Category: Seminars

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Virus Removal from Water and Bioterapeutics

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar: Monday, December 1, 2014, 3-4 PM, GLRC 202, Public Welcome
Speaker: Dr. Caryn L. Heldt
Title: Virus Removal from Water and Bioterapeutics

The removal of viruses can save millions of lives through the creation of safe drinking water and reducing the cost of biotherapeutic production to increase access to live saving drugs. In order to create more robust virus removal methods, we need to better understand the surface characteristics of viruses. The most well-known surface characteristic of viruses is negative charge. To take advantage of this, we created filtration membranes with a positively charged polymer. An ideal virus removal membrane would have low transmembrane pressure, high water flux, high pathogen removal, and have a long, workable lifetime. To provide these qualities, we created a nanofiber filtration material that has a microporous structure for high water flux and low transmembrane pressure. Viruses adsorbed to the high surface area nanofibers through electrostatic interactions for virus removal. A lesser-known surface characteristic of viruses is hydrophobicity. We have evidence that viruses are hydrophobic and therefore, we have explored novel flocculants for virus removal that take advantage of virus hydrophobicity. We have been able to remove two viruses with theses flocculants, and we continue to explore the effect of other viruses in our flocculant system. The flocculant system is more applicable to the removal of viruses from biotherapeutics, but other flocculants, based on hydrophobicity and are less expensive, could be applied to water treatment.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Analysis of Pile- Supported Slabs under Concentrated loads

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Thursday 30th October, 2014; Dow 642, 4 – 5 pm

Aneesha Reddy, Current Graduate Student, Civil Engineering, Michigan Tech

Presentation Topic: Analysis of Pile- Supported Slabs under Concentrated loads
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of:
Master of Science in Structural Engineering
Submitted to the University of East London on 27th September, 2013

The purpose of the project is to find out the maximum loads that can be applied to pile-supported ground floor slabs while complying with the critical slope requirements of TR34. A numerical analysis of pile supported ground floor slabs under unit point load of 1KN is performed using STAAD.Pro. The parameters varying for this research are thickness of the slab (150mm, 200mm, 250mm and 300mm), the span lengths of the slab (3m, 4m, 5m and 6m) and the panel type on which the point load is applied (Interior, edge and corner panels). The maximum deflections obtained for each slab are used to calculate critical slopes formed on the respective slabs. The critical loads calculated are compared to the permissible slopes given by TR34. The maximum loads to be applied on the slab are calculated and design charts are created for FMA Property I and DMA for Property I and II. These design charts can be used to directly find out the maximum concentrated load that can be applied.

Civil Engineering Seminar: Uncertainty in Civil Engineering Design

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Speaker: Dr. William Bulliet, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Michigan Tech
Thursday, October 23, 2014; 4:05 – 5:00 PM Dow 642 Public Welcome

“Uncertainty in Civil Engineering Design”

Civil engineering design includes many uncertainties, some of which are obvious and some of which many engineers may never have consciously considered. The level of uncertainty for civil engineering systems, mostly non-prototypical engineered systems, is larger than smaller scale engineered products because prototype testing is not possible. This presentation will examine the uncertainties facing engineers who design non-prototypical engineered systems and consider the ways that engineers have developed to manage those uncertainties in a manner that allows design decisions to be made. Uncertainty in design is impossible to escape, and the way it is managed affects both engineers and society. The way engineers approach uncertainty has philosophical, technical, and even ethical implications for the design and construction of civil engineering systems.

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Rubbish, Stink and Death in the Developing World: Déjà Vu All Over Again

oct20ENVE5991 Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar: Monday, October 20, 2014
GLRC 202, 3-4 pm
Steven C. Chapra, Professor and Berger Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
Tufts University

Title: Rubbish, Stink and Death in the Developing World: Déjà Vu All Over Again
A reception will follow the seminar.

This talk traces the origin and evolution of engineering-oriented water-quality control and management. Three attributes of polluted water underlie human concern for water quality: rubbish (aesthetic impairment), stink (ecosystem impairment), and death (public health impairment). The historical roots of both modern environmental engineering and water-quality management are traced to mid-19th century London when British engineers and public health workers worked to control and manage the major water-quality problems derived from urban wastewater. The talk then turns to current and future conditions in the developing world. In particular, striking parallels are observed between the 19th-century Dickensian slums of Europe and North America and the current water-quality crises in the burgeoning mega-cities of the 21st century.

The last part of the talk focuses on how hydroepidemiological models could prove useful in mitigating and managing waterborne diseases in modern urbanized rivers. We have combined two well-established models: a pathogen fate and transport model and an epidemic model to predict the outbreak and progression of diseases caused by waterborne pathogens along an urbanized river channel. The fate and transport model predicts the transport and evolution of the pathogen in the river system, and the epidemic model predicts the outbreak of the disease once populations along the river have ingested that contaminated water. The communities then act as pseudo-incubators for the disease, effectively increasing the amount of pathogen in the river channel. A combined model provides a more holistic view of the waterborne infectious disease paradigm through the inclusion of a river and a human population component. We provide a case study for this model by examining the Cholera outbreak in Haiti in October 2010, and calibrating the model to the Artibonite River that runs through Haiti. This case study has provided confirmation of our model results to a certain extent. The model can serve as a decision support system to determine the best management practice and public health interventions, and also may be used to in response to bioterrorism attacks. If used effectively, these hydroepidemiological models will lead to improved access to safe water and sanitation worldwide by serving as a tool to educate and guide decision making for water resource engineers and public health practitioners alike.

Rail Transportation Seminar: Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology

sep8Rail Transportation Program and Environmental Engineering Geologists AEG Michigan Tech Student Chapter present Dr. Pauli Kolisoja Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland presented a seminar on rail research at TUT at Michigan Tech on Monday, Sept. 9, 12-1 p.m. at DOW 875. He also gave the presentation September 9, for the Civil Engineering Seminar Fisher 10 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club’s first general business meeting

The title of the seminar is: “Railway Track Structures Research at Tampere University of Technology”

The Railway Track Structures Research Team at Tampere University (TUT) of Technology consists of about 10 researchers. The research area includes track components from subsoil stability through the structural layers to sleepers, rails and wheel-rail contact. Essential parts of the research area are also bridges and the life cycle and monitoring of track structures. The main emphasis of activity is experimental research based on diverse arrangements from laboratory scale material analyses to field measurements and full-scale loading tests. Research methods are complemented by calculation analyses of performance of structures and literature reviews of international research results. The basis of the on-going track structure research is the Life Cycle Cost Efficient Track research programme (TERA) implemented in co-operation with the Finnish Transport Agency. This presentation provides an overview of research projects conducted at the TUT and related outcomes.

See Railway Track Structures Research Video

Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala,  Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech
Thomas Oommen, Michigan Tech, Pauli Kolisoja, Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Pasi Lautala, Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Tech

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Nuts and Bolts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

Nuts and Bolts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development
including all you might like to know about the technology and practice of hydraulic fracturing
Wayne D Pennington, Interim Dean, College of Engineering, Michigan Technological University
Mon Mar 24, 2014 3pm – 4pm, Dow 642

Over the past couple of decades, technology has been developed to produce oil and gas from geological formations that had been overlooked previously due to the lack of appropriate engineering techniques for those types of formations. As a result, the energy picture for the USA and for the world has been seriously modified, and the impact is being felt.
These “unconventional” deposits contain hydrocarbons in significant quantities, but they were locked up in microscopic pores that were at best poorly connected to each other, limiting or preventing flow through the rocks. Existing technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing (in use since 1948) and extended-reach horizontal wellbores were used independently, and then merged, for a highly successful, efficient, and safe method of oil and gas production.
The geologic formations, and the production techniques used in each, that are described in this presentation include: (a) “tight” gas sandstone deposits (produced through multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing in vertical wells); (b) coal deposits (methane produced by drawing down water pressure to release gas from the coal structure; also the source of many “flaming faucets” from domestic water-wells); and (c) shale deposits (generally using multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells).

Steven C. Bower: “Michigan DOT Research Program Past Successes-Future Opportunities”

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Michigan DOT Research Program
Speaker: Mr. Steven C. Bower, Engineer of Research, Michigan Department of Transportation
“Michigan DOT Research Program Past Successes-Future Opportunities”
This seminar was held on March 20, 2014. Mr. Bower reviewed some of the past research successes of the Michigan Department of Transportation as well as its research priorities for the next several years. Additionally, he outlined the process that is used to develop the State’s needs and prioritization for transportation infrastructure. He is a 1984 Civil Engineering alumni of Michigan Tech.
A social hour sponsored by the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute followed at the Great Lakes Research Center.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Characteristics of Railway Operation and System Design

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; 4 – 5 PM, Feb 13, 2014 in Dow 642;
Mr. Ulrich Leister of SMA Partner AG, Zurich, Switzerland, presents: Characteristics of Railway Operation and System Design

Ulrich Leister obtained a Master of Science in transportation engineering from the Institute of Technology Berlin. In 2010, he wrote his master thesis on the integration of the high-speed system in California at SMA. Today he is Manager Business Development for the US market and has been project manager for our American projects since 2012.

The presentation will describe the characteristics of railroads, and explain the complexity resulting from the strong interdependencies between transportation, infrastructure and equipment that are unique to railroads. Planning approaches to design and operate rail systems, both on the freight and passenger side, are presented before ideas from our recent work in the United States to improve integration of both service types are discussed.

Sponsored by Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program

SMA Partner AG

Rail Talks: High Speed Rail Track Design and Passenger Rail Outlook

Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program Talks:
Feb 11, 2014: Mr Phil Pasterak, PE, Parsons Brinckerhoff, presents:
1:00 PM HSR Track Design – Dillman 301J
4:00 PM Passenger Rail Outlook in the US – Dow 875

Phil Pasterak has 30 years of professional experience and currently serves as PB’s Central Regional Manager for Rail and Transit. He has extensive experience in the management, planning, and technical design of rail, transit, and other transportation facilities and infrastructure. Mr. Pasterak is recognized for his expertise in developing high speed/intercity/commuter rail corridors, including his work on the Chicago-St. Louis high speed corridor, for which he currently serves as PB’s project manager. He also served as task
manager for planning through construction of the Utah Transit Authority’s first commuter rail service, and for planning of numerous passenger rail corridors in Illinois, Ohio, New York, and Virginia

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Lake Superior Topics

Environmental Engineering Seminar Series
GLRC 202 3:00pm

Rasika Gawde, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

“Hydrodynamics and Thermal Structure in Lake Superior Impacts of an Episodic Climate Anomaly”

In recent years, 3D hydrodynamic models have been widely applied in a predictive capacity to all the Great Lakes to study ecosystem response to long-term climate change. But, an alternative aspect of climate change, observed as intermittent climatic anomalies, has not received equal interest. An isolated, positive anomaly observed in local air temperature measurements in March 2012 presents a unique opportunity to study the latter in Lake Superior’s ecosystem. Here, a 3D hydrodynamic model, Environmental Fluids Dynamics Code (EFDC), is applied for two consecutive summers, one preceded by the spring anomaly (2012) and the second preceded by average spring air temperatures (2011), to analyze the impact of this climatic anomaly on the thermal regime of the lake. This modeling effort is supported by a rich, comprehensive dataset of surface water temperatures and vertical temperature profiles measured during the April to September period of 2011 and 2012. Impacts of the temperature anomaly were observed along temporal and spatial scales; e.g. the 6°C increase in lake-wide surface water temperatures at the start of summer 2012 as compared to 2011 as well as on the physical processes; e.g. an early onset of thermal stratification (4 weeks in advance) in 2012. These shifts in thermal regimes will in turn affect ecological processes.

Marcel Dijkstra, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

“Ecosystem function in Lake Superior: Impacts of an episodic climate anomaly”

Climate change may become manifest over differing time scales: one characterized by long term, incremental changes as recorded in historical averages and the other by short term variability, e.g. the magnitude, timing, frequency and duration of episodic, extreme events. The ecological impact of extreme weather events may be particularly severe, simply because they are extreme, but also because ecosystems have rarely been exposed to such events. Due to the inherent unpredictability of extreme events, few studies have reported on the attendant ecosystem response. Here, the effects of an episodic air-temperature anomaly that occurred in Spring 2012 are reported and compared to those of 2011, a year with essentially average temperature conditions. Impact of this extreme weather event on the lake’s thermal regime and ecological forcing conditions (e.g. light, temperature and nutrients) cascaded through the system. This resulted in elevated annual primary production with a distinctive temporal distribution characterized by high productivity in early summer followed by a collapse in September (brought on by nutrient depletion resulting from extended thermal stratification). The benefits of increased annual primary production to the higher food web may be offset by cataclysmic drops in production.