All posts by Sue Hill

Smart Rainwater Collection at the Sustainability Demonstration House

Moisture Sensor inserted into the ground.Many people utilize rainwater collection systems to water their gardens, but Rose Turner at the Michigan Tech Sustainability Demonstration House has taken that idea one step further, programming her collection system to deliver water to the garden exactly when it’s needed.

Turner started with a typical rainwater system.

From there, Turner got smart. She put an electronically controlled valve on the end of the spigot, a moisture sensor in the soil of the garden, and connected them using a small programmable computer from Arduino.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Vissers.


Ryan Kibler Presents at Michigan Space Grant Consortium Annual Conference

Ryan Kibler
Ryan Kibler

Last Saturday (Oct. 12, 2019), the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) hosted its 30th Annual conference at the University of Michigan.

CEE graduate student Ryan Kibler gave a talk pertaining to Daisuke Minakata’s (CEE) NSF funding focused on the Initial Photochemical Transformation of Dissolved Free Amino Acids under Sunlit Irradiation in Water. Kibler is currently working under a MSGC Graduate Fellowship Grant that he was awarded in Spring 2019.


Bill Sproule Speaks at Hockeyville in Calumet

Bill Sproule Hockey Historian
Bill Sproule, Hockey Historian

As part of the Kraft Hockeyville celebrations in Calumet, Professor Emeritus Bill Sproule (CEE) has had a couple of busy weeks talking about hockey history. He has done several media interviews, made a community presentation at the Calumet Library on hockey history in the Copper Country and did two book signings.

Sproule and Jeremy Roenick, former NHL player, were guest speakers at the Hockeyville celebration banquet last Wednesday (Sept. 25) and Sproule made a guest appearance and was interviewed during the second intermission of the NBC Sports nationally televised coverage of the Hockeyville game between the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (Sept. 26).

A video summary of Hockeyville Week can be found on the NHL website. Sproule’s new book, “Houghton: The Birthplace of Professional Hockey,” is available at the Michigan Tech bookstores and other local stores, and can be purchased on-line through the Michigan Tech bookstore or Copper World in Calumet.

By Bill Sproule.


Rail Transportation Activity

Michigan Rail Conference 2019

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation and Michigan State University Railway Management programs recently collaborated to execute the seventh annual Michigan Rail Conference.

The event was held at the Henry Center on the MSU campus Aug.7-9, and featured speakers from across the country and across the many disciplines that make up the rail industry.

Ron Batory, the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration was the keynote speaker, and more than 140 people from all aspects of the rail industry participated.

Pasi Lautala, director of Tech’s Rail Transportation Program (RTP) was a speaker for the Local Impacts and Opportunities panel, and David Nelson, senior research engineer from RTP, spoke as part of the Crossing Safety session. Details about the conference including a selection of conference photos are available on the RTP web site.

By the Rail Transportation Program.
MEDA 2019 meeting graphic

National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Conference

Pasi Lautala (CEE) director of Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program gave an invited presentation entitled “Survey of Railway Crossing Research at Michigan Tech” at the National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Conference. The conference had almost 300 participants and took place in Pittsburgh, Aug. 19-22.

Michigan Economic Developers Association Annual Meeting

Lautala was one of three panelists discussing Mobility in Michigan as part of the Michigan Economic Developers Association annual meeting Aug. 16 in Marquette. Lautala also provided testimony as part of the public hearing on “Rail service in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan”, organized by State Senator Ed McBroom and Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany in Marquette Aug. 26.

New Funding

Kuilin Zhang (CEE/MTTI) is the primary investigator on a project that has received a $567,230 contract with the Federal Railroad Administration. This project is entitled, “Developing Safe and Efficient Driving and Routing Strategies at Railroad Grade Crossings Based on Highway-Railway Connectivity.”

Pasi Lautala (CEE) is the Co-PI on this potential two-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Alumnus Ryan Rasmussen Creates a Cool Place to Work

Ryan Rasmussen
Ryan Rasmussen

Ryan Rasmussen, MS, PE, is founder and CEO of Fieldstone Architecture & Engineering, headquartered in Auburn Hills, MI. His business has recently been named on Crain’s Top 100 Cool Places to Work in Detroit. Fieldstone A&E is a full-service architecture, engineering, and interior design solution for big builders.

Rasmussen has BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from Michigan Tech. He established Fieldstone A&E with the following office culture:

Having passion, Opening your mind, Mastering your craft, and Embracing family spirit – known to us as H.O.M.E.

According to Crain’s, this is why Fieldstone A&E is cool:

  • Semi-monthly game night
  • Monthly beer cart Fridays
  • Employees are awarded annually for fulfilling the company’s core values

Read more at the Fieldstone Blog.

St. Patty's Day at Fieldstone
St. Patty’s Day at Fieldstone
Picnic at Fieldstone
Picnic at Fieldstone

Zhanping You on Rubber Technology for Kalamazoo County Road Repair

Binder Spray using a truck

SPOTLIGHT – Road Commission of Kalamazoo County

2018 Scrap Tire Market Development Grantee

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy sent this bulletin at 08/20/2019 10:00 AM EDT

The Road Commission of Kalamazoo County (RCKC) was awarded a Department of Environmental, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Scrap Tire Market Development Grant in partnership with Michigan Technological University (MTU) for scrap tire innovation. An estimated 13,672 scrap tires were recycled on the project, which took a significant amount of coordination with the partners due to its experimental nature.

The project includes the use of new rubber technology never before used in the United States. The project utilized hot rubber chip seal (HRCS) and hot rubber thin overlay (HRTO) on two different segments of W Avenue from the Schoolcraft Village Limits to Portage Road. There were also two conventional chip seal application segments installed as control sections. Each of the four project sections spanned 4,000 feet of West W Avenue.

“The purpose of the project is to evaluate the new reacted and activated rubber and to investigate the applicability of such rubber mainly composed of finely grinded scrap tires. The aim is to create a more cost-effective, long-lasting, safe and environmentally friendly, mixes and surface treatments,” Dr. [Zhanping] You said.

Read more at the EGLE bulletin.


NOAA Grant for Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative

LSSI logoHOUGHTON — The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative has received a grant totaling $74,967, according to Lloyd Wescoat, education program assistant with the LSSI at Michigan Technological University’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at the Great Lakes Research Center.

Michigan Tech, in partnership with the LSSI and Western Upper Peninsula MiSTEM Network, announced the grant earlier this month. The grant is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bat Watershed Education and Training (B-WET).

The funds will support the LSSI – Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for Rural Schools project.

The project will engage 30 K-12 teachers and 1,000 students in Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Ontonagon and Gogebic counties in a variety of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE), and fund school-community partnerships, to plan and implement stewardship projects that address a local need.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Graham Jaehnig.


Pasi Lautala Presents at Summerail 2019

Gateway ArchPasi Lautala (CEE), director of Rail Transportation Program, participated in the Summerail 2019 in St. Louis, MO on July 24-26. Dr. Lautala gave the presentation “Moving Forest Products in Upper Midwest—are there benefits from increased rail movements?” He also chaired the “TRB AR040—Freight Rail Transportation” committee meeting.

The conference is designed to bring together railroad professionals, government officials, and academics to discuss the past, present and future of the U.S. railroad industry.


Seawater Intrusion-Impacted Aquifer Project Funding for Alex Mayer

Alex Mayer
Alex Mayer

Alex Mayer (Civil-Environ Eng / GLRC) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $319,950 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “CBET-EPSRC Efficient Surrogate Modeling for Sustainable Management of Complex Seawater Intrusion-Impacted Aquifers.” This is a potential three-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

Water management in densely populated coastal regions is one of the most pressing sustainability challenges worldwide. Coastal groundwater is especially vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise due to the potential for seawater intrusion into groundwater aquifers. Seawater intrusion has reduced water supply in all coastal regions of the US. This has resulted in high costs to society.

We propose to address this challenge by developing models that are orders of magnitude faster than current models.

These modeling advances will be made in collaboration with water supply agencies, with the goal of increasing the utility of groundwater modeling for coastal communities. Successful development and adoption of these approaches will help agencies tasked with the protection of coastal aquifers devise sustainable management strategies to protect scarce water resources.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Civil Engineering Experiences for Students

Civil Engineering Lift Bridge

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Michigan Tech is hosting a group of over 20 high school students from all around the country this week as a part of their summer educational programs. The students are there on a competitive scholarship, and each student had to apply for a position in the program.

“I don’t know how many people applied, but the kids that are here we’re selected because of the qualities they possess. Every single kid seems to be interested in STEM things and the questions they ask have been pretty impressive to me,” said Tim Barron, the Instructor for the program.

The program focuses primarily on civil engineering with a focus in transportation. The group is scheduled to take field trips all over the U.P to many different spots, including the Soo Locks and the Mackinaw Bridge. Wednesday they got an inside look at Houghton County’s own Portage Canal Lift Bridge.

Read more and watch the video at TV6 News FOX UP, by Jake Swope.

The Michigan Tech story begins at 01:34 in the video.