Tag Archives: CE 5990

Civil and Environmental Engineering Joint Graduate Seminar

oct15cee2Civil and Environmental Engineering Joint Graduate Seminar
Thursday, October 15, 2015,
4-5pm, Dow 642

Title: A Tale of Two Careers in the Same Field

By: Dr. Kerry J. Howe, P.E., BCEE


Completing a graduate degree in civil and environmental engineering opens the door to a variety of career paths: government agencies, consulting firms, universities. Dr. Howe has worked extensively in two of these arenas. First, as a design engineer for the engineering firm that is now Montgomery Watson Harza. After a 12-year stint there, he completed a PhD degree and starting working as a professor at the University of New Mexico, where his research has focused on membrane technologies, desalination, and water reuse, including the use of reverse osmosis and ozone/biofiltration to treat wastewater for water reuse applications. This presentation will use case studies from his career to describe a typical design project done by consulting engineers and a typical research project at a university. The presentation will then describe the skills needed by civil and environmental engineers in both career paths, and describe the similarities and differences between consulting engineers and academicians.


Dr. Howe is a professor and regents’ lecturer at the department of civil engineering, University of New Mexico. Dr. Howe is also a registered professional engineer (P.E.) and a board certified environmental engineer (BCEE) by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. Prior to studying for his doctorate degree at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Environmental Engineering, Dr. Howe worked for environmental engineering consulting firms for more than 12 years. During his time in consulting, he worked as project engineer or project manager on a wide variety of projects related to water treatment engineering, including treatability studies, regulatory compliance evaluations, facility evaluations, master plans, pilot studies, predesign, detailed design, construction management, and plant startup. His practical engineering experience has a strong influence on his research and teaching activities. He is a co-author of the textbooks Principles of Water Treatment and MWH’s Water Treatment: Principles and Design. Dr. Howe is a director for Center for Water and the Environment from the National Science Foundation Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program.

Ali Catik: Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects

Ali Catik, president, Civil East Operations, Tutor Perini Corp, NY, and a 1976 Michigan Tech graduate presented the Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar entitled: “Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects in Big Cities” on Friday, Sept. 27, in Dow 642. Watch the seminar presentation on Michigan Tech Engineering Channel on Vimeo Continue reading

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Large Scale Landslides

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar, Thursday,September 19, 4:00 pm, Room 641 Dow
Glacial Lake Ontonagon and the Development of Large Scale Landslides
Vitton, Stanley J., Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, 49931

A massive landslide occurred in 2005 along the East Branch of the Ontonagon River in northern Michigan adjacent to US-45. The landslide initially blocked the river causing it to redevelop a new flow channel. While other massive landslides occur along this section of the river, they tend to be infrequent with respect to the general form of mass wasting such as slope regression due to river under cutting and surface erosion. An investigation of the landslide indicated two very distinct soil units that appear to correspond to the two phases of glacial Lake Ontonagon. The two soil units have a relatively distinct boundary as seen in Figure 1C. The lower unit consists of a red till, which forms the floor of the valley, grading upward into alluvial sand, while the upper unit is a distinct lacustrine soil deposit.

The massive landslide failure zone developed in the lower soil unit. It is unclear at this point as to whether the failure was due to softening of the lower red till or liquefaction induced failure caused by increased pore pressure development during the spring runoff in the alluvial sand. Due to the extensive development of soil liquefaction features, however, it is believed that failure was induced via liquefaction in the transitional zone between the red till and the clean sand in the lower soil unit where the percent of fines in the sand prevent adequate drainage. Additional analysis of the soil’s strength and dynamic properties are needed, however, to make a more definitive determination (Smith, 2012).

The origins of glacial Lake Ontonagon was first addressed by Leverette (1929) and later by Hack (1965), Farrand and Drexler (1985) and Attig, Clayton and Mickelson (1985). The formation of Lake Ontonagon soils are believed to have developed in the post-Twocreekan time, around 11,800 Before Present (BP). The post-Twocreekan glacier advance completely filled the Lake Superior basin with two ice lobes that were split by the Keweenaw Peninsula. The Superior lobe reached the position of the Nickerson moraine southwest of Duluth, while the Lake Michigan-Green Bay lobe moved southward across the northern peninsula of Michigan, ultimately reaching the Two Rivers moraine at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, about 11,800 BP. Following the Two Creek advance, de-glaciation formed lakes and drainage channels in front of the glacier lobes in which glacial lakes Duluth and Ontonagon formed. Lake Ontonagon drained westward into Lake Ashland and eventually to the St. Croix River, which drained southward to the Mississippi River at about 11,000 BP. Between 11,000 and 10,700 BP the glacier retreated into the Lake Superior Basin forming a much larger Lake Duluth and eventually as the ice retreated and the glacial rebound occurred lowering Lake Duluth to form Lake Algonquin. It is believed that the lower soil unit formed during this period of time.

At about 10,000 BP, however, the last glacial re-advance, known as the Marquette Phase, advanced back into the Lake Superior Basin covering most of the northern portion of the Upper Peninsula. At about 9,900 BP the ice retreated again forming a series of lakes along the front of the ice sheet. Lake Ontonagon reformed at this time along with Lake’s Ashland and Nemadjic. Eventually the lakes became confluent and drained westward to the St. Croix outlet. At that time the lake levels for Ashland and Nemadjic dropped about 20 feet. Lake Ontonagon, on the other hand, dropped about 200 feet, (Leverett, 1929) leaving much of its lake bed dry land surface. It is believed that the upper lacustrine soil unit formed during this period of time.

Attig, W.J., Clayton, L. and D.M. Mickelson, 1985. Correlation of late Wisconsin glacial phases in the western Great Lakes area, Geological Society of America Bulletin vol. 96, no. 12; pp 1585-1593.
Farrand, W.R. and Drexler, C.W. 1985. Late Wisconsin and Holocene History of the Lake Superior Basin, Quaternary Evolution of the Great Lakes, P.F Karrow and P.E. Calkin, editors, Geological Assoc. of Canada Special Paper 30.
Hack , John, 1965. Postglacial drainage evolution and stream geometry in the Ontonagon area, Michigan, Geological Survey Professional Paper 504-B, Washington, D.C., 45 p.
Leverett, Frank, 1929. Moraines and shorelines of the Lake Superior basin: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 154-A, 72 p.
Smith, J. 2012. Large Scale Landslide on the Ontonagon River, Michigan, Masters of Science Report, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, 17 p.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Porous Materials

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar, Thursday, September 12, 2013, Room 641 Dow
4pm to 5pm
Speaker: Dr. Zhen Liu, assistant professor of civil engineering, MTU

Title of Presentation: “Modeling the Multiphysical Phenomena in Porous Materials”

Porous materials (geomaterials, cementitious materials, etc.) are among the most abundant engineering materials that serve different disciplines. A thorough understanding of their behaviors is challenged by their susceptibilities to multiphysical processes as the result of their porous nature. Further advancements in porous materials research call for holistic multiphysics models and innovative characterization techniques. This study
investigated the multiphysical phenomena in three different types of porous materials (i.e., soil freezing, cement hydration, and dissociation of methane hydrate) based on their common features. Theoretical frameworks were first developed to couple the thermal, hydraulic and mechanical fields. Thermo-hydro-mechanical models were implemented using the finite element method. The simulation results cast light on engineering applications such as the safety and sustainability of pavement and buried pipes, the hydrating mechanisms of cement-based materials, and the recovery of gas hydrates. On the other hand, new instrumentation techniques were developed and utilized to characterize porous materials. These include a thermo-TDR sensor for the measurement of soil water characteristic curves, a modified capillary rise method for measuring apparent contact angles of soils, and an ultrasonic wave sensor-based method for measuring the pore-size distributions in concrete.

Molecular Modeling of Polymers and Nanocomposites

Civil Engineering CE 5990 Graduate Seminar

Thursday, February 2
Time: 4-5pm,
Dow 642

Presenter: Dr. Gregory M. Odegard, Associate Professor,  ME-EM, Michigan Tech

Abstract: Polymer-based composites and nanocomposite materials have the potential to provide significant increases in specific stiffness and specific strength relative to current Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Structures and Materials Technical Committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.significant increases in specific stiffness and specific strength relative to current materials used for many engineering structural applications. To facilitate the design and development of polymer nanocomposite materials, structure-property relationships must be established that predict the bulk mechanical response of these materials as a function of the molecular- and micro-structure. The objective of this research is to establish an accurate and efficient approach for using computational modeling to develop structure-property relationships for polymer-based systems.  A combination of molecular dynamics and micromechanical modeling methods has been used to predict the mechanical response of high-performance polymers, nanoparticle/polymer composites, SWNT/polymer composites, and SWNT arrays.  An overview of this research will be presented along with the results from specific material systems.

The Properties of Modified Asphalt Binders Blended with Electronic Waste Powders

Civil Engineering CE 5990 Graduate Seminar

Thursday, January 26
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: Dow 642
Public is welcome

Presenter: Baron Colbert, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Adviser: Dr. Zhaping You)

Abstract: This study was intended to successfully implement asphalt binders modified with electronic waste (e-waste) from recycled computer plastics in order to improve asphalt binder performance versus conventional asphalt binders. The e-waste powder percentages blended with asphalt binders were 2.5%, 5%, and 15%, respectively. Rotational viscosity, dynamic shear rheometer testing, and bending beam rheometer testing was conducted upon modified and virgin asphalt binder samples. The addition of e-waste powders increased binder viscosity, blending and mixing temperatures, decreased rutting susceptibility versus virgin asphalt binders, and lower percentages of e-waste powders modified asphalt binders resulted in similar m-values at the specified low temperature grade of the control asphalt binder.

Development of Dynamic Asphalt Stripping Machine for Better Prediction of Moisture Damage of Porous Asphalt Pavement in Malaysia

Civil Engineering CE 5990 Graduate Seminar

Thursday, January 26
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: Dow 642
Public is welcome

Presenter: Mohd Rosli Bin Mohd Hasan, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, (Adviser: Dr. Zhaping You).

Abstract: Stripping is a major source of pavement distress and takes place in the presence of moisture. Over the years, many laboratory tests have been proposed to evaluate moisture sensitivity of asphalt mixtures. This seminar will cover the development of a dynamic asphalt stripping machine (DASM) to realistically simulate stripping of porous asphalt mixtures subjected to the dynamic action of flowing water, especially for the Malaysia condition. The topic also covers the background of invention, operational steps and preliminary evaluation on the DASM based on the permeability and indirect tensile strength test results.

The Aging Properties of SBS Modified Bitumen and Its Recycling

Civil Engineering CE 5990 Graduate Seminar

Thursday, January 19
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: Dow 642

Public is welcome

Speaker: Dr. Xiaoming Huang, Professor, Associate Dean, School of Transportation, Southeast University, China Brief

Abstract: In China, following the huge new highway constructions, large portion of the highway network needs to be maintained and rehabilitated. Reclaimed asphalt material has been studied, produced and used for pavement rehabilitations. This lecture will cover the study of aging of the modified asphalt binder, the influence of mineral filler and trichloroethylene. The lecture will also cover an introduction of research in pavement engineering in China as well as the research in Southeast university in China.

Two- and Three-Dimensional Micromechanical Constitutive Modeling of Heterogeneous Infrastructure Materials with X-Ray Computed Tomography Images

Civil Engineering CE 5990 Graduate Seminar

Thursday, Jan. 12
Time: 4-5 p.m.
Location: Dow 642

Public is welcome

Presenter: Dr. Qingli Dai, Assistant professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Abstract: This study developed two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) micromechanical finite element (FE) models to study the viscoelastic properties of heterogeneous infrastructure materials. For example, asphalt mixtures are consisted of very irregular aggregates, asphalt matrix and a small amount of air voids. The internal microstructure of asphalt mixtures was captured with X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) imaging techniques. The 2D and 3D digital samples were created with the reconfiguration of the scanned slice images. The FE mesh of digital samples was generated with the locations of image pixels within each aggregate and asphalt matrix. Along the boundary of these two phases, the aggregate and matrix FEs share the nodes to connect the deformation. The micromechanical FE modeling was conducted by incorporating the captured microstructure and ingredient properties (viscoelastic asphalt matrix and elastic aggregates). The generalized Maxwell model was applied for viscoelastic asphalt matrix with calibrated parameters from the nonlinear regression analysis of the lab test data. The 3D simulation with digital samples generated better prediction than the 2D models. These favorable comparison results indicate that the developed micromechanical FE models have the ability to accurately predict the global viscoelastic properties of the heterogeneous infrastructure materials.