Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Posts under the ‘Seminars’ category

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Nuts and Bolts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Nuts and Bolts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development
including all you might like to know about the technology and practice of hydraulic fracturing
Wayne D Pennington, Interim Dean, College of Engineering, Michigan Technological University
Mon Mar 24, 2014 3pm – 4pm, Dow 642

Over the past couple of decades, technology has been developed to produce oil and gas from geological formations that had been overlooked previously due to the lack of appropriate engineering techniques for those types of formations. As a result, the energy picture for the USA and for the world has been seriously modified, and the impact is being felt.
These “unconventional” deposits contain hydrocarbons in significant quantities, but they were locked up in microscopic pores that were at best poorly connected to each other, limiting or preventing flow through the rocks. Existing technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing (in use since 1948) and extended-reach horizontal wellbores were used independently, and then merged, for a highly successful, efficient, and safe method of oil and gas production.
The geologic formations, and the production techniques used in each, that are described in this presentation include: (a) “tight” gas sandstone deposits (produced through multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing in vertical wells); (b) coal deposits (methane produced by drawing down water pressure to release gas from the coal structure; also the source of many “flaming faucets” from domestic water-wells); and (c) shale deposits (generally using multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells).

Steven C. Bower: “Michigan DOT Research Program Past Successes-Future Opportunities”

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Michigan DOT Research Program
Speaker: Mr. Steven C. Bower, Engineer of Research, Michigan Department of Transportation
“Michigan DOT Research Program Past Successes-Future Opportunities”
This seminar was held on March 20, 2014. Mr. Bower reviewed some of the past research successes of the Michigan Department of Transportation as well as its research priorities for the next several years. Additionally, he outlined the process that is used to develop the State’s needs and prioritization for transportation infrastructure. He is a 1984 Civil Engineering alumni of Michigan Tech.
A social hour sponsored by the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute followed at the Great Lakes Research Center. (more…)

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Characteristics of Railway Operation and System Design

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; 4 – 5 PM, Feb 13, 2014 in Dow 642;
Mr. Ulrich Leister of SMA Partner AG, Zurich, Switzerland, presents: Characteristics of Railway Operation and System Design

Ulrich Leister obtained a Master of Science in transportation engineering from the Institute of Technology Berlin. In 2010, he wrote his master thesis on the integration of the high-speed system in California at SMA. Today he is Manager Business Development for the US market and has been project manager for our American projects since 2012.

Abstract:
The presentation will describe the characteristics of railroads, and explain the complexity resulting from the strong interdependencies between transportation, infrastructure and equipment that are unique to railroads. Planning approaches to design and operate rail systems, both on the freight and passenger side, are presented before ideas from our recent work in the United States to improve integration of both service types are discussed.

Sponsored by Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program

SMA Partner AG

Rail Talks: High Speed Rail Track Design and Passenger Rail Outlook

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program Talks:
Feb 11, 2014: Mr Phil Pasterak, PE, Parsons Brinckerhoff, presents:
1:00 PM HSR Track Design – Dillman 301J
4:00 PM Passenger Rail Outlook in the US – Dow 875

Phil Pasterak has 30 years of professional experience and currently serves as PB’s Central Regional Manager for Rail and Transit. He has extensive experience in the management, planning, and technical design of rail, transit, and other transportation facilities and infrastructure. Mr. Pasterak is recognized for his expertise in developing high speed/intercity/commuter rail corridors, including his work on the Chicago-St. Louis high speed corridor, for which he currently serves as PB’s project manager. He also served as task
manager for planning through construction of the Utah Transit Authority’s first commuter rail service, and for planning of numerous passenger rail corridors in Illinois, Ohio, New York, and Virginia (more…)

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Lake Superior Topics

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Environmental Engineering Seminar Series
GLRC 202 3:00pm

Rasika Gawde, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

“Hydrodynamics and Thermal Structure in Lake Superior Impacts of an Episodic Climate Anomaly”

In recent years, 3D hydrodynamic models have been widely applied in a predictive capacity to all the Great Lakes to study ecosystem response to long-term climate change. But, an alternative aspect of climate change, observed as intermittent climatic anomalies, has not received equal interest. An isolated, positive anomaly observed in local air temperature measurements in March 2012 presents a unique opportunity to study the latter in Lake Superior’s ecosystem. Here, a 3D hydrodynamic model, Environmental Fluids Dynamics Code (EFDC), is applied for two consecutive summers, one preceded by the spring anomaly (2012) and the second preceded by average spring air temperatures (2011), to analyze the impact of this climatic anomaly on the thermal regime of the lake. This modeling effort is supported by a rich, comprehensive dataset of surface water temperatures and vertical temperature profiles measured during the April to September period of 2011 and 2012. Impacts of the temperature anomaly were observed along temporal and spatial scales; e.g. the 6°C increase in lake-wide surface water temperatures at the start of summer 2012 as compared to 2011 as well as on the physical processes; e.g. an early onset of thermal stratification (4 weeks in advance) in 2012. These shifts in thermal regimes will in turn affect ecological processes.

Marcel Dijkstra, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

“Ecosystem function in Lake Superior: Impacts of an episodic climate anomaly”

Climate change may become manifest over differing time scales: one characterized by long term, incremental changes as recorded in historical averages and the other by short term variability, e.g. the magnitude, timing, frequency and duration of episodic, extreme events. The ecological impact of extreme weather events may be particularly severe, simply because they are extreme, but also because ecosystems have rarely been exposed to such events. Due to the inherent unpredictability of extreme events, few studies have reported on the attendant ecosystem response. Here, the effects of an episodic air-temperature anomaly that occurred in Spring 2012 are reported and compared to those of 2011, a year with essentially average temperature conditions. Impact of this extreme weather event on the lake’s thermal regime and ecological forcing conditions (e.g. light, temperature and nutrients) cascaded through the system. This resulted in elevated annual primary production with a distinctive temporal distribution characterized by high productivity in early summer followed by a collapse in September (brought on by nutrient depletion resulting from extended thermal stratification). The benefits of increased annual primary production to the higher food web may be offset by cataclysmic drops in production.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Speaker: Professor Andrew Swartz, Civil & Environmental Engineering; Topic: “Bioinspired Magnetostrictive Whisker Sensors for Autonomous Bridge Scour Sensing”. This was inspired by the way some marine mammals detect water flow over their bodies.
Thursday, January 23, 2014; 4PM – 5PM; Dow 642

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar:
Jan. 27, 3-4 pm in Fisher 139; “A Virtual Winter Vacation: Modeling Ecosystem Services and Water Management in South Florida”; Ali Mirchi, Post-doctoral Research Associate, and David Watkins, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering,

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Skagit River Bridge Emergency Repair & Replacement

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; Thursday, Nov. 21, 4:00-5:00 pm
Dow 641. Mr. Thomas Pinder, BS Metallurgical Engineering, MTU
Acrow Bridge Company

Title: Skagit River Bridge Emergency Repair & Replacement

During the summer of 2013 the Skagit River Bridge on I-5 in the State of Washington was destroyed when it was hit by a truck hauling an oversize load. This presentation describes the damage and the emergency repairs made by constructing a temporary bridge. This temporary bridge allowed the four lanes of traffic to be restored within a few weeks while the permanent bridge section replacement was being fabricated and eventually put into place.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Great Lakes Water Level Regulation and Diversions

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; Thursday, November 14; 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Room 641 Dow

View seminar on Civil & Environmental Engineering Channel on Vimeo

Title: Great Lakes Water Level Regulation and Diversions
Cynthia Jarema, P.E., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District

Abstract:
The Great Lakes are a hydraulically regulated system. The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, established a commission between the U.S. and Great Britain (Canada), so that joint decisions could be made regarding issues and projects such as hydropower and diversions in the Great Lakes. Individual Boards of Control acknowledge and focus on the needs of various interest groups in their respective area. The International Lake Superior Board of Control operates a technical regulation plan to determine the Lake Superior outflow rate that would bring the levels of Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron to the same relative position within their respective historical ranges, before diversion or control structures were in place. The ability to regulate Lake Superior’s outflow however, does not mean that full control of lake levels is possible. Meteorological occurrences (precipitation, evaporation, and runoff) cannot be controlled or accurately predicted, and has a much greater impact to water levels than any man-made control.

Bio:
Cynthia Jarema, P.E. is a hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Tech; a 2006 graduate. After several years of working on riverine modeling and design projects, she became involved in Great Lakes data collection and analysis. Cynthia currently holds the position as lead engineer support for the U.S. membership of the International Lake Superior Board of Control under the direction of the International Joint Commission.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Railroad Ballast Stone in Michigan

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Thursday, November 7, 4 – 5 pm, Room 641 Dow

Title: “A Search for a Source of Railroad Ballast Stone in Michigan”
Kurt Breitenbucher

Abstract
Through NURail Funding and the Michigan Department of Transportation, improvements will be made to the existing Wolverine Line between Chicago and Detroit. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current MDOT railroad ballast specifications and compare them to both the national standards as well as international ones. In the case where the current MDOT or AREMA standards are not acceptable, identify a proper testing methodology and suggest a new standard to be used for high-speed rail ballast both sourced and used in Michigan. Much of Michigan lies in a sedimentary basin; this material generally makes poor rail ballast due to polishing and weathering. The Upper Peninsula contains more igneous rocks due to the rifting that occurred in the area. There are also a number of mines that generate poor rock that will be investigated as a ballast material. This project will also propose methods of transport for ballast material sourced in Michigan. Once the material sources are identified, their qualities will be assessed with various index tests and a study will be done to assess their rate sensitivity (dynamic strength testing.)

Bio
Kurt Breitenbucher is currently a Masters Candidate at Michigan Technological University, expecting to graduate in December 2013, with an emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering. He received his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University in August 2012.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

870 Dow Environmental Sciences
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Ph. 906-487-2520
Fax: 906-487-2943
Email: cee@mtu.edu

Michigan Technological University

1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295
906-487-1885

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