Assistant Professor of Engineering, Dr. Edward Segal, Ph.D won an $8,000 grant from the Thornton Tomasetti Foundation for his project , Rapid Rope Bridge Deployment, which demonstrates the feasibility of constructing polyester-rope suspended footbridges that can be rapidly deployed during natural disasters to aid in rescue efforts.
Dr. Segal will conduct research over the course of 18 months in Hofstra’s civil engineering laboratory with the assistance of an undergraduate research assistant.
“Floods and other disasters can damage walking networks and leave individuals stranded in hazardous environments and disconnected from schools, markets, and healthcare,” Dr. Segal said. “The project’s goal is to develop a suspended polyester rope footbridge design that can be used for rescue or remain in place for a longer period while a more permanent connection is re-established.”
The synthetic-fiber rope footbridge is designed so that it is light-weight and can be constructed from only one side of a crossing since the second side is not initially accessible in disaster situations. A manually operated drone will be deployed to anchor the bridge to unconventional support structures on the other side of the crossing such as emergency support vehicles or trees.
Funding will be used to purchase materials and equipment to build a footbridge prototype.
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation funds undergraduate and graduate studies and provides financial support related to building engineering and design.