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Archive: 2021
  • Lock Operation Improvements

    Abstract: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) owns or operates 236 locks at 191 sites (HQUSACE 2016). Although the locks at these sites generally perform reliably, more than half of these structures have surpassed their 50-year economic design life and as such, there are increasing concerns about their continued safe, reliable operation. This work was undertaken to review lock operating equipment, maintenance practices, records pertaining to accidents and equipment failures, and lighting systems; to identify alternative improvements to equipment and equipment maintenance practices; and to analyze and compare those alternatives to determine and recommend optimal solutions. This report documents some lessons learned, primarily to share information that others might find useful. Note that the recommendations in this report should not be viewed as policy, although some might be considered by those creating policy.
  • Methodology for Remote Assessment of Pavement Distresses from Point Cloud Analysis

    Abstract: The ability to remotely assess road and airfield pavement condition is critical to dynamic basing, contingency deployment, convoy entry and sustainment, and post-attack reconnaissance. Current Army processes to evaluate surface condition are time-consuming and require Soldier presence. Recent developments in the area of photogrammetry and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) enable rapid generation of three-dimensional point cloud models of the pavement surface. Point clouds were generated from data collected on a series of asphalt, concrete, and unsurfaced pavements using ground- and aerial-based sensors. ERDC-developed algorithms automatically discretize the pavement surface into cross- and grid-based sections to identify physical surface distresses such as depressions, ruts, and cracks. Depressions can be sized from the point-to-point distances bounding each depression, and surface roughness is determined based on the point heights along a given cross section. Noted distresses are exported to a distress map file containing only the distress points and their locations for later visualization and quality control along with classification and quantification. Further research and automation into point cloud analysis is ongoing with the goal of enabling Soldiers with limited training the capability to rapidly assess pavement surface condition from a remote platform.
  • Channel Assessment Tools for Rapid Watershed Assessment

    Purpose: Existing Delta Headwaters Project (DHP) watershed stabilization studies are focused on restoration and stabilization of degraded stream systems. The original watershed studies formerly under the Demonstration Erosion Control (DEC) Project started in the mid 1980s. The watershed stabilization activities are continuing, and because of the vast number of degraded watersheds and limited amount of yearly funding, there is a need for developing a rapid watershed assessment approach to determine which watersheds to prioritize for further work. The goal of this project is to test the FluvialGeomorph (FG) toolkit to determine if the Rapid Geomorphic Assessment approach can identify channel stability trends in Campbell Creek and its main tributary. The FG toolkit (Haring et al. 2019; Haring et al. 2020) is a new rapid watershed assessment approach using high-resolution terrain data (Light Detection and Ranging [LiDAR]) to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) watershed planning. One of the principal goals of the USACE SMART (Specific Measureable Attainable Risk-Informed Timely) Planning is to leverage existing data and resources to complete studies. The FG approach uses existing LiDAR to rapidly assess either reach-specific analysis for smaller more focused studies or larger watersheds or ecosystems. The rapid assessment capability can reduce the time and cost of planning by using existing information to complete a preliminary watershed assessment and provide rapid results regarding where to focus more detailed study efforts.

    Abstract: The ERDC 2020–2030 Strategy outlines the origination of the organization, future direction, and the methods used to accomplish its research and development mission. The Strategy details the Ends (where we are going and why), the Ways (how we will get there), and the Means (the resources needed to get there) by which we will achieve the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) strategy. To realize its vision and maintain its world-class status, ERDC strives to be the go-to organization for the Warfighter and the nation to solve large complex problems in its mission space. To strengthen the outcomes from the Ends, Ways, and Means, ERDC has adopted the philosophy of the Understand- Predict-Shape (UPS) paradigm. The UPS paradigm maximizes the potential of ERDC’s current research programs and helps contemplate, develop, and define the organization’s future portfolio. UPS represents a holistic view of the operational environment: How to better Understand the Present, Predict the Future, and Shape the Outcome. The ERDC leadership team has looked toward the future and defined major strategic Science and Technology campaigns that offer challenges that ERDC can, and should, effectively address.
  • State of the practice in pavement structural design/analysis codes relevant to airfield pavement design

    Abstract: An airfield pavement structure is designed to support aircraft live loads for a specified pavement design life. Computer codes are available to assist the engineer in designing an airfield pavement structure. Pavement structural design is generally a function of five criteria: the pavement structural configuration, materials, the applied loading, ambient conditions, and how pavement failure is defined. The two typical types of pavement structures, rigid and flexible, provide load support in fundamentally different ways and develop different stress distributions at the pavement – base interface. Airfield pavement structural design is unique due to the large concentrated dynamic loads that a pavement structure endures to support aircraft movements. Aircraft live loads that accompany aircraft movements are characterized in terms of the load magnitude, load area (tire-pavement contact surface), aircraft speed, movement frequency, landing gear configuration, and wheel coverage. The typical methods used for pavement structural design can be categorized into three approaches: empirical methods, analytical (closed-form) solutions, and numerical (finite element analysis) approaches. This article examines computational approaches used for airfield pavement structural design to summarize the state-of-the-practice and to identify opportunities for future advancements. United States and non-U.S. airfield pavement structural codes are reviewed in this article considering their computational methodology and intrinsic qualities.
  • Hydraulic dike effects investigation on the Mississippi River: Natchez to Baton Rouge

    Abstract: This report documents an investigation of the hydraulic effects of dikes on water levels in the Mississippi River between Natchez, MS, and Baton Rouge, LA, conducted for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Valley Division, Vicksburg, MS. The investigation was conducted using a previously calibrated Natchez-to-Baton Rouge Adaptive Hydraulics numerical model. The objectives were to alter roughness and height variables associated with the dikes and overbanks encompassed in the numerical model and evaluate their effects on water surface elevations. This academic exercise provides an indication of the relative level of impact associated with modifications to the dikes and overbanks for this portion of the Mississippi River and does not represent future plans or recommendations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Steady flow simulations were simulated for 12 May 2011 to investigate the variation in model results during the peak of the 2011 flood on the Mississippi River.
  • Modeling the Effect of Increased Sediment Loading on Bed Elevations of the Lower Missouri River

    Purpose: This US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) National Regional Sediment Management Technical Note (RSM-TN) documents the effects of increased sediment loading to the Missouri River on bed elevations in the lower 498 miles. This was accomplished using a one-dimensional (1D) HEC-RAS 5.0.7 sediment model.
  • Investigation for Shoaling Reduction along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) at Caney Creek, Sargent, Texas

    Purpose: This US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Regional Sediment Management (RSM) initiative considered alternatives for shoaling reduction in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in the vicinity of Caney Creek near Sargent, TX (Figure 1). Additionally, new beneficial use (BU) sites were considered along degraded islands adjacent to the GIWW with a threefold objective: increase the quality and quantity of habitat, reduce dredging cost via shorter pump distance, and reduce shoaling in the GIWW through East Matagorda Bay.
  • A Framework for Modeling and Assessing System Resilience Using a Bayesian Network: A Case Study of an Interdependent Electrical Infrastructure Systems Documents

    Abstract: This research utilizes Bayesian network to address a range of possible risks to the electrical power system and its interdependent networks (EIN) and offers possible options to mitigate the consequences of a disruption. The interdependent electrical infrastructure system in Washington, D.C. is used as a case study to quantify the resilience using the Bayesian net- work. Quantification of resilience is further analyzed based on different types of analysis such as forward propagation, backward propagation, sensitivity analysis, and information theory. The general insight drawn from these analyses indicate that reliability, backup power source, and resource restoration are the prime factors contributed towards enhancing the resilience of an interdependent electrical infrastructure system.
  • The Effectiveness of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) as a Quantitative Tool for Environmental Characterization

    Abstract: Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a rapid, low-cost analytical method with potential applications for quantitative analysis of soils for heavy metal contaminants found in military ranges. The Department of Defense (DoD), Army, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have mission requirements to acquire the ability to detect and identify chemicals of concern in the field. The quantitative potential of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hand-held LIBS device and a classic laboratory bench-top LIBS system was examined by measuring heavy metals (antimony, tungsten, iron, lead, and zinc) in soils from six military ranges. To ensure the accuracy of the quantified results, we also examined the soil samples using other hand-held and bench-top analytical methods, to include Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF). The effects of soil heterogeneity on quantitative analysis were reviewed with hand-held and bench-top systems and compared multivariate and univariate calibration algorithms for heavy metal quantification. In addition, the influence of cold temperatures on signal intensity and resulting concentration were examined to further assess the viability of this technology in cold environments. Overall, the results indicate that additional work should be performed to enhance the ability of LIBS as a reliable quantitative analytical tool.