Author: Sue Hill

Funding Opportunity for Rail Transportation/Railroad Engineering Research

Rail

The Federal Railroad Administration recently released a Broad Agency 2021 Announcement (BAA) research program opportunity. Michigan Tech researchers from several departments have had great success in these projects in the past. To date, we’ve received over $2 million in funding for five projects. In addition, the three proposals from BAA 2020 listed below are expected to be awarded in near future.

  • Railroad Crossing Vehicle Warning (RCVW) Application Demonstrations with Connected Vehicles ($380,705)
  • An Integrated and Automated Decision Support System for Ground Hazard Risk Mitigation for Railway ($694,922)
  • Expanding Summer Youth Programs through Virtual Learning and a National Campus Network ($474,695)

Anyone interested in expanding their research portfolio to railway research topics is encouraged to:

  • Review the topics of interest by the FRA (Appendix C)
  • Watch a short video on the program by Pasi Lautala, Director of Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program here (passcode: FRA-BAA2021)
  • Contact Pasi Lautala to discuss potential topic ideas and/or
  • Develop a brief, max. one page idea summary and send it to Lautala ASAP, but no later than April 30

We will send all project ideas to FRA for an early feedback and submit full concept papers (max. five pages) on those recommended by the FRA. After review, FRA will request full proposals on those concept papers they are interested in funding.

Feel free to contact Lautala if you have any questions or need additional clarifications … and feel free to distribute this information to your colleagues who might be interested.

By Pasi Lautala.

Update on Experimental Asphalt Road in Dickinson County

Feet walking near asphalt.

A stretch of County Road 607 in Dickinson County paved with an asphalt mix that uses pieces of old tires is now being tested, almost two years after it was installed.

Lab experiments conducted at Michigan Tech by Zhanping You (CEE) and his research team have found the performance has improved over the last two years. Monitoring will continue for ten or more years. The project was a collaboration with You’s research team, the Michigan EGLE, and the Dickinson County Road Commission.

The story was covered by several media outlets including MI EnvironmentPublic Radio 90WLUC TV6 and ABC10.

Over the past two years, Michigan Tech Students have been gathering results and samples, of this road, from different testing sites.

WLUC TV6

Rail Transportation Program Offers First-year Scholarships

Rail Transportation Program

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program announces it will offer four scholarships to first-year students interested in learning more about the rail transportation industry.

The scholarships are open to all disciplines. The application process is simple. Complete the application form you can find on our web page and submit it to David Nelson by March 5.

The application includes a short essay where you can tell our judges how you think you might fit into the industry.

The rail industry has cutting-edge jobs in all areas, from communications and controls to power systems, to business applications and construction.

Contact David Nelson if you want to talk about where the industry could take you!

Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program Awards Scholarships

BoFa Saldana
BoFa Saldana, ECE
Stanton Schmitz
Stanton Schmitz, CEE
Justin Micillo
Justin Micillo, CEE

The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the Rail Transportation Advisory Board (RTAB) are proud to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 scholarships to support students with their studies at Michigan Tech.

We had several great applications that complicated the work of our selection committee. In addition to the two scholarships funded through a generous endowment by CN Railway, RTP awarded one scholarship funded by the RTP Alum/Friends for the first time in the program’s history.

CN Railway Scholarship winners ($1,500 each) are:

  • Justin Micillo, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Stanton Schmitz, Civil and Environmental Engineering RTP

Alumni/Friends winner ($1,500) is:

  • BoFa Saldana, Electrical and Computer Engineering

“I would like to thank you all for selecting me as a recipient of the 2021 Rail Transportation Program Scholarship. I was thrilled to find out that I had been picked to receive this award. I am grateful and extremely appreciative of this support. This is something that will help me complete many goals as a student here at Michigan Tech as well as in my future career in the rail industry. This scholarship gives me that much more motivation to complete these goals! Again, thank you for this generous contribution” Saldana said.

Congratulations to the winners. Browse the current and past RTP scholarship winners and RTP Scholarships. Learn how to donate to the program/scholarships.

Rail Industry Scholarships

By Pasi Lautala.

David Perram Creates a Legacy

David Perram
David Perram

The Staff Council is celebrating the 2020 Staff Council Making a Difference awards winners. Among the winners is David Perram, Senior Research Engineer/Scientist, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Legacy Award

David’s nominator says “In the past 30+ years that he has been with the Department, he has been an integral part of the environmental engineering laboratories. His technical expertise and professionalism have made him an indispensable resource for faculty and students for teaching and research laboratory assistance. He has provided the expertise and chemistry knowledge that are needed to assist faculty and graduate students in setting up their experimental systems. In fact, without his commitment to the program, it would not be possible for faculty to successfully conduct laboratory intensive research.”

“In the past 30+ years that he has been with the Department, he has been an integral part of the environmental engineering laboratories.”

Dave’s nominator

A letter of support says “In Dave’s 38 years at Michigan Tech, he has made significant contributions toward the University’s research status while at the same time mentoring and providing support for colleagues and numerous graduate student teaching assistants.”

Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program Hosts Midwest Virtual Rail Conference 2020

MRC Midwest Rail Conference

On Aug. 11-12, The Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program, in cooperation with the NURail Consortium and TRB Committee AR040, hosted the Midwest Rail Conference on a virtual platform.

Originally planned for Schoolcraft College, the conference was forced to an on-line platform by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. In spite of the issues, the conference moved forward with a slate of more than 30 speakers, covering issues from across the rail industry.

The final tally included nearly 300 participants. Trains Magazine produced an article recognizing the conference and one of the 10 conference sessions.

Given the short time to switch from a live to virtual format, this conference was a huge success.

By David Nelson, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

NSF Funding for Daniel Dowden on Seismically Resilient Mass-Timber Buildings

Daniel Dowden
Daniel Dowden

Daniel Dowden (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received $204,514 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is entitled, “NHERI Tailwood 10-Story Test Building Shake-Table Payload Research Project: Low-Damage Uplift Friction Damper for Seismically Resilient Mass-Timber Buildings.” This is a two year project.

Extract

This award will investigate a low-damage solution for cross-laminated timber (CLT) seismic force-resisting systems (SFRSs) using a novel uplift friction damper (UFD) device for seismically resilient mass-timber buildings. The UFD device will embrace the natural rocking wall behavior that is expected in tall CLT buildings, provide stable energy dissipation, and exhibit self-centering characteristics. Structural repair of buildings with these devices is expected to be minimal after a design level earthquake. Although CLT has emerged as a construction material that has revitalized the timber industry, there exists a lack of CLT-specific seismic energy dissipation devices that can integrate holistically with the natural kinematics of CLT-based SFRSs.

Project data will be archived and made available publicly in the NSF-supported NHERI Data Depot.

Built World Enterprise Team Wins National Competition

Built World Enterprise logo.

A Michigan Tech team, Built World Enterprise (BWE), earned first place in the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) student design competition. The team’s winning submission in the Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions design category was “Runway Intersection Marking.” 

In making the announcement, the ACRP said “The students’ innovative design brought many technologies together in an affordable system for mid-size and general aviation airports.”

The selection was made from 63 entries by a panel of industry, FAA and academic experts. For its winning entry, BWE will receive a $3,000 award which will be divided among the student team members.

First-place teams will receive their awards and present their work at the Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC, October 19, 2020. The students will also present their designs at the Airport Consultant Council’s Airport Technical Workshop as a keynote presentation. In addition, they will be given the opportunity to present their winning proposal at an industry professional conference or workshop in fall 2020.

Additionally, Michigan Tech received a second-place award in the Airport Environmental Interactions Challenge, with a $2,000 prize. A list of all winners can be seen on the ACRP website.

BWE addresses challenges typically solved by civil and environmental engineers, including designing infrastructure and solving waste management problems. The team’s advisor is the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair Audra Morse.

Morse said the win was a strong start for the new Enterprise team and for the University

“All BWE teams strove to create realistic design alternatives to address airport issues; however, this team excelled in understanding the true root causes of runway incursions. The winning team members, Lindsey Anderson, Skylar Callis and Kaitlyn Wehner, moved beyond purely technical to incorporate human factors into their design, which is why I believe their design was so well received. Thanks to Bill Sproule, Kelly Steelman, and Brett Hamlin for assisting the team on their win. They could not have done it without their help.”

The Transportation Research Board is a program unit of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine — private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine.

Audra Morse Joins the Environmental Engineering and Science Foundation Board

Audra Morse
Audra Morse

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair Audra Morse has joined the Environmental Engineering and Science Foundation (EESF) board.

The EESF was established to promote and recognize excellence in environmental engineering and science as well as support key strategic objectives of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists®.

Former CEE Chair Vernon Watwood Passes Away

Vernon Watwood
Vernon Watwood

Professor Emeritus Vernon Bell Watwood Jr. passed away suddenly June 4 in Tucson, Arizona.  He taught in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 1973 until his retirement in 1997. In addition, Watwood served as CEE Department Chair.

According to his obituary in the Daily Mining Gazette, Watwood was born in Opelika, Alabama, in 1935. After graduating from Auburn University, he served in the Navy and continued his education at Cornell University and the University of Washington. Watwood’s research involved finite element modeling, equilibrium finite elements with present emphasis on 3D applications, force method procedures, and mining machinery structural analysis.

His wife of 62 years, Patricia, three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild are listed among the survivors. A private prayer service was held Saturday (June 13) at the Christ Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, with the family on Zoom.