Category Archives: Research

Rail Transportation Program to Co-host Midwest Conference

Midwest Rail Conference 2017

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program is among the hosts of the Midwest Rail Conference in August. Co-sponsors include the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and a group of organizers.

Formerly the Michigan Rail Conference, this newly-expanded program now has a regional focus with co-organizers, like the Freight Rail Transportation Committee (AR040) of the Transportation Research Board and the National University Rail Center (NURail).

AR040 also is bringing their Summerail 2017 event, and NURail will add their annual meeting to the event. The theme of this year’s conference is “Midwest Connections: Passenger and Freight Rail Look to the Future!” #MWRailConference.

The conference gathers rail industry representatives and supporters to discuss issues and opportunities for Midwest rail activity. This year’s conference will be held from Aug. 15-17, 2017, at the Fetzer Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

There will be technical presentations, panel discussions and a networking reception. Joseph McHugh, senior vice president and chief for Amtrak Government Affairs and Corporate Communications will provide the keynote address.

The conference is open to anyone interested in the rail industry, but should be of particular interest to federal, state and local government representatives, transportation industry professionals, colleges and universities, the interested public, students and the media.

The conference organizing committee is offering students a limited number of scholarships to cover the conference registration and field trip fees. The early bird registration rate has been extended until Friday June, 30.

Detailed conference information and links for registration can be found on the conference website.

For more information regarding the conference, contact David Nelson (CEE) at dannelso@mtu.edu. To register contact alkerttu@mtu.edu.


MDOT Funding for Leo Liu Group

Zhen Liu
(Zhen) Leo Liu

Leo Liu (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $149,000 research and development contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Stan Vitton (CEE), Min Wang (Math) and Michael Billmire (MTRI) are Co-PIs on the project “Develop and Implement a Freeze Thaw Model Based on Seasonal Load Restriction Decision Support Tool.”

This is a two-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Michigan Tech Well Represented at 2017 Joint Rail Conference

Pictured: Dr. Pasi Lautala, Aaron Dean, and Soumith Oduru
Pictured: Dr. Pasi Lautala, Aaron Dean, and Soumith Oduru

The Rail Transportation Program Director, Pasi Lautala, undergraduate research assistant Aaron Dean (MEEM) and graduate research assistant Soumith Oduru (CEE) presented four papers at the conference. Oduru also received the ASME Rail Transportation Division (RTD) Graduate Student Conference Scholarship of $1100 and Dean received the ASME Rail Transportation Division (RTD) Undergraduate Student Conference Scholarship of $800.

The paper titles were “Incorporating Life Cycle Assessment in Freight Transportation Infrastructure Project Evaluation” (Oduru, Lautala), “Effectiveness of Using SHRP2 Naturalistic Driving Study Data to Analyze Driver Behavior at Highway-rail Grade Crossings” (Dean, Lautala, David Nelson (CEE)), “Selection of Representative Crossings Database for the Evaluation of Driver Behavior Over Highway-rail Grade Crossings” (Modeste Muhire, Lautala, Nelson, Dean) and “Sensor Fusion of Wayside Visible and Thermal Imagery for Rail Car Wheel and Bearing Damage Detection” (Hanieh Deilamsalehy, Timothy Havens (CEE), Lautala).


Roadsoft Tech Assist in Lower Michigan

Roadsoft

Center for Technology and Training (CTT) Software Engineers Byrel Mitchell, Andrew Rollenhagen and Mike Pionke traveled in lower Michigan providing Roadsoft on-site technical assistance at the cities of St. Louis, Vernon, Laingsburg and Kalamazoo, and the Calhoun and Kent County Road Commissions during the week of April 17.

This is the fourth year CTT has conducted the semi-annual Roadsoft Tech Assist visits, which are hands-on sessions with agency-specific topics. Besides helping Roadsoft customers, the sessions provide CTT software engineers with valuable information about client workflow and challenges. Roadsoft is a roadway asset management software suite for collecting, storing and analyzing data associated with transportation infrastructure.

Roadsoft is developed and supported by the Center for Technology and Training with principle funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation.


World Water Day Poster Award Winners

World Water Day was celebrated at Michigan Tech on March 20 – 23, 2017 with a focus on Wastewater.  As part of the festivities, students took part in a poster competition.  Here is a listing of the winners:

Christa Meingast
Meingast is a PhD student in Environmental Engineering

1st Place ($250): Christa Meingast
“High-Tech Analysis of Low-Cost, low-Tech Methods for Sustainable Class A Biosolids Production: Set up and Initial Pilot-Scale Data”

Mohammad Samady
Samady is a MS student in Civil Engineering
2nd Place ($150): Mohammad Khalid Samady
“Drought Forecast Modeling and Assessment of Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change on Lower Colorado River”
Mugdha Priyadarshini
Priyadarshini is a MS student in Environmental Engineering
3rd Place ($100): Mugdha Priyadarshini
“Factors Affecting Fish Mercury Concentration in Inland Lakes”
Coursework/Informational:1st Place ($250): Michelle Nitz, Noah Bednar, Bruce Carlstrom, Grace Kluchka
“Reducing Sewer Corrosion Through Holistic Urban Water Management”

2nd Place ($150): Michael Candler, Emily Shaw, Nicole Wehner, and Bradley Wells
“Regulations and Their Role in Human and Environmental Risk Management: Microplastics in the Great Lakes”

3rd Place ($100): Kyle Hillstead, Julianna Mickle, and Caryn Murray
“Using the Four R’s in the design of De Facto Potable Reuse Water for Enhanced Public Health”


Winter Accepted to the ASI Program

BenWinter

Benjamin Winter, a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering, has recently been selected to participate in this year’s Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) at the Los Alamos National Lab (LANL). The ASI is a 3-week program where multi-disciplinary teams of three doctoral and/or postdoctoral students work on challenging problems related to national security. Under the guidance of LANL mentors, teams develop research proposals to sell their solutions to these problems. The program culminates with team presentations on their solution concepts to a committee of LANL staff and program managers for critical review. During the program, students attend a daily technical and professional development lecture series and work on their team research topics.


Veronica Webster on the Oroville Dam Spillway

Veronica Webster
Veronica Webster

YubaNet.com quoted Veronica Webster (CEE) on the hydraulic structural problems underlying the erosion of the Oroville Dam spillway in California.

In for the Long Haul at Oroville Dam Says Water Resources Expert

February 15, 2017 – Civil engineer Veronica Webster studies long-term trends for assessing flood risk at Michigan Technological University. She says that for the Oroville Dam, the immediacy of the problem is related to longer running issues.

Many of our hydraulic structures are likely under designed. —Veronica Webster

Webster is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech and is a recent recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award to study flood frequency and risk analysis.

Read more at YubaNet.com, by Michigan Technological University.


2017 Moisseiff Award from ASCE

Daniel Dowden
Daniel Dowden

Daniel M. Dowden, Patricia Clayton, Chao-Hsien Li, Jeffrey Berman, Michael Bruneau, Laura Lowes and Keh-Chyuan Tsai have been selected by the Structural Engineering Institute to receive the 2017 Moisseiff Award “For the paper, “Full-Scale Pseudodynamic Testing of Self-Centering Steel Plate Shear Walls,” Journal of Structural Engineering, January 2016.”

The award ceremony will take place during the Structures Congress 2017 in Denver, CO, April 7, 2017.

The award recognizes important papers dealing with the broad field of structural design, including applied mechanics as well as the theoretical analysis, or constructive improvement, of engineering structures such as bridges and frames, of any structural material.

The Structural Engineering Institute is part of ASCE, the American Society of Civil Engineers.


MTTI Holds Annual General Meeting for Members

MTTI IRAD ReturnsThe Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) held its annual general membership meeting on Jan. 5. Thirty members attended the working luncheon.

An overview of 2016 with institute highlights was presented by MTTI Director Pasi Lautala. Researchers provided updates on initiatives funded with the meeting ending in an open, general discussion. Slides used in the meeting are available along with a general summary of the meeting here.

For more information on MTTI, see our website or contact Lautala at 7-3547 or Pam Hannon at 7-3065.

By Pam Hannon/MTTI.