Category Archives: Research

Concrete Canoe Team is Tenth Overall in 2019 National Finals

Concrete Canoe Team 2019 with their canoe

The 2019 National Finals for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Concrete Canoe Competition took place June 5-9 at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

The students’ efforts to combine engineering excellence and hydrodynamic design to construct water-worthy canoes have culminated in an advanced form of concrete construction and racing technique known as the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering.”

The Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe Team placed tenth overall at the National competition. In addition to their overall finish, they ranked seventh in the oral presentation, 13th in design paper, 11th in display, and eighth in racing. Great job team!

oncrete Canoe Driftwood 2019


TAMC Culvert Project Selected as 2019 Project of the Year, Awarded to CTT

APWA 2018 Award with five people including two recipients

Michigan Tech has experts in innovation making a statewide impact: Chris Gilbertson, PhD, PE, and Scott Bershing, both at the university’s Center for Technology & Training (CTT). Gilbertson, associate director, and Bershing, technical specialist, received a 2019 Project of the Year award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association.

Gilbertson and Bershing were technical experts on the project team led by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council’s (TAMC) Bridge Committee. The Bridge Committee received a charge from the state and responded with the 2018 Michigan Local Agency Culvert Inventory Pilot Evaluation to learn about its county- and city-owned culvert assets.

In seven-months’ time, the project team developed a culvert data collection method and assessment system. They also made updates to Roadsoft, the asset management software developed by the CTT and used by Michigan’s local road-owning agencies. And, they recruited and deployed 49 local road-owning agencies in Michigan to test the data collection and assessment processes on nearly 50,000 culverts.

“The TAMC and Michigan Tech received the award, but the success of the pilot would not have been possible without the efforts of many others around the state,” commented Gilbertson.

Bershing said, “This was a good example of multiple agency cooperation, working together under a tight time frame and deadline to complete the project.” That collaboration helped the TAMC to estimate Michigan’s total number of culverts at 196,000 with a replacement value of $1.48 billion. It also found that Michigan’s local agencies own and maintain 7.3 to 9.2 million feet of culvert assets—or 1,798 miles (the distance from Houghton, Michigan to Miami, Florida)—with most being corrugated steel pipe. Another key finding from the pilot was that a majority—67.2 percent—of culverts held a condition rating of a 6 or better on a 10-point scale.

Participating agencies benefitted not only from the results but also from the processes developed by the project team. These processes gave the agencies useful strategies for managing their assets and guidance for developing proactive management strategies.

“It’s rewarding to be recognized for the hard work we put in on this project”, said Bershing. Gilbertson echoed his colleague, saying, “I’m honored that we were recognized by the APWA for the work that we put into the culvert pilot last year. We are truly thankful to all those individuals who made this possible.”

Gilbertson and Bershing share this recognition with the entire project team and the 49 participating agencies.  Without their support, this culvert project would not have been a success.

The final report for the pilot study is available on the TAMC website: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/tamc/TAMC_2018_Culvert_Pilot_Report_Complete_634795_7.pdf


Steel Bridge Team Places in Top Fifth in 2019 National Finals

Steel Bridge Team at the 2019 Nationals

The 2019 National Finals for the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Steel Bridge Competition took place May 31 to June 1 at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

The student teams are challenged to develop a scale-model steel bridge. The team must determine how to fabricate their bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at the competition.

The Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team placed eighth (out of 41) overall at the National competition. In addition to their overall finish, they ranked fifth in efficiency, sixth in stiffness, and eighth in construction speed. Great job team!

Steel Bridge Team 2019 with their scale model bridge

Related:

Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Teams Finish First at 2019 North Central Regional Competition


Azad Heidari Publishes with the Journal of Hydrology

Dr. Alex Mayer, Azad Heidari and Dr. David Watkins
Dr. Alex Mayer, Azad Heidari and Dr. David Watkins

PhD Candidate, Azad Heidari along with his advisors – David Watkins and Alex Mayer recently published “Hydrologic impacts and trade-offs associated with forest-based bioenergy development practices in a snow-dominated watershed, Wisconsin, USA in the Journal of Hydrology. The journal is a peer-reviewed academic publication that is currently ranked first in Google Scholar in the Hydrology and Water Resource category.


Researchers Model PFAS Treatment

CarbonAlan Labisch, an environmental engineering student, Eric Seagren (CEE), and David Hand (CEE) are featured in a Detroit Free Press article.

Researchers seek PFAS solutions as they try to break down the ‘forever chemical’

It’s a daunting task: How to break down “the forever chemical?”

But scientists across the country are researching, with urgency, ways to bust apart or capture per- and polyflouroalkyl substances, or PFAS. State officials suspect the potentially harmful compound could be contaminating more than 11,000 sites in Michigan, and hundreds more across the country.

In addition, Michigan Technological University is examining how granular-activated carbon filters, the most common solution to dealing with PFS contamination, can be optimized for peak performance at the lowest cost.

“What we’re trying to do is create ways to tell other engineers how they can treat PFAS with granular-activated carbon,” said Alan Labisch, an environmental engineering student working on the project under the supervision of Michigan Tech environmental engineering professor Eric Seagren and professor emeritus David Hand.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press by Keith Matheny.



Zhanping You Applies Asphalt Solution to Dickinson County Roads

Zhanping You
Zhanping You

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) – Researchers at Michigan Tech are working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the Dickinson County Road Commission to test a new type of asphalt.

Zhanping You, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech helped to secure a $650,000 grant which was partially funded by the Michigan EGLE – formerly the DEQ.

It all starts at the asphalt plant, where they’re using the exact same asphalt various aggregates, petroleum and heat. However, there’s one crucial difference. They also add powdered rubber tires. They crush used tires up into a fine powder and through it in the fire.

“We prepared the lab designs for example how much gravel, how much sand, how much rubber and how much asphalt,” Professor You explained. They’ve also determined precisely how thick each layer should be for maximized performance.

Read more at TV6 FOX UP, by Shawn Householder.

Related:

How to Make Sweaty, Freezing, Versatile Bituminous Materials


Culvert Asset Management Selected as Project of the Year

APWA 2018 Award with five people including two recipients

Tim Colling, Director of the Center for Technology & Training, congratulates Chris Gilbertson and Scott Bershing for their leadership with the 2018 Michigan Local Agency Culvert Asset Management Pilot Project. The project was selected as the 2019 Project of the Year by the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). The team was able to complete this project on a tight, legislatively mandated timeframe.

I think this project is a great example of the work that Michigan Tech does working closely with state and local government to support public infrastructure. Tim Colling

Gilbertson and Bershing received the award at APWA’s Statewide Conference on May 23, 2019. The project was forwarded to the APWA National office for competition at that level.

Also winning an APWA award was Zhanping You for his project with Kalamazoo Country Road commission using recycled tire rubber for a chip seal.

Tim Colling
CTT Director Tim Colling
Chris Gilbertson
Chris Gilbertson
Scott Bershing
Scott Bershing
Zhanping You
Zhanping You


Marty Auer Selected to Receive IAGLR Lifetime Achievement Award

Martin T. Auer
Martin T. Auer

The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) has selected Marty Auer (CEE) for their Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been a member since 1975 and a generous donor of IAGLR scholarships. His nomination described Auer’s academic excellence in several areas of research and leadership that has had a positive impact on Great Lakes research.

By Civil and Environmental Engineering.