Let’s Have a Civil Engineering Revolution

Let’s Have a Civil Engineering Revolution


It is becoming increasingly more difficult to do excellent civil engineering. The reasons vary. They include an increase in regulations that make no sense despite the efforts of great regulatory personnel; an ever increasing reliance upon federal funding with its regulations and requirements that go with that funding (with much being irrelevant to the specific project); an […]

Philosopher Plato on Water Quality

Philosopher Plato on Water Quality


Twenty four centuries ago, Plato made an interesting observation of the vulnerability of water quality to the elements: “Neither soil, sun, nor wind which, jointly with water, supply nourishment to the products of the soil, are easily tampered with by poisonous substances, diversion, or theft, but water is by nature liable to all three.” Since […]

Squeeze Pumps: A Gastrointestinal Analogy

Squeeze Pumps: A Gastrointestinal Analogy


According to the 1966 edition of Ground Water and Wells, squeeze pumps, or peristaltic pumps as they are now called, were often used in the water works industry for purposes of chemical addition. The pump operates using positive displacement to move a variety of fluids. The fluid moves within a flexible tube fitted inside a circular pump […]

Optimum Water Reservoir Capacity

Optimum Water Reservoir Capacity


The Manual of British Water Supply published in 1950 by the Institution of Water Engineers included a very informative discussion of the impacts of the number of pressure zones serving a reservoir and the stand-by capacity of pumped supply upon water reservoir capacity. Those impacts are presented in the table below:

Protected Intersections for Bicyclists

Protected Intersections for Bicyclists


Bike paths are only part of the solution to make urban travel by bicycle safer. They tend to disappear into confusion at intersections, especially in the U.S. where planning and design has predominantly been auto-oriented. The “protected intersection“, originally developed in Europe and adapted by a local Portland, OR design firm, solves this problem. While difficult to […]

Fun and Function on a Street Corner in Germany

Fun and Function on a Street Corner in Germany


European transportation planners have a somewhat different view on the extent pedestrians should interact with traffic controls. Here is a video from Germany demonstrating how a Pong game has been incorporated into the controls of a traffic light to allow people waiting for the signal on opposite sides of the street play with each other. It’s […]

The Perils of Pee

The Perils of Pee


Most engineers are interested in the survivability of their designs and take every measure to foresee potential sources of failure. Some failures, however, are difficult to predict and prevent. Urine, for example, is not something one would normally think of as having the power to destroy landscape features, but a spraying of it often enough […]

Circulation Pattern within the Impeller of a Centrifugal Pump

Circulation Pattern within the Impeller of a Centrifugal Pump


The Manual of British Water Supply Practice, published in 1950 by the Institution of Water Engineers, included this very informative graphic showing the circulation of fluid within an impeller of a centrifugal pump:

The Three Stages of Matter

The Three Stages of Matter


One of the better references regarding basic hydraulics is a book published in 1943 – Audels Pumps, Hydraulics, Air Compressors by Frank D. Graham.  Here is an interesting illustration from the book depicting the three states of matter.

Visualizing Pressure

Visualizing Pressure


One of the better references regarding basic hydraulics is a book published in 1943 – Audels Pumps, Hydraulics, Air Compressors: A Practical Treatise by Frank D. Graham. This figure from the book graphically illustrates the amount of pressure exerted if the force is distributed over a large area, versus the force concentrated onto a fraction of […]