Category Archives: Research

2017 RUCUS in Lansing

RUCUS 2017The Center for Technology & Training (CTT) hosted its second annual Roadsoft User Conference of the United States (RUCUS) Nov. 1, 2017, in Lansing. RUCUS was attended by 80 individuals representing 50 Michigan and Indiana road agencies.

Conference attendees looked at a variety of topics including roadway asset inventory, inspection, maintenance and traffic counts; using the Roadsoft Culvert Module, safety, pavement management strategies and project planning. The event also provided attendees with networking opportunities with other agencies and with the CTT staff.

CTT staff attending the conference were Research Engineers John Kiefer, PE and Dale Lighthizer, PhD, PE; Training & Operations Senior Project Manager Christine Codere, CRM Administrator & Software Support Analyst Carole Reynolds, Customer Service & Data Support Specialist Allison Berryman, Principal Programmers Nick Koszykowski and Luke Peterson; Software Engineers Mary Crane, Byrel Mitchell, Mike Pionke, and Sean Thorpe.

A one-day “Introduction to Roadsoft” training was conducted at the conference venue on Oct. 31, 2017.

Also that day, CTT staff provided on-site Roadsoft training and technical assistance for the Van Buren County Road Commission in Lawrence, Michigan; and in Bristol, Indiana for several Indiana road agencies, including the cities of Elkhart, LaPorte, Mishawaka, Goshen and Middlebury; as well as Lake, Laporte, and Elkhart Counties and the Lochmueller Group, Inc..

On Nov. 2, training and technical sessions were held at the Kalkaska County Road Commission and with engineers at Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc. in Shelby Township, Michigan.

Roadsoft is a roadway asset management system for collecting, storing and analyzing data associated with transportation infrastructure. Roadsoft is developed and supported by the CTT with principal funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

By the Center for Technology & Training.


Excellence in Review Award for Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata
Daisuke Minakata

Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) published the 2017 Reviewer Awards on November 7. Among the recipients is Assistant Professor Daisuke Minakata, who received an Excellence in Review Award recognizing his contributions during a single year.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b05472

Dr.  Minakata’s research interests include development of computational tools for various water and wastewater treatment technologies, innovative water treatment technologies, and sustainable energy harvesting technologies. He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers in ES&T, Water Research, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Applied Catalysis, and others.

The peer review process is inherently anonymous, and it is valued because this is how journals ensure that papers published meet their high standard for quality. The purpose of this international award is to celebrate and recognize the reviewers who went the extra distance to write reviews that were truly exceptions.

ES&T is an authoritative source of information for professionals in a wide range of environmental disciplines. The journal combines magazine and research sections and is published both in print and online.


David Hand on Ballast Treatment

Great LakesIn preparing ballast treatment standards, which a federal court ruled inadequate in 2015, the EPA turned to some of the country’s best scientists in the field to help establish a safe number of organisms that could be discharged per cubic meter of water while still protecting the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters from new invasions.

The only thing the panel could agree on is that the fewer organisms allowed to survive in a ballast tank, the better. Beyond that, they were at a loss because, they said, you can’t just pick a magic number and call it safe.

Unless the number you pick is zero.

That is the number Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Phyllis Green aimed for when she learned in 2007 that an invasive virus deadly to dozens of freshwater fish species was creeping toward her rugged, forested island in the middle of Lake Superior.

Green went straight to the captain of the Ranger III, the 165-foot-long ship that ferries park passengers to the island, 73 miles from its home port on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Worried that the ferry might suck the rapidly spreading virus into its ballast tanks while docked at the mainland, she asked if there were any way to disinfect that ballast before it was released into park waters. The captain said no. “What happens,” Green replied, “if I tell you that you can’t move this ship unless you kill everything in your ballast tanks?”

That’s when the brainstorming started. Green’s goal was to try to figure out how to make the Ranger III safe to sail — not in years or even months, but in a matter of days. She sat down with the captain, the ship’s engineer and David Hand, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Hand had worked on water purification systems for the International Space Station that can turn sweat and urine into tap water.

“This,” Hand told the group of the ballast problem, “is not rocket science.”

Two weeks later, Isle Royale’s passenger ship had a crude ballast treatment system that used chlorine to fry viruses and other life lurking in its 37,000-gallon ballast tanks, and then vitamin C to neutralize the poison so the water could be harmlessly discharged into the lake.

Read more at Discover Magazine, by Dan Egan.


Xue and Auer to Forecast Algal Bloom Toxicity

Lake Erie Algal Bloom
Lake Erie Algal Bloom, NASA

Pengfei Xue (CEE/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $68,975 research and development agreement with Ohio State University. Martin Auer (CEE) is the Co-PI on the project “ECOHAB 2017 Linking Process Models and Field Experiments to Forecast Algal Bloom Toxicity in Lake Erie.”

This is the first year of a three-year project potentially totaling $206,907.

By Sponsored Programs.



Pasi Lautala Interviewed on Railway Education

Summer Youth Rail Program

Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program was featured in the INFORMS Railway Applications Section 2017 newsletter. INFORMS is the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The article Railway Education for the 21st Century included an interview with Pasi Lautala (CEE) describing our program’s history and current activities.

Feature Article: Railway Education for the 21st Century

The prize for best student recruiting must go to Michigan Tech, which since 2010 has offered a residential summer rail camp experience to students in the 9th through 12th years (American high school). Michigan Tech is the scrappy underdog of railway education.

How did Michigan Tech become one of the top railway education centers in the United States? It all started with the current program director, Pasi Lautala, who came to Michigan Tech in 1997 as an exchange student from Finland. Faculty members Bill Sproul and Eric Petersen shared a mutual interest in rail, and took an interest in Lautala. In 2002, they invited Lautala back to Michigan Tech to teach some courses in railways and pursue his PhD.

The summer youth program is the jewel of Michigan Tech’s program. Founded in 2010, the program is unique at Michigan Tech, because unlike other youth programs at Michigan Tech, it attracts students from all over the United States (Michigan Tech is otherwise strictly a regional school). At its peak under NuRail funding, the program offered 100% scholarship and enrolled a capacity group of 25 students. Today, without NuRail funding, the program offers 50% scholarship and enrolled 14 students last year.

The industry has to change, it has to modernize. Pasi Lautala

Director Pasi Lautala says the student body at Michigan Tech is a good match to the railroad industry, because its students are very hands on, engineering focused, and outdoors oriented, “Railroad people need to drive big trucks and shovel snow.”

Read more at the INFORMS newsletter of the Railway Applications Section, by Steven Harrod.


Environmental Engineering Undergrad Selected as a Portage Health Foundation Intern

Rose Turner

Rose Turner, a senior undergraduate student in environmental program, has been selected as a Portage Health Foundation Intern through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program. Rose will work with Dr. Minakata investigating the treatment feasibility of polyfluorinated carbons using sulfate radicals in advanced oxidation process. Polyfluorinated carbons have been found in nation’s drinking water and one of emerging water contaminants. Rose will present her research findings at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in March 2018.

 




You, Students Travel to Minnesota

Zhanping You MnROAD
Zhanping You at MnROAD Grand Opening in Minnesota

Zhanping You (CEE), students Siyu Chen, Fangyuan Gong, Ran Zhang, and visiting scholars Songtao Lyu and Chundi Si attended the National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) Grand Opening at MnROAD Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

You received a plaque from Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle for Associate Member Michigan Tech Transportation Institute. US Rep. Tom Emmer and Zelle joined the event.

Zelle, Deputy Commissioner Susan Mulvihil and associate members of NRRA cut the ribbon with Rep. Emmer.

MnROAD, located near Albertville, Minnesota, is a pavement test track consisting of various combinations of road-building materials and designs. MnROAD collects pavement field data with thousands of sensors located in each test section. A tour of MnROAD Low Volume Road was shown by the MnROAD staffs.

PHOTO GALLERY