.



Why can't slashdot develop self-healing software to delete Roland's submissions?

MP & TQFHG quote (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747961)

This new science intrigues me, explain to me again how sheep's bladders can be used to prevent earth quakes?

Distrust (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18747995)

If a house built with this manages to collapse, will the rubble glue itself together making any chance of rescue moot?

Could make for interesting DIY (2, Funny)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748035)

turn into a liquid when squeezed under pressure, flow into cracks, and then harden to form a solid material

I can see that being really helpful when you're trying to drill into the wall...

Re:Could make for interesting DIY (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18748075)

You could pack this in certain places on your body prior to incarceration to automatically prevent unwanted insertions.

I have a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18748169)

How about self-inflating bubble "life capsules"? A sort of like durable fabric made air-bags, only the people are inside them. When earthquake begins, you place it on the middle of the room (or it is always there, in some decorative shape), get inside, seal it, open the valve and it soon enough becomes a pneumatic cocoon which isolates you from hard places around you. Of course, being buried inside it under a great pile of rubble would elevate the air pressure inside the bubble, but not as much as if you were a diver in the deep water, so I guess it is survivable.

This made me think about pneumatic boats - generally they are much more durable and safe in tough situations, less tending to crack your skull in a shipwreck, won't break its hull into pieces when it hits rock... Why don't we build buildings right away with safety in mind, in such way that there is nothing to become rubble: Perhaps even whole buildings could be made as a multi-airbag (soft!) structure with airlocks, only hard parts being shape-giving external skeleton, floors and lift compartments. Of course, usage of nails to hang pictures on walls is not an option!

This technology is amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18748371)

"At the University of Leeds, UK, researchers will use nanotechnology and RFID tags to build a 'self-healing' house in Greece."

If this goes through successfully the possibilities are endless. Maybe one day you could use nanotechnology and RFID to build the self-healing houses in Egypt, or India. Then maybe one day you could even build it in Australia! Of course space is the next step, you could use nanotechnology and RFID to build the house on the moon? Saves a lot of work for the astronauts for when they arrive.

PS: Crafty British buggers

mod doWn (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18748393)

JOIN THE GNAa!! [goat.cx]

Just tie some ropes around it (1)

writerjosh (862522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18753741)

This is an ingenious and utterly simple concept that may actually work:

Scientists at Lehigh University have tested a next-generation "self-centering" system that uses gigantic steel bands to hold building columns and beams in place during an earthquake.

In allowing the beams and columns to separate, rock and twist independently of one another, the rope-like steel bands -- encased in plastic -- are meant to prevent a building frame from buckling during an earthquake. The system also uses friction plates that help dissipate the quake's energy. After the tremors subside, the steel bands pull the beams and columns back to their original positions.
source [thomasnet.com]
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?