Faculty and Students Attend 98th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

Students and faculty in pavement materials areas attended the 98th Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting on January 13-17, 2019. Siyu Chen, Xiaodong Zhou, Jiaqing Wang, Lingyun You, Dongdong Ge, Miao Yu, Chaochao Liu, and Junfeng Gao presented at the meeting. Professor Zhanping You presented “The Development of a New Asphalt Mixture Containing Reacted and Activated Rubber and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement via Superpave Mix Design and Marshall Mix Design.”

Tim Colling, Director of the Center for Technology & Training, attended throughout and served on the ANB 25: Highway Safety Performance Committee.

Professor Eric Seagren attended the TRB meeting as a member of the Geo-Environmental Processes Committee (AFP40) to participate in the committee’s annual meeting.

Assistant Professor Zhen Liu (Leo) attended TRB with a visiting student, Peng Gao. Liu presented at the committee meeting of AFP50: Committee on Seasonal Climatic Effects on Transportation Infrastructure. The title of the presentation was “Data-Driven Predictions of Freezing and Thawing Depths with 3D Models.”

Associate Professor Pasi Lautala chaired the AR040 Freight Rail Transportation Committee. He also presented a poster by himself and Alawudin Salim (MS alumnus of Civil Engineering) “A HUMAN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS OF HIGHWAY-RAILROAD GRADE CROSSINGS BASED ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS AND DRIVER DEMOGRAPHICS.”

Sangpil Ko Poster
Sangpil Ko by his poster.

Research Assistant Sangpil Ko presented a poster co-authored by himself, Pasi Lautala, and Assistant Professor Kuilin Zhang on “Log Movement in the Superior Region – Rate and Capacity Based Analysis of Modal Shares.”

Associate Professor Amlan Mukherjee presented on a recently concluded National Cooperative Highway Research Program project involving the development of a Guidebook for Sustainable Highway Construction Practices at the meeting for the TRB Standing Committee on Construction Management (AFH10).

Mukherjee also presented the Michigan Department of Transportation study on “Workflows for Digital Project Delivery in Transportation Construction Projects” at the sub-committee meeting on Information Systems in Construction Management [AFH10(1)], where he serves as Secretary.

Mukherjee and PhD candidate Chaitanya Bhat co-authored a paper on “Sensitivity of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Outcomes to Parameter Uncertainty: Implications For Material Procurement Decision-Making.” The paper was presented at a lectern session by Bhat. It has also been accepted for publication in the Journal of the Transportation Research Record, to be published in 2019. Mr.Bhat presented his research on “Life-Cycle Thinking” in a 3 Minute Thesis event organized at TRB.

Taking advantage of their time in Washington DC, Mukherjee and Bhat, as part of their ongoing research in pavement Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) funded by the Federal Highway Administration, also organized a stakeholder meeting with fellow collaborators among members of the Federal LCA Commons.

Also in attendance were PhD students Qinjie Lyu and Jiaqing Wang.


Senior Design Travels To Grand Rapids To See How PFAS Are Being Removed From Water Supply

The senior design section (CEE 4905) advised by Dr. David Hand and Dr. Eric Seagren traveled on February 1, 2019, to visit the Plainfield Township Water Department’s treatment plant outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The plant is operating a pilot-scale study examining the removal of per- and poly-fluoralkyl substances (PFAS) from their water supply using granular activated carbon (GAC).  PFAS compounds were invented in the 1930s and since then have been manufactured for a variety of uses including: nonstick coatings, stain and water-resistant products, protective coatings, and firefighting foam.  These compounds are very stable in water, are persistent, bioaccumulative, and not known to degrade in the environment.  In 2017, Michigan was one of first states in the country to begin to establish a clean-up standard for PFAS in groundwater when used as a drinking water source.  The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, made up of several state agencies, has worked to identify PFAS contamination in the state.

The purpose of this senior design project is to develop design guidance for the use of GAC for the removal of PFAS chemicals from water supplies.  GAC is a Best Available Technology (BAT) as designated by the USEPA for removal of organic chemicals from water.  In fact, GAC is presently being used in several of the sites identified in Michigan for removal of PFAS compounds.  Design guidance for using GAC for the removal of these compounds is needed as it can provide regulatory agencies, consulting engineers, and water utilities with the tools necessary to effectively and economically evaluate the use of GAC for treatment of these chemicals.  Therefore, the main objectives of this project are to: (1) evaluate the design of the pilot-scale GAC system that has been implemented at the Plainfield Township Water Department’s treatment plant, and (2) to develop a general design guidance for the application of GAC fixed-bed adsorption processes for the removal of PFAS from drinking water.


Jiaqing Wang Presents on Transportation Topics

Jiaqing Wang presenting at TRB 2019Jiaqing Wang attended the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 98th Annual Meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, January 13–17, 2019, in Washington, D.C. He presented his recent research work under Dr. Qingli Dai’s supervision. The presentation title was “Effectively Recycling Scrap Tire Rubbers into Epoxy Polymer Concrete as Overlays or Repair Materials.”

To reduce environmental landfill problems with the accumulation of tire rubbers, scrap tire rubbers were added to epoxy polymer concrete. The solid rubber particles (with mesh size #50) were introduced into epoxy concrete with two different contents of 5% and 10% based on the epoxy monomer weight. The test results indicated that the use of solid waste tires could not only enhance the performance of neat epoxy concrete, but also contribute to environmental protection while extending the service life of existing concrete structures. His presentation and the research work that was conducted in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech attracted the audience’s attention and interest.

Wang also attended the 9th International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP) Annual Workshop “Innovations of Transportation Infrastructure In an Era of Climate Change.” He received 2nd prize in the student poster competition.


Family Science and Engineering Night at Barkell

Brian Doughty demonstrating in classBarkell Elementary School hosted Family Science and Engineering Night Wednesday evening, February 6, 2019, giving children grades K-5 opportunities to think outside of the box in the fields of science and engineering, with educational yet fun activities.

Brian Doughty of the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, led an activity in which fourth- and fifth-grade students explored generating electricity with a lemon.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Graham Jaehnig.


Jennifer Becker Publishes on Sustainability Metrics for Water Resource Recovery

Jennifer Becker
Jennifer Becker

Jennifer G. Becker (CEE) is one of the lead authors on a paper that defines the sustainability metrics that should be used to assess water resource recovery facilities of the future. The paper, which was just published in Water Environment Research, was a follow-up to a National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop to which Becker and other leaders in the field of water and wastewater treatment and reuse were invited.

The workshop focused on developing evaluation metrics to advance the Facilities Accelerating Science & Technology (FAST) Water Network. FAST includes over 90 test bed facilities dedicated to accelerating innovation and adoption of water energy, and nutrient recovery systems.

Sustainability metrics for assessing water resource recovery facilities of the future

Pablo K. Cornejo Jennifer Becker Krishna Pagilla Weiwei Mo Qiong Zhang James R. Mihelcic Kartik Chandran Belinda Sturm Daniel Yeh Diego Rosso
First published: 25 January 2019 https://doi.org/10.2175/106143017X15131012187980
Volume 91, Issue1, January 2019, Pages 45-53

The recovery of water, energy, and nutrients from water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) is needed to address significant global challenges, such as increasing water demand and decreasing availability of nonrenewable resources. To meet these challenges, innovative technological developments must lead to increased adoption of water and resource recovery processes, while addressing stakeholder needs (e.g., innovators, practitioners, regulators).

Read more at Water Environment Research.


Sarah Washko Attends Snow Measurement Field School

Sarah Washko takes measurements in the snowSarah Washko, an environmental engineering MS student, participated in the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) Snow Measurement Field School on January 6-11, 2019, in Bozeman Montana. The NASA-funded course provided training for performing high-quality snow measurements in the field, as well as in the fundamentals of snow hydrology analysis. In addition to traditional field methods, remote sensing techniques were also explored.

Each day in the field concluded with a presentation of the day’s findings. The final day culminated in a student designed field campaign at the Bridger Bowl Ski area. The workshop was designed to cultivate snow measurement and research design skills.



Julie Ross is an Unsung Hero

Julie Ross
Julie Ross

At an awards program in the Memorial Union Ballroom Wednesday (Jan. 9, 2018), staff members were honored with the Staff Council Making a Difference Award.

Julie Ross, academic advisor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, was a recipient of the Unsung Hero Award. Julie’s nominator states “When the faculty member who established the CEE Student Success Center left the University, Julie picked up the role of advisor for this group because she knew the services provided by the student success coaches were essential to the Department’s teaching mission. Without her stepping up and taking the advisor reigns, this group would not exist today.

Read more at the Staff Council blog.



Small Water Systems Project Funding

Tim Colling
CTT Director Tim Colling

Timothy Colling (CEE/Center for Technology and Training), is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $18,160 grant from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

John Velat (CEE/Center for Rural and Tribal Community Resilience) is Co-PI on the project “Smart Management for Small Water Systems FY18.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $39,977.

By Sponsored Programs.