The 2019 National Finals for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Concrete Canoe Competition took place June 5-9 at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
The students’ efforts to combine engineering excellence and hydrodynamic design to construct water-worthy canoes have culminated in an advanced form of concrete construction and racing technique known as the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering.”
The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team placed tenth overall at the National competition. In addition to their overall finish, they ranked seventh in the oral presentation, 13th in design paper, 11th in display, and eighth in racing. Great job team!
The Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program that has been running for ten consecutive years was highlighted in the May/June Intermodal Insights, a newsletter by the Intermodal Association North America. The Program is a collaboration between the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech and the Transportation Logistics and Management Program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Engaging IANA’s Next Generation
For 10 consecutive years, the Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Superior have jointly hosted the week-long Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program for high school students. The camp attracts nearly 20 young men and women annually from as far away as California, Florida and New York.
After arriving on the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan on Sunday, camp participants get their first look at railroad operations at the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad on Monday. They tour the company’s car and locomotive shops, and climb into the cab of a locomotive.
Read more at Intermodal Operations, Safety & Maintenance Business Meeting 2019 Recap: The Future of Intermodal.
By Pasi Lautala, Michigan Technological University, Richard Stewart, University of Wisconsin-Superior, David Nelson, Michigan Technological University and Daniel Rust, University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Michigan Tech has experts in innovation making a statewide impact: Chris Gilbertson, PhD, PE, and Scott Bershing, both at the university’s Center for Technology & Training (CTT). Gilbertson, associate director, and Bershing, technical specialist, received a 2019 Project of the Year award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association.
Gilbertson and Bershing were technical experts on the project team led by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council’s (TAMC) Bridge Committee. The Bridge Committee received a charge from the state and responded with the 2018 Michigan Local Agency Culvert Inventory Pilot Evaluation to learn about its county- and city-owned culvert assets.
In seven-months’ time, the project team developed a culvert data collection method and assessment system. They also made updates to Roadsoft, the asset management software developed by the CTT and used by Michigan’s local road-owning agencies. And, they recruited and deployed 49 local road-owning agencies in Michigan to test the data collection and assessment processes on nearly 50,000 culverts.
“The TAMC and Michigan Tech received the award, but the success of the pilot would not have been possible without the efforts of many others around the state,” commented Gilbertson.
Bershing said, “This was a good example of multiple agency cooperation, working together under a tight time frame and deadline to complete the project.” That collaboration helped the TAMC to estimate Michigan’s total number of culverts at 196,000 with a replacement value of $1.48 billion. It also found that Michigan’s local agencies own and maintain 7.3 to 9.2 million feet of culvert assets—or 1,798 miles (the distance from Houghton, Michigan to Miami, Florida)—with most being corrugated steel pipe. Another key finding from the pilot was that a majority—67.2 percent—of culverts held a condition rating of a 6 or better on a 10-point scale.
Participating agencies benefitted not only from the results but also from the processes developed by the project team. These processes gave the agencies useful strategies for managing their assets and guidance for developing proactive management strategies.
“It’s rewarding to be recognized for the hard work we put in on this project”, said Bershing. Gilbertson echoed his colleague, saying, “I’m honored that we were recognized by the APWA for the work that we put into the culvert pilot last year. We are truly thankful to all those individuals who made this possible.”
Gilbertson and Bershing share this recognition with the entire project team and the 49 participating agencies. Without their support, this culvert project would not have been a success.
The final report for the pilot study is available on the TAMC website: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/tamc/TAMC_2018_Culvert_Pilot_Report_Complete_634795_7.pdf
Michigan Tech Surveying Engineering participated in MiCareer Quest Northwest 2019 in Traverse City on Thursday, May 22 at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. MiCareer Quest is a “multi-industry career exploration event” sponsored and supported by industry, employers, trades, and educators throughout Michigan. The event, primarily put together by Michigan WORKS!, is an effort to expose students to a myriad of career opportunities. The Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors Outreach and Education Committee, headed by Jason Juilleret, PS, a Land Surveyor with Gourdie-Fraser and Michigan Tech grad, secured a booth for the Society, inviting Michigan Tech to participate along with two Surveyors from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Professor of Practice, Joe Foster, was able to bring a virtual sandbox and information about Michigan Tech, specifically the Surveying Engineering program to share with the 2000 9th grade students from 30 different school districts. The event gave the students the opportunity to experience 60 employers representing 100 different occupations. Michigan Tech was unique as it was one of the educators in attendance, giving the opportunity to spread the word of Michigan Tech, Surveying Engineering and the Surveying Profession as a whole.
For more information on the event, visit here.
The 2019 National Finals for the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Steel Bridge Competition took place May 31 to June 1 at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
The student teams are challenged to develop a scale-model steel bridge. The team must determine how to fabricate their bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at the competition.
The Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team placed eighth (out of 41) overall at the National competition. In addition to their overall finish, they ranked fifth in efficiency, sixth in stiffness, and eighth in construction speed. Great job team!
The Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) Chapter at Michigan Tech has been working with the communities of Santa Barbara and Buena Vista, Bolivia to address the major regional problem of roadway flooding and erosion during the rainy season. When the road becomes impassable, as it frequently does in these months, it can completely cut off community members from access to healthcare, agricultural work, education, and commerce. In May of 2019, five student members and one alumni advisor traveled to Bolivia to assess the situation and the needs of the communities. During their visit, the team utilized drones to topographically map the community and 8 km of road leading to and from Buena Vista. They also met with local government officials to discuss the problem and potential solutions and held an introductory meeting with community members.
In the coming year at Michigan Tech, the team will use the data they collected to design and eventually implement affordable and sustainable solutions, potentially including culverts, drainage ditches, and alternative materials and road resurfacing methods. EWB-USA community partnerships last for a minimum of 5 years and work to address basic human needs through projects in water distribution, sanitation, energy, agriculture, and transportation infrastructure.
PhD Candidate, Azad Heidari along with his advisors – David Watkins and Alex Mayer recently published “Hydrologic impacts and trade-offs associated with forest-based bioenergy development practices in a snow-dominated watershed, Wisconsin, USA“ in the Journal of Hydrology. The journal is a peer-reviewed academic publication that is currently ranked first in Google Scholar in the Hydrology and Water Resource category.
Researchers seek PFAS solutions as they try to break down the ‘forever chemical’
It’s a daunting task: How to break down “the forever chemical?”
But scientists across the country are researching, with urgency, ways to bust apart or capture per- and polyflouroalkyl substances, or PFAS. State officials suspect the potentially harmful compound could be contaminating more than 11,000 sites in Michigan, and hundreds more across the country.
In addition, Michigan Technological University is examining how granular-activated carbon filters, the most common solution to dealing with PFS contamination, can be optimized for peak performance at the lowest cost.
“What we’re trying to do is create ways to tell other engineers how they can treat PFAS with granular-activated carbon,” said Alan Labisch, an environmental engineering student working on the project under the supervision of Michigan Tech environmental engineering professor Eric Seagren and professor emeritus David Hand.
John Velat (CEE/MTTI) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $12,000 other sponsored activities contract with Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). The three and a half month project is titled “2019 KBIC SHSP.”
IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) – Researchers at Michigan Tech are working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the Dickinson County Road Commission to test a new type of asphalt.
Zhanping You, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech helped to secure a $650,000 grant which was partially funded by the Michigan EGLE – formerly the DEQ.
It all starts at the asphalt plant, where they’re using the exact same asphalt various aggregates, petroleum and heat. However, there’s one crucial difference. They also add powdered rubber tires. They crush used tires up into a fine powder and through it in the fire.
“We prepared the lab designs for example how much gravel, how much sand, how much rubber and how much asphalt,” Professor You explained. They’ve also determined precisely how thick each layer should be for maximized performance.