Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Free set of rusty screwdrivers if you order now.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Please log in.
Before you can vote, you need to register. Please log in or create an account.

Floating / Sink In Place Levee Breach Sandbags

Huge plastic bags with sand in them and enough air to float until they float into place.
  [vote for,

Released upstream of the levee breach, these massive plastic bags filled with sand would have just enough air in them to float into place, at which time they'd be remotely opened to sink forming an emergency barrier.

They would naturally merge at the points with the greatest water flow, the area of the greatest breach so you wouldn't need to steer them, they'd steer themselves.

You could also just have warehouses of these placed along the levee with ramps that would drop down and let the warehouse full of these slide into the water, follow the flow towards the breach and sink into place.

These valves that would open could also have automatic settings to open whenever they cross a line where a levee used to be and send out the coordinates of where it sank to the central control unit that would control the sinking of the other units as necessary. For instance, the first bag into the breach would sense that it's on the inside wall of the levee and sink. It would send the message where it is so subsequent bags would sink at appropriate positions to block the flow.

Because these bags are pliant but waterproof, they would squeeze together forming a very robust wall against the flow of water.

ADDENDUM: Have long sausage shaped versions you tow into place and sink. They'd still float into place but but one could be 100 feet long and stored offshore alongside docks. This might be an easier way to implement this idea.

ADDENDUM 2: Perhaps a cable placed across the breach could have elements such as sharp hooks that catch the balloons and rip them open as they floated into place.

doctorremulac3, Feb 05 2022

The way we fix levee breaks. Sandbags. https://youtu.be/WSDaEgkRwhM
[doctorremulac3, Feb 05 2022]

By the way, inspired by this. Fixing_20breached_2...ees_20using_20B-52s
The great artwork caught my eye. [doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022]

(?) So just have sandbags in these exact balloons and shoot the with something when they float into place https://www.faceboo...423070968?fs=e&s=cl
Dart gun, air rifle, automatic cross bow etc. [doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2022]

Would look very much like this. https://www.stormh2.../parting-the-waters
These are for erosion control but the levee breach system would look similar after floating into place. [doctorremulac3, Dec 19 2022]

Looks like this only ready to drop in place and sink weighted by sand, not water. https://www.erdc.us...-ubiquitous-gasket/
As described, they find their placement by the flow of water, not being directed by hand. [doctorremulac3, Dec 19 2022]

Could have them self inflate too, not sure how much more they’d cost though. https://youtu.be/nM8P6TtcrFY
Drop these like bombs from a plane outside the breach, they inflate, float in and pop in the places with the fastest moving water. [doctorremulac3, Dec 19 2022]


       Same as my idea only with water instead of sand.   

       Mine could be left in place and essentially deploy automatically when a breach is detected.   

       So within minutes my system blocks the breach. By the time PLUG is in place the city’s already flooded. It should be called the “Floating Lousy Overblown Overall Dumb” system.   

       Plus, my sand stays in place because it’s heavier than water. It could even serve as a base for the permanent repair.   

       I’m also a bit concerned that you’re in the breach repair business and you just said waterproof sandbags won’t work. (link) Might want to take the "a" and "bit" out of that one sentence.
doctorremulac3, Feb 05 2022

       The current way to get sandbags in place is ridiculously labor intensive coming as they do from the land side. Backhoes slogging through flooded, muddy, soft terrain to fill very small bags one at a time. Mine are pre filled and due to their floating, can be absolutely massive and simple floated into place being very easy to manipulate and once lined up as desired opened up and sunk.   

       And the force pushing then into the exact position needed is the flow of the water itself. Opening the air valves at the correct moment is the only input needed.   

       They can even be refilled with air at a later date if necessary and re-positioned, even by a small boat with a one man crew. Try that with regular sandbags.
doctorremulac3, Feb 05 2022

       This seems worth a serious study. Wonder what a1's concerns are.
RayfordSteele, Feb 06 2022

       If you have "Thing 2" permanently placed next to "Thing 1" in case "Thing 1" fails, why not just use "Thing 2" all the time, & dispense with "Thing 1"?
Maybe something like the Thames Flood Barrier, but passively actuated by the floodwater.
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 06 2022

       //A sandbag dropped "upstream" won't to be carried by the current to where it's needed. It'll sink where you drop it.//   

       So what you're saying is you didn't even read the idea. At least you didn't mark it [MFD] "let's all".   

       I'll try to see if I can simplify it, but not sure if that's possible, I made it pretty clear.   

       Look at the airbags in the PLUG picture. These are the exact same things except the lower 3rd has sand in them. They're floating sandbags that float into place following the flow of water that become simply sandbags when you let the air out.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       //I did, and note that you changed the idea and the title and the overall method several times while I was drafting my first reply.//   

       No, I changed the title, and put in an addendum about another possible shape. You make it look like you caught me doing something wrong which is really bizarre.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       You keep asking questions that show that you have some kind of mental block against reading this. You could stage them in warehouses that opened up and rolled them into the water or have them already floating waiting to be put into place.   

       I clearly specified both of those. You have no idea if this is a good or bad idea, you just decided you'd sound smart saying it was a bad idea, now you're looking foolish asking questions that were all clearly laid out in this.   

       //do you keep them in a warehouse or drydock until needed?// That question shows that you clearly didn't read these two parts of my post:
1-You could also just have warehouses of these placed along the levee with ramps that would drop down and let the warehouse full of these slide into the water, follow the flow towards the breach and sink into place.
2-Have long sausage shaped versions you tow into place and sink. They'd still float into place but but one could be 100 feet long and stored offshore alongside docks. This might be an easier way to implement this idea.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Okay, moving on. You didn't read the idea, now maybe you have. Or if you did you just didn't understand it. Either way we're moving on.   

       I'd also add (if it's okay to modify ideas as you think of them) these could be kept offshore sunk on the bottom of the ocean and inflated from compressed air tanks when needed. That or with boats pumping air to them. That does defeat the benefit of having them ready to put into place.   

       I do think I'm going to follow through with this and contact some emergency agencies after putting a test video of the concept together perhaps. Inventing stuff and bringing it to market is something I've got experience doing. This might actually save not just lives, entire cities.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Hmm. Maybe you could just hit these with machine guns as they float into place. No complicated valves, just watch till they get where you want them and open up with anything that would pop these things.   

       Or instead of valves, one big slot that opens up on the top so it sinks instantly giving you good control of where you want it to be placed.   

       This would be really easy to make a scale model of. Just use balloons with sand in them, build a dam out of sand with these floating on the upstream side, knock a hole in the sand and as the balloons float into the breach pop them so they sink and block the flow. As the breach flow shape changes, the direction of the floating sandbags would change with it going to where they're needed.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       I would make absolutely sure they didn't associate me with you in any way.   

       Okay, that was mean.   

       Thank you a1.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       An aspect of this that I really like is the fact that after the rubber floatation "balloon" has served its purpose of floating the sandbag into place, it continues to be an important element by keeping the sand from being washed away by the water flow. The next unit that sinks on top of it will, because of the rubber being pliant, form fit to the layer below it and create a waterproof seal, rubber against rubber.   

       That's why I think these could simply be left in place after some minor leaks were patched and the whole emergency berm is covered with dirt, paving etc after the storm has passed.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Okay, thank you a1, that'll be all.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Wonder how it would behave if you opened up the ends. The center would sink first and the rest of the unit would sort of "drape" into place. Just having the ends pop off would be easier too.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       I can see some kind of concoction which floats down on the surface until you spray it from above and it sinks. Roman concrete was waterproof, but that's simply a pedantic aside. Maybe some process used to solidify (and sink?) oil spills?
4and20, Feb 06 2022

       Well this is just a simple mechanical solution. Bags of sand with enough air that they float into the proper position that you pop when in place. And sandbags are what's used anyway to block a breach, this is just a much more efficient way to put them in place.   

       I've got 12 months to patent this since it's now published, I'll do a provisional patent while I try to make a bathtub model to see how well this works. Or if it works at all.   

       Actually this would be something I can do at the beach. Talk about a fun day at the beach.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       I think I like the idea of a barge full of these things just mored to a pier someplace. Levee breaks, tugboat tows it into the flow, dumps these and they float into the breach, pop and sink in place by any of the mechanisms, mechanical, remote breach of the envelope, etc.   

       Although on second though, they're already floating, why would you need a barge? Just have a mess of these big long sausage shaped things under a pier. There's nothing under piers anyway, use the storage space.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Keep us posted with your experiments, [doctorremulac3]; this is interesting stuff. Careful with the balloons; you dont want them to rupture, just "open" where YOU want. Maybe reinforce them (once inflated) everywhere except your chosen weak points, or perhaps just "around" the weak points, so the break doesn't propagate.
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 06 2022

       Oh yea, pop wasn't the right word, the sand would just explode all over the place.   

       Yea, maybe just coating the whole thing with a thin layer of something might stop the propagation of the tear.   

       The final thing would be different, just want to do the test as simply as possible.   

       Wonder if I can just pre punch the holes and cover them with tape I pull off.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Trying to store them for too long I suspect will end badly in that you want them quite durable to the weather until you don't. Having them be robust and then shooting them open makes sense to me.
RayfordSteele, Feb 06 2022

       Yea, no doubt there's be some practical challenges with having these be able to be ready when they're needed.
doctorremulac3, Feb 06 2022

       Inflation system is pipe(s) inside at the bottom. Air will leak, so intermittent re-inflation will also loosen the sand.
Deflation: permanently mounted valves (ball probably); handles all linked by cable (manual pull from the shore or boat or...), or individual servos remotely triggered.
Not sure about the material. Needs to be very stretchy for the floaty part, but also very strong for the sinky part.
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 07 2022

       Would some kind of nitrogen gas release reaction make sense?
RayfordSteele, Feb 07 2022

       My prototype is going to try having the tape I’ve put over holes pulled off at the right moment. Starting with simple. Air filled, mechanical trigger mechanism etc. see if the general idea works.   

       If it gets beyond that I'll look into real world application issues and solutions.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Wonder is letting the sausage shaped ones float in perpendicular to the levee might be advantageous. Maybe even feed it in like spaghetti and zig zag it into place. Have a string of these towed behind a boat, back them into the breach zig zagging the boat and pull one activation cable along the top that sinks them one by one as they float into place.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Interesting idea. The problem I'm picturing is that if you have a bag with part air/part sand, it will float with all of the sand below the water surface, so while you can reduce the depth of the breach and reinforce the ground around it, you can't actually stop the flow. I guess when you get to the point where the bags are running aground on top of the other bags, rather than deflating them, you could just leave them inflated, creating a log-jam, but I'm guessing that while inflated they won't pack as well, so you'll still have a lot of holes. Maybe if you release some but not all of the air you could get them to seal. You could refill them with water ala PLUG, but that sounds difficult with a lot of small bags.   

       In general, I like your idea of smaller bags rather than the large sausage in addendum 1. Trying to maneuver that in place in front of a levee breach sounds dangerous, but I guess if you block most of the breach with small bags, and bring in a large sausage to seal it, it is less dangerous because the sausage will be floating too deep to go over the sandbags. I still don't picture that working too well since the bags under the surface are probably not lined up really straight.   

       Another thought: have a sandbag on top of an inflatable raft that is significantly wider than the sandbag. Then it can float into a position with a depth less than the height of the bag. Unfortunately then I don't see how you can pack them close enough.   

       Hmm, for that final row... I'm now thinking of a 6 ft diameter inflated sphere with a small sandbag (the type that one person can heave around) suspended in the middle. this sphere hits the partially repaired levee, water pressure behind it will start to roll it up and over, then BANG. The sphere is popped (by some mechanism TBD) and the bag falls in the lowest spot in the levee where the sphere was about to go over...
scad mientist, Feb 07 2022

       My suspicion is that if you have a fairly serious levee breach then the small bags are just going to get pushed through it to the other side as the water flow rate is usually pretty substantial at the breach location. Bigger might be better to encourage the logjam effect.
RayfordSteele, Feb 07 2022

       Good points guys, maybe bigger bags at first then smaller to fill the holes.   

       Or some kind of drogue shoot affair that catches the water and pulls the later bags in place.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Wonder of a lighter than water liquid that hardens rather than air might be something? Maybe three layers, sand, that liquid and air, the air being let out.   

       Perhaps a biosafe oils of various densities...   

       Eh, getting away from the simplicity here.   

       I do like the idea of a water catching scoop on the top that continues to pull the bag into place including pulling it on top of previous bags though. Be an easy thing to add to the bag design, just a little extra material. Maybe I'll generate a drawing to post.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Foam that expands in water. Put it in the bags and puncture the bags as you release them.
Voice, Feb 07 2022

       Sounds pretty light, you've got many tons of water to hold back.   

       Plus I'm trying to keep it cheap.   

       Next weekend off I'm going to the beach with balloons and sand. I'm quite sure I'll look absolutely insane trying this out.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Just did a cheapo mockup of how this might work.   

       1- First floating sandbags through the breach are deflated. Sandbag in place at bottom of breach.   

       2- Subsequent units hit previous sandbag and inflated portion is pushed by water on top of previous sandbags, basically rolling over them. Once in place they too are deflated. (so having additional devices to pull the unit over previous units, drag chutes or whatever probably not needed.   

       So once no more units will fit in, I'm hoping the flow of water will be blocked enough to make the system worth while.   

       Okay, beyond the speculation point here, just need to see if the basic concept works in reality.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       What about something like a net, with weights on the bottom and floaties on the top? Make it an early deploy somehow. Then consecutive bags get caught in it.
RayfordSteele, Feb 07 2022

       My first thought was a cable across the top of the breach that catches the balloons and the pressure of the water pushes the valves open and sinks it, that or the hooks tearing them open, but that sinks everything at the same place and I'd want the block to be wider.   

       Could move the cable I guess, but the less work the better.   

       I'm also thinking storing these in an uninflated state on a barge with an air pump would be the way to do this. Tow it to the breach and start blowing these up, tossing these over and dropping them one at a time. Slower but might be more practical than storing them inflated as most of the volume of these would be air.   

       Again, overthinking down the line of something that hasn't even passed the basic concept application test yet.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       //Couldn't just heave the sandbags overboard where you need them?//   

       How do you park your barge right next to what's basically a waterfall?   

       Yes, fire sandbags out of air cannons. Tell you what, you suggest that idea I'll suggest mine. Rather than just driving a truck full of sandbags up to the breach (as they do now) and placing them exactly where you want them, have a massive air cannon parked some distance away from the breach (for some reason) blast these sandbags that are so well renforced, by chainmail presumably, so they won't explode on impact. Then load up the firing mechanism with compressed air (if you wanted to see sandbags fly for some reason a trebuchet would be the way, not a cannon) and start blasting amazingly expensive reinforced impact resistant sandbags where they will land unpredictably making an absolute mess until the adults arrive with a working mechanism. AFTER they clean up the disaster of the ballistic sandbag debacle.   

       Other than that it's a great idea.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Dude, we're having good nature fun. Please. Chill indeed.   

       A1 do you want me to "chill"?   

       If a1 isn't having fun I'll just smile and say "thank you" to all future posts.   

       Totally your call buddy. Let me know how to proceed.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Dhunno, twenty yards maybe? But far out enough that you dn't get sucked in, that's why I'm likeing the sausage shape as one approach, just motor across the flow towing these and let it go. Going fast enough you'll traverse the temporary river without getting sucked in, but the trailing float/sandbag you release would.   

       My first idea of having a bunch of these just parked under a pier is top of my list of how this might be practicable.   

       But I'm beyond my ability to speculate on this. This needs to be tried out in the real world.   

       And thank you for your notation a1. (manly hug, friendly slap on the back)
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Hmm. Wonder if little remote control tug boats might be something. Get about 20 of them...   

doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Well, I do want to keep this simple and easier and quicker than the present method. If I start adding to many fixes to make it work it's back to the drawing board.   

       But the core principal needs to be tested in real life. Does the water flow direct the water blocking units effectively? I'd think so but thinking doesn't necessarily make it so.   

       Maybe I'll put up video for everybody to marvel or laugh at as the case may be.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       It's also changing.   

       Trying to simplify as I go along, now thinking of having the balloon portion be re-usable, attached to trailing sandbags with a breakway adjusted to drop the sandbag as the right moment, when it gets caught on the breach and the water in now pushing against the balloon that's stuck. It would have to be properly "tuned" but it would be low tech, simple and possibly less failure prone as a result.   

       Back to my sausage shaped idea, having the sandbags be long tubes, suspended by these breakaway floats coming in at an angle so catch the trailing edge and they lay over each other and fit together.   

       I'm absolutely sure that makes no sense whatsoever, maybe I'll make a drawing.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Nope. PLUG is air and water, this is a sandbag.   

       The floating part is used only to put the sandbags in place, and the placement is automatic, following as it does the flow of the water to the areas of greatest flow where the most blockage is needed at which time it deflates or detaches. The flow directing the placement is dynamic and changes as the breach profile gets progressively blocked. Bigger hole, more water flow, more sandbags to that spot.   

       Maby I forgot to mention that.   

       Let's save some time, that's the second time you showed, I'll put it nicely, some confusion about this. Are you clear on what it is now?   

       Now if you're simply trolling me, good one. Got me.
doctorremulac3, Feb 07 2022

       Just woke up with the solution, guess I dreamed it. A cable stretched across the breach with rotating knives. The float hits the knives to get cut open and as it sinks the knives rotate downwards to let the unit fall without catching in the blades. Think of those ninja throwing stars all threaded on a cable like a necklace. A very dangerous necklace.   

       They could also be connected forming a sheet like arrangement, picture a raft, that comes in and sinks in layers.
doctorremulac3, Feb 08 2022

       //rotating knives// [+]
pocmloc, Feb 08 2022

       Sushi anyone?
RayfordSteele, Feb 08 2022

       For my New Year's project I'll be experimenting with different shapes between the shown standard tube shaped and more sheet like even actively folding up to create more of a dam shape once they hit the breach. Also more string shaped, bead shaped, U shaped, V shaped etc etc. Also have one where it looks like a snake with a massive head, heaviest part sinks upstream, the tail follows the flow and sinks downstream in layers making a form fitting blockage.   

       Hard to explain, I'll post pictures.   

       I also think I solved the problem of how to pop them in place properly. Have them pop open automatically once they hit land. Just have a top piece used to keep the air in that pops off when the pressure exceeds a certain amount by the impact. That's in keeping with the main feature of these, they put themselves in place.
doctorremulac3, Dec 19 2022

       Another thought: might need anchor spikes/hooks of some sort on the bags, so they stay put (unless you're keeping them attached to the deployment cable?).
neutrinos_shadow, Dec 19 2022

       They're just sand but the deflated plastic bags they're in should stop any erosion caused by the flowing water so they should stay in place.   

       Theoretically anyway. But definitely need to try this out, I'm at the end of my speculative abilities on this one. Might make a prototype that's good for nothing but a funny Youtube video.
doctorremulac3, Dec 19 2022

       Just realized these need to be flatter and pillow shaped to have a low profile so the wind won’t catch these and possibly blow them away from the levee breach you’re targeting. Might even have more friction causing surfaces underneath to catch the water flow better. Extrusions made during the molding process of the bags for instance or just elements attached to the bottom.
doctorremulac3, Dec 20 2022


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle