Category Archives: Seminars

Rail Transportation Seminar: Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology

sep8Rail Transportation Program and Environmental Engineering Geologists AEG Michigan Tech Student Chapter present Dr. Pauli Kolisoja Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland presented a seminar on rail research at TUT at Michigan Tech on Monday, Sept. 9, 12-1 p.m. at DOW 875. He also gave the presentation September 9, for the Civil Engineering Seminar Fisher 10 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club’s first general business meeting

The title of the seminar is: “Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology”

The Railway Track Structures Research Team at Tampere University (TUT) of Technology consists of about 10 researchers. The research area includes track components from subsoil stability through the structural layers to sleepers, rails and wheel-rail contact. Essential parts of the research area are also bridges and the life cycle and monitoring of track structures. The main emphasis of activity is experimental research based on diverse arrangements from laboratory scale material analyses to field measurements and full-scale loading tests. Research methods are complemented by calculation analyses of performance of structures and literature reviews of international research results. The basis of the on-going track structure research is the Life Cycle Cost Efficient Track research programme (TERA) implemented in co-operation with the Finnish Transport Agency. This presentation provides an overview of research projects conducted at the TUT and related outcomes.

See Railway Track Structures Research Video

Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala,  Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech
Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala, Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech

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

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”

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. Continue reading

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

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.

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

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 Continue reading

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Lake Superior Topics

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.