RTP lead two rail related civil/environmental senior design projects during the 2016-17 school year. During the fall semester a team of 15 students worked on improvements to the Peshekee logyard owned and operated by Longyear, LLC. Their work included rail and highway transportation improvements to serve the site, preliminary plans for a rail served transload warehouse and fuels transload area, and environmental permitting requirements for the proposed work. Suggested improvements included 3950 linear feet of trackwork valued at $1.5 million, $560,000 in site improvements, $230,000 for equipment and tanks to support the fuels transload operation, and $150,000 for the transload warehouse. An additional $200,000 was recommended to procure a trackmobile to improve rail operations in the expanded site. Environmental costs were reduced by the team recommendation for wetland preservation in place of more costly remediation methods.
During the spring semester a separate team of 16 students worked with Sawyer International Airport to provide conceptual and preliminary work on rail access to a proposed refinery site and rail and highway access to a proposed warehouse site. The refinery access team recommended constructing a loop track with 3.5 miles of new trackwork at a price of nearly $9million, while the warehouse team found that rail access would require $6.5 million for the full build out, but a phased approach could bring initial construction down to 21,000 linear feet of rail at $4.5 million, with the remaining work completed as traffic at the warehouse site developed. Highway access and parking facilities for the new warehouse complex would require 3500 linear feet of new roadway, and 160,000 square feet of new parking and support pavements at a price of nearly $3.5 million. SAI also asked our environmental team to look at a recent study on PFC contamination on the airport site produced by the US Air Force Civil Engineering Center. The team produced a detailed report, including recommendations for additional testing and monitoring.
Dr. Thomas Oommen, Dr. Stanley Vitton and Dr. Eric Seagren recently completed a NSF project on dusting from mine tailings impoundments. In the project they evaluated remote sensing tools for monitoring impoundments for dusting potential, and innovative biomediated approaches for mitigating dusting. In particular, they focused on the problem of cold weather dusting.
As part of the project output, with the help of the CinOptics Enterprise on campus, they are producing a series of videos on the problem of cold weather dusting from mine tailings impoundments, and conventional and innovative techniques for mitigating cold weather dusting.
This is the first video in the series. It is a review of the problem of cold weather dusting.
The CEE International Senior Design (“iDesign”) program continued this year with a trip to Panama, August 13-27. Twelve students (10 CEE, 1 GMES, 1 ME) divided into three teams and traveled to rural sites in western Panama. Hosted by Peace Corps Volunteers, the students collected data for their fall semester senior design projects – two water supply systems and a river crossing, respectively. Other trip highlights included visits to the Panama Canal and the Biodiversity Museum.
The trip was led by Professors David Watkins and Melanie Kueber Watkins. Professor of Practice Mike Drewyor is helping to mentor the design teams in the fall term.
Muxue Zhang, a masters student, working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented the research findings: ‘Predicting RO Removal of Toxicologically Relevant Unique Organics’ at the 11th International Water Association (IWA) Interaction conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse held in Long Beach, California on July 23-27, 2017. The research was funded by WateReuse Research Foundation. Dr. Minakata also presented the research findings: ‘Predicting the Fate of Organic Compounds Degradation in UV/H2O2 and UV/Chlorine Advanced Oxidation Processes’ from his NSF funded research project.
Lathika Varanasi is a PhD student working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She presented her research work : ‘Transformation of Dissolved Organic Matter in Engineered Ultraviolet (UV) Photolysis and UV-based Advanced Oxidation Processes’ at the Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professors (AEESP) conference held in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor between June 20th and 22nd 2017. Co-authors on the research are Erica Coscarelli, David Perram, Dr. Daisuke Minakata (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Dr. Maryam Khaksari and Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni (Department of Chemistry). The research was funded by MTU Research Excellent Fund-Research Seed Grant, MTU CEE startup fund, NSF Major Research Instrumentation and Great Lakes Research Center graduate research fund.
The Rail Transportation Program Director, Pasi Lautala, undergraduate research assistant Aaron Dean (MEEM) and graduate research assistant Soumith Oduru (CEE) presented four papers at the conference. Oduru also received the ASME Rail Transportation Division (RTD) Graduate Student Conference Scholarship of $1100 and Dean received the ASME Rail Transportation Division (RTD) Undergraduate Student Conference Scholarship of $800.
The paper titles were “Incorporating Life Cycle Assessment in Freight Transportation Infrastructure Project Evaluation” (Oduru, Lautala), “Effectiveness of Using SHRP2 Naturalistic Driving Study Data to Analyze Driver Behavior at Highway-rail Grade Crossings” (Dean, Lautala, David Nelson (CEE)), “Selection of Representative Crossings Database for the Evaluation of Driver Behavior Over Highway-rail Grade Crossings” (Modeste Muhire, Lautala, Nelson, Dean) and “Sensor Fusion of Wayside Visible and Thermal Imagery for Rail Car Wheel and Bearing Damage Detection” (Hanieh Deilamsalehy, Timothy Havens (CEE), Lautala).
Ashley Hendricks, a master’s student in Environmental Engineering, was recently awarded the David Dolan Scholarship by the International Association for Great Lakes Research. This scholarship is awarded to a deserving graduate student conducting research using applied environmental statistics or modelling to study the Great Lakes. Because of the large number of applicants this year, Ashley is sharing the award with a student at another university. The scholarship is awarded based on an application submitted by the graduate student and the supporting recommendations for the student.
The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team placed first at the North-Central regional concrete canoe competition held at Lawrence Tech last weekend. The 35-member team swept the competition in all four categories:
- Technical Paper: The team writes a professional quality design paper detailing the engineering that went into designing our concrete mix proportions, hull design, management techniques, testing procedures, and construction methods.
- Technical Presentation: A group of presenters summarize the Technical Paper into presentation which can be no longer than 5 minutes. The challenge is to condense an entire year of work into a concise and dynamic presentation.
- Races: There are 5 races: 2 person Women’s Sprint, 2 person Men’s Sprint, 2 person Women’s Endurance, 2 person Men’s Endurance, and a 4 person Coed Sprint. Michigan Tech has traditionally excelled in the Race Category and successfully defended all 5 Regional race titles.
- Final Product: The canoe is displayed and judged for aesthetics and compliance with official rules of competition which detail dimensions and materials used in construction.
The team will now move on to the national competition to be held June 17 – 19, 2017 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.
The Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team also placed first overall at the 2017 North Central Regional Competition. They also placed first in three out of the six subcategories including: weight, stiffness, and efficiency. The goal of the competition is to design a 20′ long bridge that optimizes weight, constructability, and deflection under a 2500 lb load. The team will now be headed to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon to compete in the National Student Steel Bridge competition in May.
ASCE and the American Institute of Steel Construction co-sponsor the national competition, which began in 1992 at Michigan Tech University.
Congratulations to both teams on a fantastic job and good luck at the National Competition!
David Hand was the recipient of the Fraternity & Sorority Life 2017 Award for Outstanding Contributions as a Faculty Member at Michigan Tech present on Sunday, April 9, 2017. In her nomination, Ashley Baldes writes:
Dr. Hand is deserving of this award because he shows more dedication to his department and students than I thought possible. I have had the opportunity to have Dr. Hand as a professor in an intro to environmental engineering class and my senior lab, an advisor for Concrete Canoe, and just someone to say hi to when I’m walking through DOW and I see his office door open. As a student, Dr. Hand has shown me what it means to be a good engineer, how great it is to learn, and where that knowledge can take you. When I was a freshman, I took my intro to environmental engineering class with Dr. Hand and he really helped me succeed in college by having professionals talk to us about life in the real world. Now 5 years later, Dr. Hand is still helping us by teaching our senior lab and offering endless chances to meet with him for questions. He has an open line of communication between student and professor and that makes the class content an learning so much more enjoyable. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Hand is just as helpful. He traveled to Traverse City with a group of alumni to show Michigan Tech pride in the Cherry Festival parade and he is always willing to stop and talk. I always feel like I can stop in, say hi, and come out 10 minutes later with a lifetime of knowledge. When I think of my professors here at Michigan Tech, I think of Dr. Hand as he has had such a strong impact on my learning and career choices. Because of that, I believe he is an outstanding faculty member.
Congratulations to Dr. Hand!