Conclusion of a joint research agreement with JAXA

 PWRI concluded a joint research agreement with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Sep. 10th, 2012, with regard to the test for transmitting disaster sensor data using the engineering test satellite type VIII Kiku No.8. According to this agreement, an ultrasmall communication terminal that is compatible with Kiku No.8 will be connected to the automatic ash fall⁄rainfall meter (patent no. 4915676) developed by the PWRI Volcano and Debris Flow Research Team, and data transmission from the field to PWRI via Kiku No.8 was tested by Feb. 2013. The automatic ash fall⁄rainfall meter collects volcanic ash in the ash collector tank, and the amounts of volcanic ash sediment and rainfall can be measured using the water level indicator and gravimeter attached to the container above. Sakurajima, which is a volcanic island that still has continuing active eruption activity, was selected as the site of the experiment, which will verify whether it is possible to communicate in the event of an ash fall without problems.

 This experiment will be conducted to verify whether data communication via satellite is valid even when normal communication networks are cut by a large-scale eruption.

 Automatic ash fall⁄rainfall meter data transmission experiment using Kiku No. 8 <Images provided by: JAXA>
(click to enlarge)

(Contact: Volcano and Debris Flow Research Team)

The 7th Japan-Korea Construction Technology Workshop was held.

 PWRI and the Korea Institute of Construction Technology (KICT) held a joint workshop on construction technology in South Korea during Oct. 16th-19th, 2012, based on a research collaboration agreement between the two research institutes. This workshop has been held since 2000, alternating in Japan and Korea; this is the seventh workshop.

 Attendees of the workshop general meeting

 Pressure pump transfer test of highly
fluid concrete for construction work of
the foundation of a cross-channel bridge
(preparation situation)

 In the workshop, a general meeting, meetings per categories, and a tour of the experimental facility were held on the first day; field surveys were conducted on the following days. In the first general meeting, opening speeches were given by Mr. Woo, the president of KICT, and Dr. Uomoto, the chief executive of PWRI; topics on the latest research were introduced by Mr. Sung, the director of the International Cooperation & Information Service Division of KICT, and Mr. Suzuki, the director of the Materials and Resources Research Group of PWRI.

 In the meetings, information was exchanged in discussions related to future research cooperation for each individual category. In this workshop, meetings were held for four of the six categories in the research cooperation agreement: concrete structures, slope management, road pavement, and water quality monitoring.

 For concrete structures, KICT has focused on researching the construction technology of highly durable concrete structures, and PWRI has focused on the inspection technology of concrete structures with low durability and not overlooking them during inspections; information was exchanged with regard to the research experiences of the two institutes’ different approaches. In the field surveys, the preparation of a 1km pressure pump transfer test of highly fluidic concrete for construction work on the foundation of a cross-channel bridge was inspected.

 For slope management, comments were made on the increase in the number of landslide disasters in recent years in Korea, the enactment of a law concerning management against slope disasters in 2009, the insufficient technical strength of local governments, etc. In the field surveys, the construction site of a national road in east Korea was visited, where roads are being widened to secure transportation networks to Pyeongchang, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The differences and problems in slope management of both countries were shared through the meetings and field surveys.

 For road pavement, both Japan and South Korea are highly interested in paving technology that reduces the environmental load. Specifically, KICT has positioned warm-mix technology as one of the two important issues of 2012 and actively deploys warm-mix technology in foreign countries. Recycling technology, which Japan has advanced and worked on for a long time, has also attracted keen interest in South Korea; and a general attitude of improving the recycling rate of the asphalt mixture was expressed. In the field surveys, construction sites for banks, bridges, and tunnels were visited. In contrast to Japan, 60% of the expressways were paved with concrete, and block pavement was often adopted for sidewalks; vertical grooves were made on the pavement surface as a countermeasure against slipping.

 For water quality monitoring, information was exchanged on the actual situation of trace chemical substances in treated wastewater and countermeasures against overflow pollution loads from sewage junction pipes. For future research plans, implementation of joint research to solve the problem of algae overgrowth in the lower reaches of rivers where the Korean 4 Major Rivers Project is being implemented will be considered. In the field surveys, the advanced water-purification center in the upstream sector of Cheonggyecheon, where the water environment has been recovered, was visited, and the river environment and actual situation of water supply in Seoul were presented in detail.

 As described above, the latest research information, considerations for future research plans, and so forth were exchanged; the workshop produced meaningful results. The next workshop will be held in Japan in the autumn of 2014.

(Contact: Geology Research Team)

We presented an exhibit at Tsukuba Science Festival 2012.

 The PWRI booth attracted many people.

 Making an arch bridge.
Everybody is working seriously.

 Will it become a concrete paperweight?

 The Tsukuba Science Festival, hosted by Tsukuba City and the Tsukuba City Board of Education, was held on Nov. 17th-18th, 2012, at Tsukuba Capio in Tsukuba City; research institutions, elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, universities, etc., gather, and children and adults can learn about and enjoy science. Sixty-six groups had exhibits at the event; along with the Tsukuba Environment-Energy-Economy Forum and Tsukuba Environmental Festival held at the same time, about 30,000 people (as announced by the host) visited the festival over a two-day period.

 PWRI only had its exhibit on the first day, but we presented panels that introduced our research, etc., and two counters where visitors could enjoy some experiences; these were also very popular at the Civil Engineering Day Open House.

 One counter was “Let’s make an arch bridge!” It involved handicraft to reproduce a bridge with an arched structure using paper. Children silently worked on their designs with the occasional help from adults. After the bridge was completed, when a PET bottle filled with water was placed on the bridge to confirm how strong the arched structure of paper blocks was, this would produce great cheers like “Amazing!” from the children and parents.

 The other counter was “Let’s make a concrete paperweight!” This involved creating a block of concrete with a size suitable for a paperweight by mixing cement, sand, and water according to the prescribed quantities, pouring the mixture into a container made from the bottom of a PET bottle, and waiting until it hardened. Besides the children, it was the first time most of the adults “made” concrete; it seemed it became an experience that made them feel more familiar with concrete, which is an essential part of ordinary life.

 There were various comments from participants after the experience such as “I’d like to make it at home,” “It was interesting. I could understand the mechanism of bridges and concrete very well,” and “I do not quite understand what civil engineering research is, but I realized it is very important research. Please work hard.”

 PWRI will actively work on activities to generate publicity so that more people will become interested in civil engineering and research, which protect our lives and lifestyles.

(Contact: Planning and Management Division , General Affairs Division)