Category Archives: Seminars

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar: Air Pollution in Iran; A Case Study

sep21Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar: Air Pollution in Iran; A Case Study
Monday, September 21th; 202 Great Lakes Research Center

Hossein Tavakoli, PhD Student, Michigan Tech Department of Environmental Engineering

Biography – I am a PhD student in Environmental Engineering with focus on air pollution. studying Environmental Engineering, I could see how air pollution had surrounded millions of people and it seemed policy makers were incapable. Picturesque Alborz hillsides, in which Tehran (Capital City) is located, were lost in smog. In the last 3 years, up to 7000 deaths in Tehran are caused by Airborne Particles. As a part of my research I have investigated the effects of air pollution of a steel complex -a case study- on surrounding area using air pollution dispersion modeling (AERMOD and CMB8.2); I have then investigated concentrations of PM10 in ambient air and Arsenic in air, water, soil, rice and meat downstream of the steel plant. In addition, I have studied lifetime risk assessment of Arsenic due to inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposure for residents.
Environmental issues regarding air pollution in Iran include, especially in urban areas, vehicle emissions, refinery operations, huge dust swirl from Iraq and industrial effluents which contribute to poor air quality. Industrial nature and the status of its environmental issues, regulation and management in Iran will be presented to expand the world vision of a developing country.
A regularly updated seminar schedule and download capabilities for Roundtable Discussion papers is available on CANVAS under ENVE5991 R01 Fall 2015.



Environmental Engineering Seminar: Environmental Systems Biology of Marine Oil Biodegradation

sep14Environmental Systems Biology of Marine Oil Biodegradation
Monday, September 14th 3 pm
202 Great Lakes Research Center

Dr. Stephen Techtmann , Assistant Professor
Michigan Tech Department of Biological Sciences

Biography – I am an environmental microbiologist who studies microbial communities in diverse ecosystems. Microbes (Bacteria and Archaea) are ubiquitous in the environment and play essential roles in the cycling of elements. These environmental microbes are capable of catalyzing a wide array of chemical reactions, many of which may have industrial applications. I study how complex microbial communities can cooperate to perform functions of industrial interest. The majority of microbes in the environment are difficult to grow in the lab. Furthermore, many industrially-relevant pathways are found in microbes not yet grown in the lab. I seek to employ both culture-based and culture-independent methods to understand how these microbial communities respond to anthropogenic activity and environmental change and how we might leverage these microbes for a biotechnological application. In the past, I have investigated how microbes from hot springs and geothermal vents could be used for biofuel production. Most recently, I have focused on microbial communities that respond to and aid in the clean up of crude oil contamination. I am also interested in engineering environmental microbes and microbial communities for enhanced biofuel production. I employ a combination of geochemical techniques, next-generation sequencing and other ‘omics approaches, with microbial physiology and biochemistry to better understand these microbial systems.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Creating Educational Materials for Python and GIS

CE Graduate Seminar for a special presentation by Shelley Jeltema.
Title: Creating Educational Materials for Python and GIS
Author: Shelley Jeltema, PhD student in Civil/Environmental Engineering
Room 642 Dow, 4:05 – 4:55 pm, Thursday, April 2.

This project created a 15-week course to teach graduate students and GIS analysts/technicians how to use Python to extend the functionality of Geographical Information System (GIS) software. Using a combination of traditional college course and corporate training methods results in a modular course that can be taught in a traditional college setting, online, or as a custom course for specific business purposes. The class is comprised of lectures and labs where students will learn scripting, data processing with Python. Students will also learn how to create ArcGIS models with Python Script. The course contains base set of labs will focus on natural resource management and hydrology. Additional labs will cover different business scenarios to expand the audience to business, surveying, social science, and Peace Corps students. At the end of the course, students will have gained experience in scripting, data pre-processing, and modeling with Python and AcrGIS. They will also have frameworks for real world business scenarios. The requirements for this class are prior experience with ArcGIS and familiarity with modeling. Computer coding experience is suggested but not recommended. Future work includes continued refinement of this course to include more of the skills businesses. An advanced course teaching concepts and techniques that create more complex models using computer programs, creating ArcGIS tools, and working with GIS in a distributed computing environment where workload balancing is available.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar: Eagle Mine

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Kristen Mariuzza will present “Eagle Mine: Our Journey to Create a Modern Mine” on Monday, March 30, at 3:05 p.m. in Fisher 132.

Kristen (Dolkey) Mariuzza graduated from Michigan Tech with a BS in Environmental Engineering in 1998. She worked as an environmental engineer with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for almost nine years, before becoming an independent engineering consultant. She started working at the Eagle Mine LLC in 2010 (when it was owned by Rio Tinto, now owned by Lundin Mining Corporation) as the environmental and permitting manager. At Eagle, she oversees the environmental compliance aspects, which she will describe in her presentation.

Civil Engineering Seminar: Integrated LCCA and LCA of Road and Rail Freight Transport

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar Thursday – March 19th, 4:00 – 5:00
Room 642 DOW
Presentation by: Sumanth Kalluri
Integrated LCCA and LCA of Road and Rail Freight Transport

Freight transport occurs between nearly any two process steps of a product system and is often of major importance for a product life cycle. The transportation sector accounted for 28% of the total greenhouse gas emission in the US in 2012 and it is forecasted to account for 63 percent of the total growth in global consumption of petroleum and other liquid fuels between 2010 and 2040. For these reasons, it’s essential that the development of new freight transportation lanes and activities takes a holistic approach in the evaluation of alternatives where energy consumption and emissions are minimized throughout the project life cycle. This project takes steps towards that goal by applying the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) methodologies for comparing road, rail and road-rail multimodal transportation alternatives for freight shipment.

The main objectives of this study is to analyze all the costs and emissions during phases of construction, operations, maintenance and final salvage or recycling stage of both the infrastructure and the equipment that are used over a variable life time of freight transport process of road and rail modes. The emissions are then converted to cost values (using potential unit costs of emissions) for integration with LCCA for overall assessment.

This presentation will give an introduction to LCA and LCCA and its past applications in transportation sector. The presentation will also talk about a case study for which LCA and LCCA will conducted for movement of ore between a proposed mine and refinery in the Upper Peninsula (Copperwood Mine project) and the movement of refined concentrate between the refinery and Escanaba, MI.

Rail Transportation Seminar: Railroad Bearing and Wheel Failures

feb24Rail Transportation seminar: Dr. Brent Wilson, Amsted Rail
Title: Railroad Bearing and Wheel Failures
Feb 24, 2015, 4:00 PM Dow 642

Dr. Wilson has been directing product research and metallurgical analysis for railroad specific applications from both academic and industrial positions for ten years.Currently, he is the Director of Research and Development for Amsted Rail, the world’s largest manufacturer of railway undercarriage components, i.e. wheels, bearings, axles, castings, and end-of-car coupling devices.Throughout his career, he has been working toward continuous improvement in both product reliability and performance through the application of technological advancements to new and existing products for multiple industries, including: railroad, automotive, aerospace, military, and pipeline.

For the past six years, Dr. Wilson has been an active member of the AAR Technology Outreach Committee focusing on emerging and developing technologies in the railway sector.During his career, Dr. Wilson has authored and/or presented over 40 articles on industrial research, specifically highlighting technical innovations in engineered products and performance.

Sponsored by the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: The Effects of Climate Change on Sediment Transport and Bridge Scour

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Jennie Tyrrell
Thursday, 2/19/2015, Room 642 Dow, 4:00 to 5:00 pm

Title: The Effects of Climate Change on Sediment Transport and Bridge Scour

Global climate change is expected to influence rivers and streams. As a result, both human use of rivers and ecological health become a growing concern. As rainfall intensifies and river flows increase, sediment mobilizes and the potential for blocked harbors, induced flooding, bridge scour, and fish habitat disturbance also rise. Our research objectives are to quantify the effects of rainfall intensity and water temperature on sediment transport. In an effort to gain a better understanding of sediment dynamics six models were analyzed. By developing a relationship between flow, temperature, and sediment loads, we aim to develop a useful tool for river and bridge engineers to plan for sediment management. The relationship developed can be a means to help 1) identify vulnerabilities of rivers to climate change, 2) prioritize distribution of financial resources, and 3) guide water resource managers to develop adaptive management strategies.

Civil Engineering Seminar: Snow Roads and Runways in Antarctica

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Thursday, January 29,4 :05 – 5:00 pm, Room 642 Dow

Speaker: Russ Alger, Project Manager, Research Leader, Keweenaw Research Center
“Snow Roads and Runways in Antarctica”

Russ Alger has been involved in mobility programs in Antarctica with NSF and USACRREL since the late 80’s. This work has included a 3 month traverse across almost 2000 miles of Antarctica and 5 other trips to the ice. This work is dedicated to moving personnel and materials around the continent by various means. The studies have included route planning and layout for a 1000 mile long snow road from McMurdo, on the ocean, to the South Pole, ground truthing of the final route, travel with the first full scale traverse to the pole, and several studies to determine the feasibility of landing wheeled aircraft on a snow runway.

Russ will concentrate his talk on the work in Antarctica, but will also touch on other work involving travel and engineering in snow.

All are invited to attend.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Transportation Assistance to Federally Recognized Indian Tribes

John VelatCivil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Speaker: Mr. John Velat, Tribal Technical Assistance Program Director, Michigan Tech

“Transportation Assistance to Federally Recognized Indian Tribes”

This seminar will introduce the Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program at Michigan Tech (TTAP), which is part of a nationwide effort sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). TTAP relates the latest technology and information on tribal roads and bridges, tourism and recreation, and related economic development to tribal transportation and planning personnel. The staff of the Eastern TTAP support 64 American Indian governments in the 31 states of the Midwestern and Eastern BIA regions, and are involved in nationwide projects and initiatives supporting all 566 federally-recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) governments and thousands of local roads agencies. John Velat, PI and Director of the Eastern TTAP, will give an overview of the technical, political, and financial environment surrounding transportation development in tribal and rural areas. Mr. Velat is a Michigan Tech graduate with 14 years of experience in local and tribal transportation development, and over 10 years of experience in domestic and international development projects.

Thursday, January 22, 2015
4 PM – 5 PM
642 Dow Building
Public Welcome

Civil Engineering Seminar: Bio-Inspired Surfboard Fins: Comparisons of Flow Fields and Lift/Drag Forces using CFD models and Experimental data

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar:
Speaker: Megan MacNeill, Civil Engineering Graduate Student
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 4:00 – 5:00 PM, Dow 642

Title: Bio-Inspired Surfboard Fins: Comparisons of Flow Fields and Lift/Drag Forces using CFD models and Experimental data”

This presentation will give a brief overview of the dynamics of wave surfing, in addition to presenting my current thesis research approach and findings. The theory of wave development and how to surf will be touched upon to give the audience insight into the physics of surfing. An in-depth summary of the purpose of surfboard fins and fin hydrodynamics will also be covered.
The project compares 10 different surfboard fins by means of computational fluid dynamic modeling and experimental analysis from data gathered in the water channel in Dillman Room 110. The fins were self-designed by inspiration of dorsal fin profiles from aquatic species. The single fin set- ups are compared by means of lift and drag forces as well as visual flow analysis. The geometric modeling and CFD approach will be discussed accompanied by the experimental methodology. Because this project is in its beginning stages, there is little known about the results. Future plans for the project will be discussed along with potential post-project ideas.