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Watch This: By Acting as a Plug, This Giant Water Balloon May Keep Subways Dry

80beatsBy Breanna DraxlerNovember 20, 2012 10:26 PM
Screen Shot 2019-12-19 at 2.39.58 PM
(Credit: Ever Barbero, West Virginia University)


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Subway flooding was responsible for millions in damage during Hurricane Sandy, but an emerging technology may be able to prevent such soggy situations in the future. This 32-by-16-foot balloon, featured in the NYTimes recently, can be filled with air or water to seal off a tunnel.

The prototype of the inflatable plug has an outer webbing of liquid-crystal polymer fiber; the inside layer uses the same fiber and is reinforced with polyurethane to create a better seal.

Researchers say the technology is still a year or two from release. The plug holds promise for preventing future flooding, but at $400,000 a pop, they would be a pretty pricey preventative measure.

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