New “smart metal” technology to keep bridge operational in next big quake

A bridge that bends in an strong earthquake and not only remains standing, but remains usable is making its debut in its first real-world application as part of a new exit bridge ramp on a busy downtown Seattle highway.  “We’ve tested new materials, memory retaining metal rods and flexible concrete composites, in a number of bridge model studies in our large-scale shake table lab, it’s gratifying to see the new technology applied for the first time in an important setting in a seismically active area with heavy traffic loads,” Saiid Saiidi, civil engineering professor and researcher at the University of Nevada, Reno, said. “Using these materials substantially reduces damage and allows the bridge to remain open even after a strong earthquake.”

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