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.