Monday, September 10, 2007

Chemistry Phenomenons - Guano Kills The Bridge

As i have mentioned earlier, learning Chemistry is easy when you show aptitude and interest in the subject. Chemistry is happening around us everyday - all the phenomenons.

Below i would like to share with you on a Chemistry Phenomenon that i came across in TODAY papers dated 25th Aug 07.

Title: Did Pigeon Poo Weaken Fallen Minnesota Bridge?

I almost LOL when i read the title of this article. Interesting isn't it. Corny in a way. But after catching my breath and reading through - it is no corny anymore, it is based on scientific knowledge.

Inspectors searching for causes of the collapse of a Minnesota Bridge this month that killed at least 13 people have identified pigeon droppings as a possible factor. It is thought the build-up of Guano over many years could have speeded up the rusting of the steel beams in the eight-lane bridge, which collapsed into the Mississipi River on Aug 1.

Structural engineers had been aware of the problem as early as 1987, when inspectors noted a coating of Guano on the inside of some of the steel girders. Pigeon droppings contain Ammonia and Salt, which, when combined with rainwater, can lead to tiny electrochemical reactions that rust the steel.

"Over a long term, it might in fact cause structural weaknesses." Mr Neal Langerman, of the prestigous American Chemical Society (ACS) said.

The authorities can point to efforts to contain the problem, when screens were put up to prevent pigeons from nesting in some if the openings in the structure. But the build-up of Guano is thought to have continued on the other parts of the bridge.

Guano is just one of the factors that Inspectors are considering as they seek to prevent a repeat of the catastrophe in other ageing bridges in the United States.

Here is what i call CHEMISTRY - The World of Wonders!

Chemistry Made Easy


Style Doctor said...

yeah.I read this article but abit baffled by it.

The term 'electrochemical reactions',is it in our chapter of electrolysis?

Because i haven't learn about this kind of reaction yet.

bird said...

Electrochemical reactions are reactions producing electricity as a byproduct. The destruction pigeon dung brought on the Minneapolis bridge is mind boggling. Considering that the department of transportation did next to nothing (putting up pigeon netting is a lame solution, compared to advanced repellent technology avialable in the 21st century) it leave us wondering how many bridges will it take to stir proactive solutions? Check out to see some cool tech to repel these critters.