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In the 1960s during the Cold War, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Cold Region Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) designed a device, commonly referred to as a Rodriguez well, or Rodwell, to harvest water under the ice in Greenland and Antarctica to sustain U.S. facilities by providing water for drinking, hygiene and other needs. Presently, NASA is working with CRREL to assess whether that same technology can provide water for human-inhabited research stations on Mars.
The Smart Transportation Testbed, a yearlong pilot program to plan, develop, demonstrate and employ automated vehicle (AV) technologies, is currently underway at Fort Carson, Colorado. The project, managed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), is designed to determine how AV technology can help the military reduce transportation costs, improve public safety and enable faster delivery of services.
The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center is actively following COVID-19 developments. Please review the information at the associated link for current U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and ERDC information in regards to the pandemic.
The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) COVID-19 Modeling and Analysis Team (C-MAT) developed a COVID-19 model that debuted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, May 22. The ERDC model, also referred to as the ERDC-SEIR (Susceptible Exposed Infected Recovered) model, is one of 16 models featured on the CDC’s COVID-19 model ensemble website. The inclusions of the ERDC model as part of the ensemble marks the first instance a model developed and maintained by the Department of Defense has been included in the CDC ensemble. The ERDC-SEIR model is featured alongside others from several prestigious institutions from around the world.
The Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite has made headlines for his plans to construct makeshift hospital rooms across the country as the Nation prepares for an onslaught of COVID-19 patients. Recently, Semonite called on the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg to ask for help in accomplishing that mission. Within an hour of the initial phone call, the ERDC Directorate of Public Works staff had gathered and prepared to build two hospital room prototypes, known as Containerized Medical Solutions.
From modeling the movement of how droplets travel through an aircraft to conducting virtual screenings of vaccine possibilities, the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program has a powerful weapon in the fight against COVID-19—supercomputers. The HPCMP, a DoD initiative managed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, provides supercomputing power and computational science expertise to the DoD. A major HPCMP effort under way is a study to determine how to airlift passengers with COVID-19 to treatment. Researchers are examining computational fluid dynamics of airflow and droplets to determine ways to safely airlift infected patients with minimal risk to aircrews and medical attendants.
In the forests of Fox, Alaska, carved into a frozen hillside is a unique manmade 350-meter long research tunnel. Situated on a 16-acre parcel near the confluence of Goldstream and Glenn Creeks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory’s Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility was excavated deep into a large block of discontinuous permafrost that has been going through several recent periods of expansion. The expansion project began back in 2011, taking advantage of the digging seasons when the ground is at its coldest, with an overall project goal of expanding the tunnel facility to better support ongoing and growing research and engineering needs. The most recent expansion effort, this year, has added 300-feet of new tunnel, improved 200 feet of the existing tunnel and added links between the old and new tunnel sections at several locations, to include at an interface between subsurface bedrock and overlying gravels.
The U.S. Army Engineer and Development Center’s Justin Wilkens, a research biologist with the Environmental Laboratory, checks the waypoints using the SubSeaSail’s G6 navigation software on his laptop. The unmanned surface vessel was taken to Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, for a demonstration by Wilkens and a team of ERDC-EL research biologists, including Dr. Guilherme Lotufo and Dr. Mark Ballentine. The USV gathered data indicating the presence of munitions constituents from unexploded underwater ordnance, a problem at sites around the world. Chris Todter, far left, a SubSeaSail partner, and Tom Goddard, far right, SubSeaSail Fabrication and Testing, are also visible in the photo.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must continually innovate to solve our nation’s most difficult Civil Works challenges in the most effective, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly manner possible. The latest edition of the Civil Works R&D Value to the Nation book highlights some of the most remarkable projects from engineers and scientists at the Engineer Research and Development Center, as well as across the Corps. Their relentless work is at the leading-edge of discovering, developing and delivering new and creative ways to transform the Civil Works program.


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