Category: News

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.


MTTI Members Active at TRB

Members of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) were active at the 2020 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting held recently in Washington, DC.

Tim Colling (CTT) organized and presented at the TRB half day workshop titled “Developments in Low-Volume Road Management”. The presentation was “Asset Management Plans for Low Volume Roads – Why Should I Bother? Colling also attended the committee meeting ANB25: “Highway Safety Performance”, of which he is a member.

Jake Hiller (CEE) attended the International Society for Concrete Pavement’s (ISCP) Open Membership and Board meeting as Vice-President and President-Elect on Sunday evening of TRB.

Sangpil Ko (CEE) gave a presentation on his research “Data-driven Study on the Log Movements for the Upper Midwest: Impact of Rail Car Fleet Size” at the lectern session that discussed on the current research in Agriculture and Food Transportation. He also participated in several poster/lectern sessions including the AR040 Freight Rail Transportation Committee meeting.

Pasi Lautala (CEE) chaired a meeting by the AR040 Freight Rail Transportation Committee. He also participated in the meetings of the Freight Transportation Group Executive Board and Rail Transportation Group Executive Board and presided over two sessions by AR040.

Amlan Mukherjee (CEE) presented on “Best Practices in Life-cycle Assessment of Asphalt Mixtures”, at the International Society of Asphalt Pavements meeting, participated in a collaboration meeting with construction equipment manufacturers hosted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on their ongoing research effort, co-chaired a workshop titled “Evolution of Project Delivery Information Systems: Where We Were and Where We Are Headed”. Mukherjee also serves on standing committee on Construction Management (AFH10), and is a secretary for the sub-committee on Information Systems in Construction Management (AFH10(1)).

PhD student Chaitanya G. Bhat presented two posters co-authored by Amlan Mukherjee at the session Life-Cycle Assessment and Climate Resilience of Pavements. The posters were titled “Technical and Organizational Challenges for the Use of Environmental Product Declarations in Public Procurement” and “Technical and Organizational Challenges to Developing Product Category Rules for Asphalt Pavement Construction”.

Dave Nelson (RTP) attended the AR080, Standing Committee on Highway-Rail Grade Crossings meeting.

Dr. Zhanping You attended the TRB meeting, serving as a moderator of a lecture session on “The Science of Snowfighting” and a poster session on asphalt binders. He also moderated the ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee(BMC).  He accepted a new role as the Vice President of the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP) and co-presented a number of papers and posters such as “Measurement and Modeling of Skid Resistance of Asphalt Pavement: A Review”, “Development of a Tire-Pavement Dynamic Friction Analyzer for Investigation of the Dynamic Friction Coefficient Between Tire and Pavement” and “Fourier Transformation Infra-Red Spectroscopic Analyses of Modified Asphalt Binders”.

A lectern lecture was given by Thomas Oommen (GMES) on “Remote terrain Strength for Mobility Characterization” at lectern Session 1384: Integration of Remote Sensing Techniques and Classical Instrumentation.

CEE student Reihaneh Samsami attended several technical committee meetings and technical sessions.

Prof. Eric Seagren (CEE) participated as the session chair of the lectern session 1116 on “Bio-mediated Enhancement of Transportation Materials and Infrastructure,” which was sponsored by the Standing Committee on Geo-Environmental Processes (AFP40). Prof. Seagren also participated as a member of the AFP40 Committee at their meeting at which he gave a presentation entitled, “Laboratory Simulation of Cold-Weather Fugitive Dust Events at Mine Tailings Impoundments and Mitigation Methods,” co-authored by Drs. Bonnie Zwissler (CEE), Stanley Vitton (CEE), and Thomas Oommen (GMES).

by Pam Hannon


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

Michigan Tech Attends MiCareer Quest Southeast

MiCareerQuest Southeast is one of the most unique opportunities for a student to be exposed to a myriad of Trades and Professions.  Organized, in great part, by Michigan WORKS! and given throughout the state each year, this event is a “hands on”, real world opportunity for high school students to be exposed to over 100 Trades and Professions that they may wish to pursue.  This past November was no exception…over 9,000 students, from surrounding school districts, attended the event.  Ushered into the Suburban Collection Showplace, in Novi, all had a chance to experience what they all could become.

Michigan Tech was in attendance, thanks to the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors, whose booth we shared, to spread the word about Surveying Engineering and Michigan Tech.  One of the few Universities in attendance, we were able to demonstrate what Surveying Engineering is, and what one needs to become a Licensed Professional Surveyor, not to mention all the great opportunities available at Michigan Tech.

Needless to say, it was an exciting opportunity.  One that we look to experience again.

For more information, check out https://www.oakgov.com/advantageoakland/workforce/Pages/Mi-CareerQuest-Southeast.aspx

by Joe Foster, Professor of Practice


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.


Faculty and Students in CEE Attend the 99th TRB Annual Meeting

Students and Faculty in CEE attended the 99th Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, which is known as one of the top conferences in highway engineering worldwide, held on January 12-16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Professor Zhanping You and his research team presented at the meeting. Jiaqing Wang and Dongdong Ge were awarded the “2019 IACIP outstanding graduate student award”, which was set up to reward students with outstanding achievements during the year with a cash award.

Dr. You attended the TRB meeting, serving as a moderator of a lecture session on “The Science of Snowfighting” and a poster session on asphalt binders. He also moderated the ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee(BMC).  He accepted a new role as the Vice President of the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP). He co-presented a number of papers and posters such as “Measurement and Modeling of Skid Resistance of Asphalt Pavement: A Review”, “Development of a Tire-Pavement Dynamic Friction Analyzer for Investigation of the Dynamic Friction Coefficient Between Tire and Pavement” and “Fourier Transformation Infra-Red Spectroscopic Analyses of Modified Asphalt Binders”.

Recently graduated Ph.D. student Siyu Chen presented a poster on “Laboratory Investigation of High Rubber Content in Hot Mix Asphalt Mixtures” and an invited presentation on “Prediction of the Coefficient of Permeability of Asphalt Mixtures Using the Lattice Boltzmann Method” for the ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee.

Ph.D candidate Dongdong Ge presented a poster “The Influence of Aging on the Rutting and Low Temperature Cracking Performance of Rubberized Asphalt Mixture Using the Dry Process” and a TRB presentation on “Consumption of Scrap Tire with Eco-friendly Way.”

Recently graduated Ph.D. student Lingyun You gave an invited ASCE Bituminous Materials Committee presentation on “Advance Chip Seal Tests: Michigan Tech’s Interface and Shear Bond Tests” and an oral presentation on “Feasibility Study of Recycling CRT Glass in Water-Foamed Asphalt Mixtures in Low Volume Roads” in TRB ADC60 Committee.

Ph.D. candidate Xiaodong Zhou presented two posters titled “Discrete Element Simulation of the Internal-structure of Asphalt Mixtures with High Contents of Reacted and Active Rubber” and “Discrete Element Modeling Speedup of Asphalt Mixture Compaction: Effects of the Reduced Material Moduli.”

Ph.D candidate Dongzhao Jin shared his recent study with a poster named “DEM-Based on Asphalt Film Thickness vs. Seal Coat Performance” in the 10th IACIP Annual Workshop organized by the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP).

Recently graduate Ph.D. student Ruizhe Si had a poster presentation on “Shrinkage Behavior of Glass Powder-Metakaolin-Based Geopolymer Under Different Relative Humidity Conditions.”

Tiankai Che presented his research by a poster on “An Erosion Test to Evaluate Moisture Damage of Cement-Treated Base Under Dynamic Water Pressure” in the 10th IACIP Annual Workshop organized by the International Association of Chinese Infrastructure Professionals (IACIP) and an invited presentation of “A New Method for Evaluating Moisture Damage of Asphalt Mixture Under Dynamic Water Pressure.”


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.