Monday, October 11, 2010

Concrete-eating microbes stop tunnel construction at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

Sunset, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

After sunset, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

This is (sort of) a response to Markus Spring who commented that he avoids reading newspapers. Well, I try to do without as well, not subscribing to any newspapers at home, and only occasionally reading through newspapers at work. The Swedish-language Finnish newspaper Hbl is perhaps the best, as it contains relatively few adds, and does have a rather good journalistic level. (You can filter out the obvious bias of promoting the teaching and use of the Swedish language in Finland.)

Also, having a "no ads" sign on the mailbox helps greatly - although recently the amount of ads included with the magazines I'm subscribing to (for example the science magazine Tiede) has increased significantly.

Well, I guess the above was quite a long route to the topic, namely concrete-eating microbes. Because of not subscribing to newspapers, this topic wasn't known to me until pointed out by colleagues. This is in fact quite a nice illustration of how complex our society has become. Quite like science fiction.

In summary, recently there was a microbe discovery at a tunnel construction site at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. This had severe consequences: "Microbe population in tunnel brings construction of new Ring Rail Line to a juddering halt". Here is a quote:

From the ground above breakdown products of propylene glycol are seeping into the tunnel. When interacting with oxygen, these products facilitate the formation of a certain microbe population in the water seeping into the tunnel and on the tunnel walls. The glycol originates from the de-icing agent used on the aircraft at Helsinki-Vantaa. [...] The water containing microbes also has to be kept out of the completed tunnel, for the acids it contains have a corrosive effect on concrete.

In short the story goes like this: 1) de-icing chemicals are used, 2) chemicals leak underground, 3) microbes like the stuff, 4) microbes produce acid, 5) water carries the stuff around, 6) acid corrodes concrete. There are also photographs of the stuff, which looks quite nasty, not something you would like to have nearby.

The color of the microbe stuff reminds of the photographs taken at sunset today. The middle photograph is #133,333 taken with the Panasonic LX3.


Anonymous said...

Kivoja kuvia! Itselläni on myös LX3 ja olen tilannut blogisi sähköpostiini ja lueskelen sitä päivittäin. Mistä oikein näet, montako kuvaa kameralla on otetty?

Juha Haataja said...

Laitoin ohjeet uuteen postaukseen, sieltä selviää.

Anonymous said...

Kiitos! Itse en ole reilussa vuodessa ottanut kuin rapiat 4000 kuvaa, mutta perässä tullaan!

Jarno said...

It was only this week I noticed that Höbla has a free eTidning on its web site. Thank you Konstsamfundet!

Juha Haataja said...

@Jarno: And thank you!