Category Archives: Students

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


Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program Highlighted

Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth ProgramThe Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program that has been running for ten consecutive years was highlighted in the May/June Intermodal Insights, a newsletter by the Intermodal Association North America. The Program is a collaboration between the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech and the Transportation Logistics and Management Program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Engaging IANA’s Next Generation

For 10 consecutive years, the Michigan Technological University and the University of Wisconsin-Superior have jointly hosted the week-long Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program for high school students. The camp attracts nearly 20 young men and women annually from as far away as California, Florida and New York.

After arriving on the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan on Sunday, camp participants get their first look at railroad operations at the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad on Monday. They tour the company’s car and locomotive shops, and climb into the cab of a locomotive.

Read more at Intermodal Operations, Safety & Maintenance Business Meeting 2019 Recap: The Future of Intermodal.
By Pasi Lautala, Michigan Technological University, Richard Stewart, University of Wisconsin-Superior, David Nelson, Michigan Technological University and Daniel Rust, University of Wisconsin-Superior.


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


EWB Travels to Bolivia to Address Roadway Flooding and Erosion.

Michigan Tech Students with Young Community Members
Young community members receive a lesson on how to fly and take pictures with a drone. Pictured: Maria Carpita, Sarah Hirsch, and Travis Durgan.

The Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) Chapter at Michigan Tech has been working with the communities of Santa Barbara and Buena Vista, Bolivia to address the major regional problem of roadway flooding and erosion during the rainy season. When the road becomes impassable, as it frequently does in these months, it can completely cut off community members from access to healthcare, agricultural work, education, and commerce. In May of 2019, five student members and one alumni advisor traveled to Bolivia to assess the situation and the needs of the communities. During their visit, the team utilized drones to topographically map the community and 8 km of road leading to and from Buena Vista. They also met with local government officials to discuss the problem and potential solutions and held an introductory meeting with community members.

 

Students setting up a drone landing.
Students on the May 2019 Assessment Trip stage the Mavic Pro Drone for data collection along an 8-km stretch of road.
Pictured: Sarah Hirsch, Joshua Langlois, Jake Aguado, and Travis Durgan.

In the coming year at Michigan Tech, the team will use the data they collected to design and eventually implement affordable and sustainable solutions, potentially including culverts, drainage ditches, and alternative materials and road resurfacing methods.  EWB-USA community partnerships last for a minimum of 5 years and work to address basic human needs through projects in water distribution, sanitation, energy, agriculture, and transportation infrastructure.


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.


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

2019 North Central Student Conference

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) North Central Student Conference brings together students from 11 universities from Michigan and Ohio to participate in a multitude of events, particularly the Concrete Canoe competition.

Beginning with the 2019 competition year, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is the sole sponsor of all 18 regional Student Steel Bridge Competitions (SSBC) nationwide. Students from 11 universities from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio competed based on the rules established by AISC.

The 2019 conference and competitions took place April 12-14 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Among the attendees were the Michigan Tech Concrete Canoe team and Michigan Tech ASCE Student Chapter’s Steel Bridge team.

Both the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams finished first, qualifying them for the Nationals.

The Steel Bridge team also finished first in the subcategories of stiffness, economy, construction speed, structural efficiency and aesthetics.

The National Finals of the Steel Bridge competition are May 31- June 1 at Southern Illinois University.

The National Finals of the Concrete Canoe competition are June 6-8 in Melbourne, Florida.

Related:

Scaling the Heights: Concrete Canoe Team Prepped for 2018 Regionals

Steeled for Success: A Husky Tradition Forged in Engineering Excellence


Chi Epsilon and ASCE Travel to Wisconsin

A group of five students from Chi Epsilon Honors Society and ASCE traveled to Milwaukee, WI to visit Michigan Tech alumni and see engineers working in the field. The first stop was at the American Transmission Company, where students got a tour of the operations room and a detailed look at the power distribution to the Upper Peninsula. The lecture at this location focused on engineering applications and the challenges engineers face in constructing power distribution.

 

The next stop was Komatsu Mining Corp. where Michigan Tech alumni Jonathon LeCloux greeted the students. The lecture at this location focused on the history of the company and their new sustainable South Harbor Campus. The students were then taken on a tour of the facilities that included heat treating, heavy fabrication, operations, mist collection, VOC handling, and HVAC controls.

 


The third stop was the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility. Here the students learned about the wastewater treatment process and how they make fertilizer called Milorginate from their dried sludge.

 

 

 

 

Finally, the students were able to meet up with Michigan Tech alumni Kevin LaPean at Aquarius Technologies. Here the students gained more understanding of the aeration tanks within the wastewater treatment plant as Aquarius Technologies designs air diffusers. These four stops were incredibly eye opening, and allowed the students to ask questions about career opportunities, and create networking connections.


Faculty and Students Attend 98th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

Students and faculty in pavement materials areas attended the 98th Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting on January 13-17, 2019. Siyu Chen, Xiaodong Zhou, Jiaqing Wang, Lingyun You, Dongdong Ge, Miao Yu, Chaochao Liu, and Junfeng Gao presented at the meeting. Professor Zhanping You presented “The Development of a New Asphalt Mixture Containing Reacted and Activated Rubber and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement via Superpave Mix Design and Marshall Mix Design.”

Tim Colling, Director of the Center for Technology & Training, attended throughout and served on the ANB 25: Highway Safety Performance Committee.

Professor Eric Seagren attended the TRB meeting as a member of the Geo-Environmental Processes Committee (AFP40) to participate in the committee’s annual meeting.

Assistant Professor Zhen Liu (Leo) attended TRB with a visiting student, Peng Gao. Liu presented at the committee meeting of AFP50: Committee on Seasonal Climatic Effects on Transportation Infrastructure. The title of the presentation was “Data-Driven Predictions of Freezing and Thawing Depths with 3D Models.”

Associate Professor Pasi Lautala chaired the AR040 Freight Rail Transportation Committee. He also presented a poster by himself and Alawudin Salim (MS alumnus of Civil Engineering) “A HUMAN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS OF HIGHWAY-RAILROAD GRADE CROSSINGS BASED ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS AND DRIVER DEMOGRAPHICS.”

Sangpil Ko Poster
Sangpil Ko by his poster.

Research Assistant Sangpil Ko presented a poster co-authored by himself, Pasi Lautala, and Assistant Professor Kuilin Zhang on “Log Movement in the Superior Region – Rate and Capacity Based Analysis of Modal Shares.”

Associate Professor Amlan Mukherjee presented on a recently concluded National Cooperative Highway Research Program project involving the development of a Guidebook for Sustainable Highway Construction Practices at the meeting for the TRB Standing Committee on Construction Management (AFH10).

Mukherjee also presented the Michigan Department of Transportation study on “Workflows for Digital Project Delivery in Transportation Construction Projects” at the sub-committee meeting on Information Systems in Construction Management [AFH10(1)], where he serves as Secretary.

Mukherjee and PhD candidate Chaitanya Bhat co-authored a paper on “Sensitivity of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Outcomes to Parameter Uncertainty: Implications For Material Procurement Decision-Making.” The paper was presented at a lectern session by Bhat. It has also been accepted for publication in the Journal of the Transportation Research Record, to be published in 2019. Mr.Bhat presented his research on “Life-Cycle Thinking” in a 3 Minute Thesis event organized at TRB.

Taking advantage of their time in Washington DC, Mukherjee and Bhat, as part of their ongoing research in pavement Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) funded by the Federal Highway Administration, also organized a stakeholder meeting with fellow collaborators among members of the Federal LCA Commons.

Also in attendance were PhD students Qinjie Lyu and Jiaqing Wang.


Senior Design Travels To Grand Rapids To See How PFAS Are Being Removed From Water Supply

The senior design section (CEE 4905) advised by Dr. David Hand and Dr. Eric Seagren traveled on February 1, 2019, to visit the Plainfield Township Water Department’s treatment plant outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The plant is operating a pilot-scale study examining the removal of per- and poly-fluoralkyl substances (PFAS) from their water supply using granular activated carbon (GAC).  PFAS compounds were invented in the 1930s and since then have been manufactured for a variety of uses including: nonstick coatings, stain and water-resistant products, protective coatings, and firefighting foam.  These compounds are very stable in water, are persistent, bioaccumulative, and not known to degrade in the environment.  In 2017, Michigan was one of first states in the country to begin to establish a clean-up standard for PFAS in groundwater when used as a drinking water source.  The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, made up of several state agencies, has worked to identify PFAS contamination in the state.

The purpose of this senior design project is to develop design guidance for the use of GAC for the removal of PFAS chemicals from water supplies.  GAC is a Best Available Technology (BAT) as designated by the USEPA for removal of organic chemicals from water.  In fact, GAC is presently being used in several of the sites identified in Michigan for removal of PFAS compounds.  Design guidance for using GAC for the removal of these compounds is needed as it can provide regulatory agencies, consulting engineers, and water utilities with the tools necessary to effectively and economically evaluate the use of GAC for treatment of these chemicals.  Therefore, the main objectives of this project are to: (1) evaluate the design of the pilot-scale GAC system that has been implemented at the Plainfield Township Water Department’s treatment plant, and (2) to develop a general design guidance for the application of GAC fixed-bed adsorption processes for the removal of PFAS from drinking water.