Clever black people, like the obtuse politician, shall always be among us. Over the past few weeks I contemplated the intrinsic disposition of engineers. The premise upon which Civilution is founded, assumes that all engineers are ethical, professional, innovators, are servants of the disenfranchised and are custodians of the natural environment - that we are in the redemption strategy to restore fairness, order and balance. But I'll philosophise about this next month if I am not distracted by an obtuse politician. For this rendition, however, I want to mull over transformation. Together with politics, racism and apartheid, transformation is one of those hot potatoes engineers find too hot to handle.
Renewable energy sources, other than biomass energy (the energy from plants and plant-derived materials), have not yet been exploited optimally in South Africa. Therefore the Department of Energy (DoE) has strengthened international relationships in this area via partnerships established during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002.
The Civilution Congress, hosted at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg in April, saw some 500 delegates from near and far, including many from our sister institutions in Africa, coming together in solidarity to deliberate on how to build a better future (see article on page 7 of the April edition of Civil Engineering).
Coal delivery to Eskom's Grootvlei Power Station presented an immediate collaboration opportunity for Transnet and Eskom to achieve increased freight volumes via rail, and therefore the Balfour North - Grootvlei Railway Line Reinstatement Project was initiated.
According to GIBB railway consultant, Bruce Evans, railway development in China over the past 25 years provides ample examples of what can be achieved when it comes to modern railways. Some aspects of China's railway solutions could be applicable to South Africa and are worth considering, in particular for a new Durban-Gauteng high-standard, standard-gauge railway.
The correct starting point when technology solutions are employed is a properly designed, integrated asset management system. This statement is clearly underlined by the recently published ISO standard, ISO 55000/1/2. This standard shows the importance of an asset management system that goes beyond departmental boundaries, and provides full visibility from strategic service delivery direction down to maintenance task execution.
This article follows on the article "Cry the beloved railway" that appeared in the May 2013 edition of Civil Engineering (pages 40-45), and which was Highly Commended at the 2013 PiCA Awards in the category Non-Professional Writer of the Year.
Base Resources Limited from Australia appointed WSP in 2011 to assist with the development of their Kwale Mineral Sands project in Kenya. The Kwale Mine is located some 10 km from the coast and approximately 50 km south of Mombasa. The primary products of the mine are ilmenite, rutile and zircon. Zircon is exported in containers via the Port of Mombasa, while ilmenite and rutile are exported in bulk and required a dedicated export facility.
At the end of 2011 Subtech was awarded the NEC3 contract for the provision of scour protection to all 15 of the Pier 1 and Pier 2 container terminal berths in the Port of Durban. The provision of the rock scour protection is required to withstand the propeller and bow thruster wash forces that occur during the berthing and un-berthing of ships. The existing scour protection had been eroded and the subsequent depressions in the sea bed were undermining the quay walls.
Due to the recent radical increase in container vessel sizes, ports around the world are being refurbished. The ports of Anchorage, Cape Town, Colombo, Durban, Miami, Mumbai and Rotterdam have all recently undergone, or are currently undergoing, expansion to accommodate larger container ships. Between 1914 and 1988, the largest container vessel in the world had a capacity of 5 000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units). Currently, the largest ships can carry 18 000 TEU. Ships of this capacity are 400 m long, 59 m wide and 73 m high. Such vessel sizes are manufactured to save costs on fuel, crews and multiple vessel deployments (Marcario 2013; Saltmarsh 2011).
In this short overview SAICE member Kana Mutombo, who is a port engineer with Transnet, gives us a glimpse into his interesting research towards a PhD at the World Maritime University in Sweden. In this initiative Kana is supervised by Associate Prof Dr Aykut Olcer of the same university.
Small rowing-type boats have been launched from and landed on beaches since the beginning of boating, as they are generally small enough and light enough to be manhandled into the water and then back again up the beach clear of the water.
Whilst railways had played a major role in building up South Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, they unfortunately also became a "political toy". Many politicians "got to parliament" by promising voters their own branch lines, and far too many lines were built - which even today the successor to the early rail authority is trying to make profitable. Despite this, railways played a major role in the early development of South Africa. Unfortunately the "once mighty" rail system had, by the end of the Second World War, degenerated so much in the condition of its infrastructure that a massive effort was necessary if it was to be restored to its earlier prime role in transportation in South Africa. Added to this was the problem facing railways worldwide - the dawn of the era of road traffic. Just as inland water transport (canals) had developed, reached its peak and then subsided, to be replaced by the steam engine, so too was rail approaching the end of its dominant era, and was shortly to be replaced as the prime mover of goods and people by the new invention - the road motor vehicle powered by the internal combustion engine.
I begin by posing the question, "Is concrete playing its required role in providing service to mankind?" Concrete is one of the most widely used construction materials. Its consumption has been described as second only to that of water. From ancient Roman times, with construction of monumental structures such as the Pantheon, to recent times with construction of mega-structures such as the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, concrete is undoubtedly the construction material of choice. Th ink about it - dams, bridges, residential and commercial buildings, i.e. virtually almost all forms of infrastructure that we use, are made from concrete.