Category Archives: Research

CTT Hosts 2018 Roadsoft User Conference

RUCUS 2018 banner text

The Center for Technology and Training (CTT) hosted its third annual Roadsoft User Conference of the United States (RUCUS) Sept. 26, 2018, in Grand Rapids. RUCUS was attended by more than 70 persons representing road agencies in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Conference topics included roadway asset inventory, inspection and maintenance; using the Roadsoft culvert, drainage structure and sidewalk modules; and safety, pavement management strategies and project planning. The event also provided attendees with networking opportunities with other agencies and with CTT staff.

Those CTT staff attending the conference were Research Engineer Pete Torola, PE and Dale Lighthizer, PhD, PE; Senior Project Manager Gary Schlaff; Training and Operations Senior Project Manager Christine Codere; Technical Specialist Scott Bershing; Customer Service and Data Support Specialist Allison Berryman; Principal Programmers Nick Koszykowski and Luke Peterson; Senior Software Engineers Mary Crane, Nancy Moore and Mike Pionke and Software Engineer Sean Thorpe.

A one-day “Introduction to Roadsoft” training was conducted at the conference venue on Sept. 25. The training provided an overview and instructions on using the following Roadsoft features: map interface, legends, filters and reports; road, sign and culvert modules; data collection using the laptop data collector; safety analysis using crash data; data management and numerous tips and tricks.

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.


Civil and Environmental Engineering Recognized for Safety Efforts

CEE Safety shows people wearing hard hats in the labThe Office of Environmental Health and Safety announced the first of two inaugural Excellence in Safety awards for the 2019 academic year.

This year’s academic recipient is the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. CEE is being recognized for the efforts of its Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Committee. The committee, comprised of Stan Vitton, Chris Wojick, Dave Perram, Lisa Cunard, Kiko de Melo e Silva, Jake Hiller and Noel Urban, worked to become campus leaders in both online training and self-inspection. The committee developed a training matrix that matches specific lab hazards to training titles in the PureSafety system, and was one of the first departments to adopt the SafetyStratus system for department-level lab inspections.

CEE thanks Chair Audra Morse for her support of the committee’s excellent work, and all of the employees of CEE for their ongoing commitment to safety.

By Environmental Health and Safety.


MDOT Contracts for CTT

TAMC website screenshotTim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $219,311 contract from the Michigan Department of Transportation. Pete Torola (CEE) and Chris Gilbertson (CTT/CEE) are the Co-PIs on the project “2019 Transportation Asset Management Council Education Program Work Plan.” This is a one-year project.

Tim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $118,203 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Mary Crane (CEE) is the Co-PI on the project, “2019 Transportation Asset Management Council Technical Assistance Activities Program.” This is a one-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council Releases Culvert Pilot Report

Two workers are measuring a culvert.

The Center for Technology and Training (CTT), part of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), assisted the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) with a local road agency culvert data collection pilot funded under House Appropriation Bill 4320 (S-3) which provided $2,000,000 toward the effort of estimating the quantity and condition of local road agency-owned culvert assets in the state.

The CTT worked with the TAMC Bridge Committee to develop a work plan that would establish the number of local road agency-owned culverts in the state, estimate the overall condition of culverts, estimate the cost to replace culvert assets, benchmark agency labor required for establishing a culvert inventory and estimate the agency labor associated with periodic condition evaluation of culverts.

The CTT worked with 49 local road agencies that collected data on nearly 50,000 culverts over a 13-week period. They also provided technical assistance and training on the Roadsoft Culvert Module and a modified Federal Highway Administration Condition Evaluation rating system. The CTT final report was recently submitted to the Governor’s office and is available on the TAMC website.

Read the Report

By the Center for Technology & Training.


Zhen Liu on Intelligent Infrastructure

Zhen Liu
(Zhen) Leo Liu

HOUGHTON — Technology is quickly changing the world. Soon, self-driving cars and smartphones could be joined by smart infrastructure, if one Michigan Tech professor has anything to say about it.

Zhen Liu, an environmental engineering professor with a focus on geotechnical engineering is currently exploring, and trying to get research funding for, the idea of intelligent infrastructure.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kali Katerberg.


Amlan Mukherjee Receives Funding for Transportation Project

Amlan Mukherjee
Amlan Mukherjee

Amlan Mukherjee (CEE/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $75,001 contract from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The project is “MnDOT EPD Study Phase 1.” This is a one-year project

New Funding

Amlan Mukherjee (CEE/MTTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $46,999.94 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The project is titled “A Survey of Best Practices and Opportunities in Using Digital Models for Highway Project Delivery.” This is a two-month project.


NSF Funding for Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata
Daisuke Minakata

Daisuke Minakata (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has recieved a $347,808 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. Paul Doskey (SFRES) is the Co-PI on the project, “Photochemical Fate of Dissolved Amino Acids in Natural Aquatic Enviroment.” This is a three-year project.

ABSTRACT

This award from the Environmental Chemical Sciences Program in the Division of Chemistry supports Profs. Daisuke Minakata and Paul Doskey from Michigan Technological University. They study the reactions of free amino acids in natural freshwater with light. Understanding and predicting these processes is important because nitrogen-containing free amino acids and their degradation products are involved in global nitrogen-cycling. They also affect biological activity in natural aquatic environments. The effluent of wastewater contains amino acids as one of the major components. The findings from this study address the impact of nitrogen-containing contaminants to aquatic systems that receive treated municipal wastewater. The project includes outreach activities to K-12 high school students in the Detroit region through a summer youth intern program. This program promotes the participation and retention of underrepresented groups in the environmental science field. A webinar is being developed based on the findings of this study to raise public awareness of water safety and security in freshwater systems and the importance of protecting ecosystems from contaminants.

This award supports computational and experimental research and education to predict the photolytic and elementary reaction pathways of free amino acid transformation. This transformation is induced by direct photolysis and indirect oxidation by photochemically produced reactive intermediates. The researchers use computational chemistry tools to identify the fundamental elementary reaction pathways of representative free amino acids transformation. The research team then predicts the kinetics information of each identified elementary reaction pathway. Finally, a kinetic model based on elementary reactions is developed to predict the time-dependent concentration profiles of free amino acids and their transformation products in environmentally relevant conditions. The predicted concentration profiles are compared to laboratory-scale experimental observations to validate the kinetic model.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Zhanping You
Zhanping You

A team from Michigan Tech recently traveled to Kalamazoo and Muskegon counties in Lower Michigan to conduct field research with recycled rubber materials from scrap tires. The research group was led by Zhanping You (CEE) with students Siyu Chen, Dongdong Ge, Isaac Pantti and Brock Rudlaff.

The Kalamazoo project was a result of a joint effort of the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County (RCKC), Michigan Tech and others. Joanna I. Johnson, managing director of RCKC and You jointly applied for funding through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) Scrap Tire Development Grant program. For the project, four test sections were contructed—hot rubber thin overlay (HRTO), conventional thin overlay, hot rubber chip seal (HRCS) and conventional chip seal.

Chip seal consists of a spray-on asphalt emulsion covered with aggregate chips, while overlay involves a new layer of an asphalt mixture on a milled surface. The experiment included the addition of scrap-tire rubber to improve the property of the asphalt mixture. This could provide a longer sustainable pavement and another application for recycled tires.

“The purpose of the project was to evaluate the new reacted and activated rubber to investigate the applicability of such rubber, mainly composed of finely grinded scrap tires,” You says. “The aim is to create more cost-effective, long-lasting, safe and environmentally friendly mixes and surface treatments,” This was the first time such a product was used in the United States according to You.

He says preliminary results, on a three-mile test section, show HRTO provided a smoother and quieter surface compared with a traditional overlay. The HRCS posed challenges to properly applying the material at the beginning of the project.

The Muskegon County project included emulsified rubber asphalt chip seal and conventional chip seal for a county road. Again, the work was funded by the Scrap Tire Development Grant program. Paul Bouman, highway engineer with the Muskegon County Road Commission, has worked closely with Michigan Tech researchers over the years and helped identify the test sections.

You says, “the bond strength between the chip seals and the old pavement will be evaluated under various temperature and freeze-thaw conditions. Samples from these field projects will be tested in asphalt materials laboratories at Michigan Tech, in order to better understand the road performance with these rubber materials.”

New Funding

Zhanping You (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $75,000 research and development grant from the Dickinson County Road Commission. Qingli Dai (CEE) and Siyu Chen are Co-PIs on the project “Using Rubberized Overlay to Maintain High Volume Traffic Road in Dickinson.” This is a 15-month project.


Torch Lake Study Funding for Cory McDonald

Cory McDonald
Cory McDonald

Cory McDonald (CEE/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $39,932 research and development grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The project is titled, “Torch Lake AOC Benthos Monitoring.” This is a nine-month project.

AOC is an Area of Concern, a location that has experienced a high level of environmental degradation and is so designated under the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.


Water Resources Recovery Presented at Disinfection and Reuse Symposium

Disinfection and Reuse Symposium 2018 banner imageJennifer Becker (CEE) was recently invited to present a paper entitled, “Low-cost, low-tech biosolids treatment via combined long-term storage (lagoon) and air drying: A comparison of two pilot-scale studies,” at the Water Environment Federation’s 2018 Disinfection and Reuse Symposium in Portland, Oregon. The symposium took place July 29 – July 31.

The paper, co-authored by Eric Seagren (CEE) and graduate students Karina Eyre (CEE) and Tanner Keyzers (Bio Sci), highlights pilot-scale work performed in collaboration with the water resources recovery facilities in Houghton and Ironwood.

The symposium is designed to educate practitioners, facility owners, operators, researchers, and public administrators about current reuse and disinfection issues, including regulatory requirements and methods for analyzing problems and finding innovative solutions. It is held by the Water Environment Federation in cooperation with the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association and The Water Research Foundation.