Saving Bridges from Earthquakes

Over 1,000 earthquakes occur each year in and around Utah, and Ijan Dangol wanted to make that statistic less intimidating for Utah’s infrastructure. While finishing his Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Utah, Dangol focused his work on making bridge structures more earthquake resilient.

A friend and colleague from Dangol’s undergrad in Nepal recommended he come to the U to pursue his graduate degree. After arriving at the U, he chose to work on earthquake-resilient bridges with his professor, Chris Pantelides, because he liked the concept of accelerated bridge construction (ABC). ABC drastically lowers construction time by fabricating a single system, comprised of different, assembled structural elements.

Dangol proposed the new bridge design by adding a buckling restrained brace to the post-tensioned bridge bents. This brace dissipates energy, preventing earthquakes from destroying the bridge components. Dangol and his group overcame challenges to fulfill the requirements set by the UDOT and FHWA.

Structural firms, FHWA, and highway engineers will all benefit from Dangol’s work in the future. Dangol is currently in his home country of Nepal, where he hopes to implement his new bridge design as well. “I am trying to implement my thesis work in my country,” he said. “I know it will be a challenge because there are no highly sophisticated designs and equipment, but I am excited to be working toward its implementation over the next 10 years.”

More articles like this in ‘Student Innovation @ the U!’

Find this article and a lot more in the 2022 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.

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About the Author:

Julia Dominesey Julia is a graduate student at the University of Utah studying mechanical engineering. She is an active contributor to the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, research assistant, and trip leader at Outdoor Adventures. Connected with Julia on LinkedIn here.

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