Category Archives: Students

Senior Design Project on Aquaponics at the Sustainable Development House

SDH Aquaponics showing a fish in a tankHOUGHTON — Students at Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Sustainable Development House (SDH) have combined fish and plants into a sustainable farming system called aquaponics. The arrangement of pipes and tanks uses plants and bacteria in an inorganic substrate as the filter for fish tank water, creating an organic system that feeds the plants and keeps the fish healthy.

“We just added a ton of new fish Wednesday,” said SDH resident and project manager Rose Turner.

The aquaponic setup is part of Turner’s senior design project at MTU. It’s a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, and has some of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Vissers.

Rose is a senior environmental engineering student from Berkley, Michigan. This is her final semester at Tech and her last semester as the coordinator of the SDH.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Sustainability Demonstration House Facebook page.


7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival was Held Oct. 17th for Gr. 4-8 at MTU Great Lakes Research Center

More than 700 students in grades 4-12 in thirty classes from ten schools in Houghton, Baraga, and Gogebic Counties descended upon MTU’s Great Lakes Research Center on Wednesday, October 17, from 9am to 3 pm, for the 7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival. Students from the following schools participated :  Baraga High School, Barkell Elementary, CLK Elementary, EB Holman School, Houghton Middle School, Ironwood High School, Jeffers Middle School, Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School, South Range Elementary, and Washington Middle School.

Twenty-four different sessions were presented throughout the day, presented by Michigan Tech scientists (including Dr. Audra Morse and Daisuke Minakata’s graduate Student, Ryan Kibler) and graduate students, along with U.S. Coast Guard, Ottawa National Forest, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, BHK AmeriCorps and Copper Harbor Trails Club. See attached list of presenters/locations.

The Water Festival provides an opportunity for students to learn about and celebrate our most precious natural resource – the Great Lakes! A wide variety of topics from science and engineering to creative writing will be presented.  Students attend four 35-minute activities. Some of the topics to be presented include Remotely-Operated- Vehicles, Leave No Trace Outdoors, cleaning wastewater, Careers with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Chemistry of Corrosion, Design a Fog Harvester, and more.

The 2018 Water Festival is coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to present at Water Festival. It was a blast to teach all of the students. Thanks for all your hard work in organizing such a wonderful event. It’s so exciting to see kids getting hands-on experience in labs and introduced to science at a young age.”  – Ryan Kibler, ENVE MS Student


International Senior Design Program Marks 10th Year in Panama

International Senior Design students and instructors at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama. From left to right: Anthony Jaksa, Henrique de Melo e Silva, Erin Lau, Jacob Herzog, Christine Wood, Ryan Olsen, Melody Harmon, Daniel Woodall, Nathan Priest, and David Watkins.
International Senior Design students and instructors at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama. From left to right: Anthony Jaksa, Henrique de Melo e Silva, Erin Lau, Jacob Herzog, Christine Wood, Ryan Olsen, Melody Harmon, Daniel Woodall, Nathan Priest, and David Watkins.

The CEE International Senior Design (iDesign) program traveled to Panama again this year to assist indigenous communities with basic infrastructure needs.  Eight students (6 CEE, 2 ME) divided into two teams and traveled to rural sites in western Panama, where they were hosted by Peace Corps Volunteers.  Students met with community members and collected data for their fall semester senior design projects.  One team is designing a pedestrian river crossing, and the other team is designing improvements to community water systems.  The group also visited the Panama Canal and the biodiversity museum in Panama City.

The trip was led by Professor David Watkins with assistance from Research Engineer Henrique (Kiko) de Melo e Silva.  Professor of Practice Mike Drewyor is helping to mentor the design teams in the fall term.

 

The water team poses with community members and their Peace Corps Volunteer host, Micah Koller (center). Micah is a Peace Corps Master’s International student in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech.
The water team poses with community members and their Peace Corps Volunteer host, Micah Koller (center). Micah is a Peace Corps Master’s International student in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Kelsey Fournier Named a Top 100 Intern

Kelsey Fournier
Kelsey Fournier

Civil engineering undergraduate Kelsey Fournier was selected as one of WayUp’s Top 100 Interns. The winners were selected by 30 percent public vote and 70 percent by a judging panel comprised of human resources and industry experts. Fournier is an intern at Carmeuse Lime & Stone.

Applicants were considered based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of overall performance/work ethic—reliable, punctual, met or exceeded expectations, produced quality work with attention to detail
  • Projects—how he or she contributed to projects, either alone and/or in team situations
  • Learning—intern identified a new skill, abilities and understandings were attained
  • Reflection, personal growth and future plans—the intern is likely to apply how the internship impacted them once back on campus and in the future

WayUp is a job site and mobile app for college students and recent graduates.


Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program Completes Another Successful Michigan Rail Conference

Lake State RailwayFrom Aug. 7 to 9, 2018, the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Michigan State University and a planning team of dedicated rail industry representatives to present the Michigan Rail Conference 2018.

Under RTP’s leadership, the planning committee consisting of rail industry, government agencies and other stakeholders interested in promoting the industry brought together more than 30 speakers and more than 100 participants in Saginaw to focus on the conference theme, “End to End Journeys: Integrating Partners.”

RTP faculty, staff and students led the conference coordination and logistics. Nikkie Johnson (MDOT), and Nicholas Little (MSU), were conference co-chairs, while David Nelson (CEE) and Amanda Kerttu from Michigan Tech were lead coordinators for the program. Two students, Alex Christmas and Kyle Dick, came to Saginaw to assist and to enjoy the conference.

Day one of the conference was capped off with an evening reception at the Lake State Railway’s offices and yard, and featured a train ride to Midland and back on vintage passenger cars brought to the yard specifically for the conference. Day two featured the technical content of the conference at the Saginaw Valley State University conference center. The program included eight plenary and breakout sessions featuring industry experts in a host of passenger and freight-rail topics. The keynote address was given by Jo Strang, senior vice president, Safety and Regulatory Policy from the American Shortline and Regional Railroad Administration (ASLRRA).

The event wrapped up with a full day of field trips featuring stops at a variety of rail served shipping locations and culminating with another train ride, again hosted by Lake State Railway Company, this time from Grayling back to the Saginaw area.

The event provided an excellent venue for discussions and networking across the entire spectrum of rail industry companies and supporters in Michigan.


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.


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.


Zhen Liu Publishes on Multiphysics in Porous Materials

Multiphysics of Porous Materials book cover abstract imageZhen (Leo) Liu (CEE) has published “Multiphysics in Porous Materials,” with Springer. This book is one of the first comprehensive books on the interdisciplinary area of multiphysics, which spans many science and engineering disciplines. The book was developed from Michigan Tech graduate course CEE5870, “Multiphysics in Porous Materials.”

Liu has also been leading the development of the first general learning and networking website for multiphysics: multiphysics.us. The development of both the book and the website was supported by the National Science Foundation and the website is under continuous development with support from the multiphysics software industry.

eBook ISBN 978-3-319-93028-2
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-93028-2
Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-93027-5


Local Students Explore the Aquatic Food Web

Kids and Joan Chadde look at a map while on the RV Agassiz.HOUGHTON — “You guys are going to be working today,” Agassiz captain Stephen Roblee informed a group of excited South Range fourth-graders.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, was a day of scientific exploration for these students, who are among the first to participate in Michigan Technological University’s annual Ride the Waves summer programming.

When not on the water the students focused on lab learning, including examining plankton, bloodworms and demonstrating how a fish might use their swim bladders to impact buoyancy.

MTU students Sara Gustafson, Maya Geiselhart and Ryan Kibler led the lessons and will do so for the summer. All three had experience with similar testing and programs in other areas though MTU has a little extra to offer, they said.

The Ride the Waves outreach program is funded through the Great Lakes Research Center and a grant from General Motors Corporation.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kali Katerberg.


Tech Biosolids Research Featured at National Conference

Jennifer Becker
Jennifer Becker

Jennifer Becker (CEE) and graduate student Karina Eyre participated in the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Conference 2018 (May 15-18) in Phoenix, Arizona. Becker gave an invited presentation entitled “Pathogen and Indicator Organism Inactivation in Class A Biosolids Produced by Low-Tech Methods,” during a session focused on identifying critical research needs related to biosolids, the treated residuals produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Becker and Eyre each gave podium presentations based on ongoing research sponsored by The Water Research Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Eric A. Seagren (CEE) is also a principal investigator on these projects.