Today the Naruo Technical Research Institute of Toyo Construction was visited. The facility focuses on civil engineering using state of the art technology to perform research on hydraulic engineering, soil mechanics and construction material for the development of construction technologies. The schedule was to first give an introduction of all the employees in the room. Then the company profile was elaborated on using a short presentation. Finally, we visited two sections of the research center for Hydraulic Engineering and Soil/Ground Environment research respectively. Therefore, the excursion was particularly interesting for the Coastal Protection and Earthquake Protection groups.
Toyo Construction was established in 1929 as Hanshin Harbor Construction to reclaim and construct a large industrial port. Currently, the company has 1500 employees and is headquartered in Tokyo. `Toyo Construction`s strength lies in its unparalleled marine technologies. The company has grown to be one of Japan`s leading marine contractors, with experience in the fields of dredging, reclamation and port construction and energy-related offshore structures`. Examples of completed projects by Toyo in Japan are the Tokyo International Airport runway D, a tsunami breakwater, reinforcement of a dike section, a project for the Hokkaido Shinkansen and a railway tunnel in another section. Noteworthy is the variance in Civil Engineering projects with projects in the water, traffic and construction sectors. Furthermore, they have completed several architectural works such as a hospital and the Engineering Laboratory of Tohoko University. In recent years they have expanded their work to Asia and Africa with projects in countries such as Kenya, Vietnam and Cambodia. Abroad, Toyo has constructed several ports and currently have around 6 ongoing projects.
The Naruo laboratory was created in 1976 and moved to its current location in 1983. It houses a wave basin of 30 meter in length, 19 meter in width and 1.5 meter in height. The wave basin can create multi-directional and random waves and can simulate tsunami`s. The wave generator uses pistons, which push and retract to create waves. The waves travel to the other side of the basin and there refract of the wall to move back. On its way back, the wave can bump into other waves which can either amplify or reduce the wave height depending on the amplitudes of both waves. Two types of waves were shown to us; wind waves and tsunami waves. The difference they wanted to show is that wind generated waves barely move objects, while tsunami waves do quite drastically. The research center also contains two wave flumes of 55 by 1 by 2 meters. These are often used for erosion research of dikes and other coastal protection measures, which they also showed a test of. For the soil research the facility contains a Drum and Beam centrifuge. With these centrifuges they can simulate earthquakes and other soil related disasters such as liquefaction using models of structures and its underlying soil. Lastly, they were also performing research on how to improve the stress-strain of materials.