Category Archives: Research

Rail Transportation Program and Railroad Club Activities

Railway InterchangeRail Transportation Program and Railroad Club participate in Railway Interchange

Pasi Lautala, director of Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and 11 undergraduate and graduate students participated in the Railway Interchange on Sept. 17-20, 2017, in Indianapolis.

With over 8,500 participants, Railway Interchange is the largest railway conference in the US, organized by several professional associations. As part of the student activities, Team 1 of the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC), consisting of Aaron Dean (ME), Alyssa Leach (CE), Alex Christmas (CE), Derek Owen (CE) and Mario Marachini (CE) got 3rd place in the student quiz bowl. Team 2 (Kyle Dick, Andrew Erickson, Erick Flaten, Clive Pinto, Pratik Tuplondhetook) took 7th place in the bowl. Aaron Dean also had success in the undergraduate student poster competition, taking the 1st place with his poster on “Using In-Vehicle Head Orientation Sensing Data to Rapidly Evaluate Driver Visual Scanning Behavior at Rail Grade Crossings”. Dean also presented a poster- “The Evaluation of Driver Compliance Behavior at Grade Crossings based on Naturalistic Driving Study Data” by Modeste Muhire in his absence as part of the graduate poster competition, taking the 2nd place.

As part of the conference, five Michigan Tech students were also recognized for winning student scholarships by the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA). To cap a successful conference, Dr. Pasi Lautala presented “Evaluation of Driver Behavior at Highway Rail Grade Crossings” in the closing general session of the conference.

Rail Transportation Program presents at the SHRP2 Safety Symposium

Pasi Lautala, director of Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and Aaron Dean, a senior in the ME Department and an undergraduate research assistant for the RTP, participated in the Tenth SHRP 2 “Safety Data Symposium: From Analysis to Results” on Oct.6, 2017, in Washington, DC.

The Symposium included nineteen selected presentations by the researchers within and outside the US that use the SHRP 2 Naturalistic Driving Study database.

Aaron Dean presented his research on “Development & Validation of Post-Processing Methods for the SHRP2 MASK Head Pose Data”, and Lautala presented on “Using NDS data to evaluate driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossings”.

Michigan Tech was the only institution invited to make two presentations in the conference and Dean was the only undergraduate presenter.


Cold Weather Dusting from Mine Tailing Impoundments

oommen-personnelVitton seagren-personnel

Dr. Thomas Oommen, Dr. Stanley Vitton and Dr. Eric Seagren recently completed a NSF project on dusting from mine tailings impoundments.  In the project they evaluated remote sensing tools for monitoring impoundments for dusting potential, and innovative biomediated approaches for mitigating dusting.  In particular, they focused on the problem of cold weather dusting.

As part of the project output, with the help of the CinOptics Enterprise on campus, they are producing a series of videos on the problem of cold weather dusting from mine tailings impoundments, and conventional and innovative techniques for mitigating cold weather dusting.

This is the first video in the series.  It is a review of the problem of cold weather dusting.


Zhanping You and Colleagues Publish on Asphalt Binders

Zhanping You
Zhanping You

Michigan Tech researchers published a paper: “Quantification of physicochemical properties, activation energy, and temperature susceptibility of foamed asphalt binders.” The authors include two former PhD students who are currently assistant professors and two professors at Michigan Tech.

Former PhD student Mohd RosliMohd Hasan is with Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia. Xu Yang is with Australia’s Monash University, Sunway Campus in Malaysia. Michigan Tech professors are Zhanping You (CEE) and Particia A. Heiden (Chem).

This paper is based on a research project funded by the NSF.


MDARD Funding for Pasi Lautala

Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala

Pasi Lautala (CEE/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $17,500 research and development grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The project is “Log Movement in the Superior Region – Rate and Capacity Based Analysis of Modal Shares.” This is a 1.6 year project.


Researchers and students Attend ASCE Congress on Technical Advancement

ASCE CTAThe American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Congress on Technical Advancement was held in Duluth, Minnesota, September 10-13, 2017. The congress focused on the theme of “Superior Performance in a Changing Environment.”

Zhanping You (CEE) chaired the Bituminous Materials Committee (BMC) meeting (audio conference). You chaired sessions in the technical meetings and also delivered a presentation on the experience of rubber asphalt with warm mix asphalt technology.

He also reported some research work on the precut technology for asphalt pavement for cold regions in “Design and Operations of Transportation Infrastructure in Cold Regions.”

You’s PhD students Dongdong Ge and Lingyun You also presented three posters: “Evaluating Asphalt Mixture Extraction Using DSR and FTIR,” “Mechanical Analysis of Asphalt Concrete Overlay Over Old Asphalt Pavements Considering Cross-anisotropy Properties” and “The Effects of Nano Hydrated Lime Particles on Physical Properties of Water-foamed Bitumen.”

The three researchers met and exchanged ideas with attendees from government agencies, researchers and industries.

Michigan Tech Stan Vitton (CEE) and Zhen Liu (CEE) also attended the Congress.


Rail Program Organizes Inaugural Midwest Rail Conference

Midwest Rail Conference

From Aug. 15-17, 2017, the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) worked with Michigan Department of Transportation, the National University Rail Center and the Transportation Research Board Freight Rail Transportation Committee (AR040) to organize the inaugural Midwest Rail Conference.

Under RTP’s leadership the planning committee that consisted of rail industry, government agencies, and other stakeholders interested in promoting the industry brought together more than thirty speakers and over 200 participants in Kalamazoo, Michigan to focus on the conference them, Midwest Connections: Passenger and Freight Rail Look to the Future! RTP Faculty, Staff and Students led the conference coordination and logistics. Dr. Pasi Lautala functioned as Conference Co-chair, David Nelson and Amanda Kerttu were the lead coordinators and six students (Aaron Dean, Darian Reed, Sangpil Ko, Alawudin Salim, Alex Christmas and Kyle Dick) came to Kalamazoo to assist….and to enjoy the conference.

The conference opened on Tuesday morning with a golf outing with proceeds going to the conference’s student scholarship fund. Tuesday afternoon was filled with committee and organizational meetings, and the day was capped off with an evening reception at the Bell’s Brewery Backroom. Wednesday featured the technical content of the conference at the Western Michigan University Fetzer Center. The program included a dozen plenary and breakout sessions featuring industry experts in a host of passenger and freight rail topics. The keynote address was given by Joseph McHugh, VP of State Supported Services-Business Development for Amtrak. The event wrapped up with a full day of field trips featuring the MDOT/Amtrak Wolverine Higher Speed Rail Corridor, and a visit to the Little River Steam Railroad in Coldwater, Michigan.


MDEQ Funding for Pavement Preservation Project

AsphaltHui Yao (CEE/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $431,000 research and development grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Zhanping You (CEE) and Aingli Dai (CEE) are Co-PIs on the project “Tire Rubber Modified Asphalt Emulsion for Effective Pavement Preservation.” This is a 14-month project.


Muxue Zhang Presents Research Findings at IWA Interaction Conference

Muxue

Muxue Zhang, a masters student, working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented the research findings: ‘Predicting RO Removal of Toxicologically Relevant Unique Organics’ at the 11th International Water Association (IWA) Interaction conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse held in Long Beach, California on July 23-27, 2017. The research was funded by WateReuse Research Foundation. Dr. Minakata also presented the research findings: ‘Predicting the Fate of Organic Compounds Degradation in UV/H2O2 and UV/Chlorine Advanced Oxidation Processes’ from his NSF funded research project.


Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Presents at ASEEP Conference

Lathika

Lathika Varanasi is a PhD student working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She presented her research work : ‘Transformation of Dissolved Organic Matter in Engineered Ultraviolet (UV) Photolysis and UV-based Advanced Oxidation Processes’ at the Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professors (AEESP) conference held in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor between June 20th and 22nd 2017. Co-authors on the research are Erica Coscarelli, David Perram, Dr. Daisuke Minakata (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Dr. Maryam Khaksari and Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni (Department of Chemistry). The research was funded by MTU Research Excellent Fund-Research Seed Grant, MTU CEE startup fund, NSF Major Research Instrumentation and Great Lakes Research Center graduate research fund.


Award for Best Overall PIC Paper to Watkins

David Watkins
David Watkins

At the ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, June 25-28, 2017, the award for the Best Overall PIC (Professional Interest Councils) Paper, “Going is Not Knowing: Challenges in Creating Intercultural Engineers,” was presented to Michigan Tech’s David Watkins (CEE) and co-authors Kurt Paterson, James Madison University, and Chris Swan, Tufts University.

A lot of the data for the study came from surveys of students in our D80 Center programs, such as Peace Corps Master’s International, Engineers Without Borders, iDesign and other. The somewhat surprising results included recommendations for how we can provide students with more meaningful intercultural learning experiences. David Watkins

Engineers Without Borders
Michigan Tech Engineers Without Borders students help bring clean water to communities in Guatemala.

Going is Not Knowing: Challenges in Creating Intercultural Engineers

ABSTRACT

The last twenty years has witnessed a surge in the growth of community engagement programs for engineering students in the United States. Coupled to the enthusiasm of the Millennial Generation, many of these efforts have an international community development focus where engineering teams work with community members on small-scale infrastructure. One expressed motivation for such programs is the transformative experience and mindset-shift many participants report upon return from their time abroad. Industry has been quick to endorse such opportunities as necessary in creating the “global engineer”, a professional adept and effective in a dynamic interconnected work world. This paper explores these perceptions through an objective measure of intercultural awareness, the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).

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2017 ASEE Conference

124th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Where Engineering Education Takes Flight – From P-12 Through Life

June 25 – 28, 2017, Columbus, Ohio

The only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education…

We are committed to fostering the exchange of ideas, enhancing teaching methods and curriculum, and providing prime networking opportunities for engineering and technology education stakeholders such as: deans, faculty members, and industry and government representatives.

The conference features more than 400 technical sessions, with peer-reviewed papers spanning all disciplines of engineering education.

The Best Overall PIC Paper was recognized at the Tuesday Plenary session on June 27 at the Columbus Convention Center.