Author: Sue Hill

Minakata Group on Reverse Osmosis for Potable Reuse of Water

Environmental Science and Technology

Daisuke Minakata (CEE) and his students with his collaborator, Kerry Howe, at the University of New Mexico published their research findings and a predictive model in Environmental Science and Technology, a premium journal in environmental science and engineering field.

The study developed a group contribution method to predict the rejection of diverse organic chemicals through commercially available Reverse Osmosis membranes for potable reuse of wastewater. Minakata states that this is a significant step to predict the permeability of many diverse organic compounds through membrane technologies based on only given structural information of organics. The paper provides an MS Excel spreadsheet that allows anyone to download and use for the prediction as supporting information.

Minakata comments that the model is useful for water industries, policymakers and regulators that consider the contaminants under the future regulations, water treatment utilities, and educators who can implement this tool in class. From Minakata’s group, one graduate and three undergraduate researchers worked on this project with the support from WateResearch Foundation and internal Michigan Tech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) by Pavlis Honors College. 

https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b06170


Rail Transportation Program Wins National Honor

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) at Michigan Tech has received a prestigious grant from the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC). Each year the NRC accepts applications for the NRC Education Grant Program from colleges and universities with rail education programs.

In addition to Michigan Tech’s RTP, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Rail Transportation and Engineering Center received a NRC Education Grant.

“This year, we had a record number of applications for the 2019 NRC Education Grant Program. All submissions were from top-tier rail programs which made the committee’s job very difficult in deciding our winners,” said Daniel Stout, vice president of STX Railroad Construction Services, and the chairman of the NRC Education Committee. “I am looking forward to having our co-winners, Michigan Tech and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, join us in discussing their respective programs and how they plan to utilize the grand funds at the 2020 NRC Conference in San Diego.”

Rail education at Michigan Tech includes coursework and related rail transportation minor, field trips, research projects, internships, scholarships and hands-on opportunities. The RTP is active in pre-university education sponsoring a Rail and Intermodal program through Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs (SYP).

RTP Director Pasi Lautala (CEE), said the grant funds will be used for enhancing the educational resources available for the Rail Program. These include the construction of a track section on campus and the development of various demonstration tools related to railroad signals. The grant will also support the activities of the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) and the Summer Youth Program.

“We are extremely excited that the NRC recognizes the value of academic programs in securing talent for the future generation of railroaders,” Lautala said.

“The vision of our program is ‘to develop leaders and technologies for 21st-century rail transportation,’ and this grant will allow us to provide improvement that we have considered for several years. We are humbled by NRC’s selection and are looking forward to working more closely with NRC in improving railroad engineering education in the US.”

The NRC 2020 Education Grant application period will open later this spring.


Dickinson County Using Recycled Asphalt In Road Repairs

What happens to old tires once they’ve been discarded? While many may end up in the landfill, in Dickinson County, they may just end up beneath your wheels.

“Being so close to Michigan Tech, we try to take advantage of working with the University on new ideas,” Malburg said.

“This particular project came about because it was something a professor at Michigan Tech had been researching and wanted to study in the real environment. Dickinson put in $250,000, we received a $300,000 grant and Michigan Tech contributed $100,000. That’s relatively unheard of for the University.”

Read more at Radio Results Network, by Jack Hall.

Related:

Recycled tire asphalt in Dickinson County being monitored

“We’re going to be testing it the next 10-15 years. Yes, it does provide greater flexibility, according to the research, especially in colder environments like the U.P.,” said Jim Harris, the superintendent for the Dickinson County Road Commission.

Read more at TV6 FOX UP, by Alyssa Jawor.


Alumni Present at MITA 2020

Taylor (Garbe) Rudlaff and Michael Prast
Taylor (Garbe) Rudlaff and Michael Prast

Recent civil engineering graduates Michael Prast and Taylor (Garbe) Rudlaff presented the work of the Senior Design groups who developed the original concept of a utility tunnel under the Mackinac Straits at the MITA 2020 Annual Conference meeting on January 21-24 in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Mike Nystrom, Executive Director of MITA, the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, participated in the presentation by giving an update of the utility tunnel project and the current political climate impacting the project. Prast and Rudlaff spoke to a packed room of industry representatives who were impressed with the quality of the senior design experience provided by Michigan Tech. Audra Morse encouraged industry members to build partnerships with higher education and use real world projects, just like the utility tunnel under the Mackinac Straits, to bridge the gap between education and industry so that we recruit and retain the best and brightest in our profession.

Bruce Lowing, (80’) received the MITA Honorary Member Designation for his contribution to the construction industry and his service to MITA. To all of our alumni that attend MITA, it was good to see you and thanks for supporting Michigan Tech.

MITA 2020
MITA 2020

Sustainable Highway Construction Guidebook

A guidebook on best practices for selecting sustainable practices for the design phase of highway construction projects has been published by Amlan Mukherjee (CEE) and PhD Candidate Chaitanya Bhat (CEE) as well as Co-PIs Steve Muench, Giovanni Migliaccio, Jessica Kaminsky, Milad Zokaei Ashtiani, and Jeralee Anderson.

Description

Sustainability is often an element that informs decisions made during the planning, programming, and design phases of highway construction projects. However, the construction phase of a highway project is also an opportunity to advance sustainability.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s NCHRP Research Report 916: Sustainable Highway Construction Guidebook provides clear and practical information on what constitutes sustainability in the context of highway construction and how to evaluate any proposed construction practice for its sustainability potential.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Sustainable Highway Construction Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25698.


Jake Hiller Elected President of the International Society for Concrete Pavements

Jacob Hiller
Jacob Hiller

Associate Professor Jake Hiller was elected as president of ISCP, the International Society for Concrete Pavements. The two-year term runs February 1, 2020, to January 31, 2022.

Hiller’s research interests focus on the interaction between materials, mechanics, and performance in concrete pavements. Dr. Hiller also teaches courses in pavements, construction materials, and transportation-related topics

The mission of the International Society for Concrete Pavements (ISCP) is to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and technology related to concrete pavements through education, technology transfer and research at an international level.


Highway Vehicle Platooning Project Funding for Kuilin Zhang

Kuilin Zhang
Kuilin Zhang

Kuilin Zhang (CEE/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $58,556 research and development contract from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

The project is entitled, “Leveraging Connected Highway Vehicle Platooning Technology to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Train Fleeting.”

This is a one-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.