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(CNN)   Huge inflatable plugs being developed to protect subway tunnels from flooding, give your mom new contraceptive options   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, West Virginia University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, floods  
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4512 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Nov 2012 at 10:13 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-11-02 11:43:07 AM  
Those should stop the flow, period.
2012-11-02 11:47:05 AM  

dittybopper: Thisbymaster: How do the plugs deal with non circular openings, like subway stations.

By expanding.

Put a balloon in a square opening, and inflate it. See what happens.

The article says it expands/contracts to within 1% of its manufactured size. So they'd have to manufacture each and every plug to be contour specific to it's deployed location. Talk about a design flaw. Also: you could put a 30 cent bullet it in and render it completely useless.
2012-11-02 11:48:11 AM  

Nightsweat: You will need hundreds and hundreds of plugs. Think of all the vents and access tunnels and escape hatches along the way. There are hundreds of openings. You could possibly put airbag like things in place at all of these, but its going to take a perfectly accurate survey of the system to start, including all the abandoned tunnels that connect to the main system.

I dunno... this storm surge, and any storm surge made worse by high tide (meaning most of them), only lasted an hour or two. If you seal all the big openings, and most of the medium ones, what gets in thru the remaining little and forgotten ones is going to be significantly less, and significantly quicker to pump back out. Possibly the difference between a foot of water on the tracks, and six or ten feet of water that shorts out all the signalling and switching cabinets.

Tide gauge at The Battery in NYC during landfall of Sandy:
2012-11-02 11:51:38 AM  
I guess the saying that necessity is the mother of invention continues to hold true....or maybe I've just been playing too much X-Com. Anyhow, these events will begin to become more frequent in the future, so their use, even if delayed, will become apparent.

I don't want to think about all the electric wiring that will need to be replaced after having a seawater bath for a few days. If NYC can get their subway up before Thanksgiving, it'll be a miracle.

/stranger things have happened though
2012-11-02 11:53:55 AM  
No PLUG tag, Subby?
2012-11-02 11:56:18 AM  

nickerj1: you could put a 30 cent bullet it in and render it completely useless.

I have no idea why you think this matters. Are the hurricanes armed now?
2012-11-02 12:03:11 PM  

Joce678: busy chillin': Wicked Chinchilla: Holding back pressurized water is one thing. I wonder if it will stop storm surge which is lots of water, moving quickly, filled with lots of junk.

Cool idea though, but I would want to see test data first before major investment...

Really? You don't want them to spend millions of dollars producing these things to find out they don't work later? Revolutionary thinking.

/sorry, had to

Why not? How would that be different from any other government project?

oooh, that's some edgy sh*t. The US Government sucks at things.

/I'm in a mood today
2012-11-02 12:03:34 PM  

Matt Foley: If you somehow block the water from draining to the tubes, where does it go topside?

Kind of like sugar farmers in Hawaii importing mongooses (hunt during the day) to take care of the rat problem (hunt during the night) they probably haven't thought that part through yet. Better get another 5 year government contract.
2012-11-02 12:39:49 PM  
TFA: ""It's a little frustrating really that we weren't at a better stage at this thing.""

We'll all be lucky if they're actually done testing/revising/manufacturing and shipping enough of these to make a difference the *next time* a storm like this rolls through.
Odds are we'll have another in the next few years. Even if this thing works out there'll only likely be a handful ready by then.
2012-11-02 12:47:02 PM  
Matt Foley: "If you somehow block the water from draining to the tubes, where does it go topside?"

Everywhere else? And, for the most part, back to the ocean. Storm surge doesn't linger if it doesn't find low ground.
Sure, whatever -doesn't- go to the tunnels, would by definition stay topside and contribute to the energy/depth of the surge (compared to what you'd see if the surge wasn't getting diverted by tunnels). But the effect would be trivial considering the massive area of the surface vs tunnels. And what stays topside flows back out by itself. Which is key in getting things running again.
2012-11-02 01:16:23 PM  
Well they didn't have it ready in time for this storm, which was planned years in advance. I mean really, these developers had access to all the data needed down at the planetary severe weather office, and they STILL totally dropped the ball on being ready in time.

The project is clearly run by incompetents, the idea has absolutely no merit, and we should just let tunnels flood. It's not as if there is any electrical equipment in a subway tunnel. It's a hole in the ground, and all holes in the ground are completely impervious to water erosion. They simply cannot be damaged by a few raindrops. fark, I've got a sump pump in my basement that could have those tunnels cleared in 10 minutes. It moves like, a gallon a minute. With a mere 40,000,000 gallons in the tunnels, it will have them drained in 76 years. That's just a smidge more then a jiffy!
2012-11-02 01:19:26 PM  
Oh, I'm sorry. its not 40 million, it's 400 million gallons of water in those tunnels. My mistake.

It's gonna take 760 years to drain them at a gallon a minute.

Better bring 2 of those sump pumps so it's done in just 380 years.
2012-11-02 01:58:54 PM  
This is a porn trailer

2012-11-02 02:09:49 PM  
A+B Foam and a farking weather balloon... we've had em for fifty farking years.

Just because the authority didn't use em doesn't mean they don't exist.
2012-11-02 02:21:18 PM  
[reads TFA]

Also... classic example of a good idea wandering in the la-la land of the military/industrial/homeland-security complex, aka Beltway Bandit Welfare. Where good ideas go to bloat into aimless, pork-infested caricatures of themselves.

I expect that a decent civil-engineering contractor could've had these plugs built and tested in a 18 months or so. As someone pointed out upthread, they dam whole rivers this way, on a seasonal basis, so there aren't any Nobel-level breakthroughs needed here... just decent, solid engineering.
2012-11-02 02:39:32 PM  
I don't know why the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't just raise Manhattan a few meters.
2012-11-02 03:47:36 PM
2012-11-03 04:25:14 AM  

ottosmom: I thought that said pugs...

/I LOL'd

Hah, you too? 

wildcardjack: [Inflatable pug has deflated]

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