Category: Research

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.


NSF Research Funding for David Watkins on COVID-19 Project

David Watkins
David Watkins

David Watkins (CEE/SFI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $190,764 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is titled “RAPID: COVID-19, Consumption, and Multi-dimensional Analysis of Risk (C-CAR)“. Chelsea Schelly (SS/SFI), Robert Handler (ChE/SFI) and Charles Wallace (CS/SFI) are co-PIs on this one-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed household dynamics and dramatically changed food, energy, and water consumption within the home. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing has caused U.S. households to shift to working and schooling from home, curtail outside activities, and stop eating in restaurants. Furthermore, as many households face job loss and increasing home utility and grocery bills, U.S. residents are experiencing the economic impacts of the crisis, while at the same time assessing and responding to health risks. The project team has a unique opportunity to study these shifting household consumption and behavioral responses and quantify the associated economic and environmental impacts. The team will collect household food, energy, and water consumption data as well as survey response data from 180 participating households in one Midwestern county and compare it to data collected before the stay-at-home orders were put in place.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


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


How to Succeed as a Freshman

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, a Michigan Tech graduate and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, along with environmental engineering students, Amanda Singer and Jason Mathews, discuss the transition for first year students and tools that can make the transition easier.

Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Singer, A. M., & Mathews, J. (2019, July), Advice from a First Year Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/33674

Extract

Much attention is paid to the transition from high school to college. Students who have recently gone through this transition may have some of the best advice to offer in-coming first year students.

Themes which emerged in this study, which corroborate other research include: time management, utilizing resources, hard work, class attendance, social activates and persevering through lower grades.


Faculty and Graduate Students Attend Triennial 2020 Borchardt Conference

Environmental engineering MS student Rose Turner presenting her poster on PFAS

Environmental Engineering graduate students, Rose Turner, John P Harron, and Benjamin Mohrhardt, along with Dr. Daisuke Minakata attended and presented their research findings at the 25th Triennial 2020 Borchardt conference on Feb. 25 and 26 at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.   Dr. Minakata presented his talk about RO membrane for potable reuse application and his student Rose Turner presented her poster about PFAS prioritization for remediation technology. John P Harron from Dr. Jennifer Becker and Dr. Eric Seagren‘s research group presented a talk about the laboratory-scale evaluation on pathogen and indicator organism in biosolids.  The conference brings together a diverse group of engineers, scientists, public health specialists and students to discuss the latest issues and advances in water and wastewater technology. 


Becker Elected Chair of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Foundation

Dr. Jennifer G. Becker, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, was elected Chair of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Foundation (AEESP Foundation). Becker was elected to the AEESP Foundation Board of Directors in 2019, and her three-year term as Chair of the Foundation began in January, 2020.

The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) is an international organization with over 800 members, most of whom are environmental engineering and science professors. The AEESP Foundation supports and encourages excellence in environmental engineering and science education, outreach, and scientific research by sponsoring a distinguished lecturer series, awarding K-12 educational and outreach grants, and endowing and administering award programs for professors and students.

Becker has a distinguished record of service to the environmental engineering community. She served as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Engineering Committee from 2016 until the committee was retired in 2018. She was elected by her environmental engineering and science academic peers to the AEESP Board of Directors in 2010. While on the AEESP Board of Directors, Becker was also elected to several AEESP officer positions, including President of AEESP (2013-2014).

Becker is one of several current and former Michigan Tech faculty members who have been recognized by the AEESP and the AEESP Foundation for their outstanding achievements in research, education, and/or professional service. The list of awards given to current and former Michigan Tech faculty by the AEESP/AEESP Foundation and/or Environmental Engineering Science (the official peer-reviewed journal of AEESP) include:

C. Robert Baillod (deceased)
2012 Perry L. McCarty AEESP Founder’s Award (received posthumously)


Jennifer G. Becker
1993 AEESP Master’s Thesis Award (First Place, Student with advisor David L. Freedman)
2006 AEESP Master’s Thesis Award (Second Place, Advisor with student Ilisa A. Tawney)
2010 AEESP Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service as Chair of the AEESP Awards Committee
2014 AEESP Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service as AEESP President and AEESP Board Member


John C. Crittenden (Now at Georgia Institute of Technology)
2000 AEESP Outstanding Publication Award (for Crittenden, J.C., Hand, D.W., Arora, H., and B.W. Lykins, Jr., “Design Considerations for GAC Treatment of Organic Chemicals,” J. Amer. Water Works Assn. 79 (1) 74-82, 1987.)


David W. Hand (Emeritus Professor)
2000 AEESP Outstanding Publication Award (for Crittenden, J.C., Hand, D.W., Arora, H., and B.W. Lykins, Jr., “Design Considerations for GAC Treatment of Organic Chemicals,” J. Amer. Water Works Assn. 79 (1) 74-82, 1987.)
2006 AEESP Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering & Science


James R. Mihelcic (now at the University of South Florida)
1988 Paul V. Roberts/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award (Student with advisor Richard G. Luthy)
2002 AEESP Award for Outstanding Environmental Engineering & Science Education
2011 AEESP Master’s Thesis Award Advisor with student Cynthia Shafer) 2018 Charles R. O’Melia Distinguished Educator Award


Judith A. Perlinger (Professor)
2017 Environmental Engineering Science Editors’ Spotlight (for Blaney L., Kandiah R., Ducoste J.J., Perlinger J.A., Bartelt-Hunt S.L. “Trends in Population and Demographics of U.S. Environmental Engineering Students and Faculty from 2005 to 2013,” Environmental Engineering Science. 2016, 33(8): 578-590.)


Eric A. Seagren (Professor) 1995 AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award (Student with advisor Bruce E. Rittmann)


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