Category: Seminars

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Skagit River Bridge Emergency Repair & Replacement

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; Thursday, Nov. 21, 4:00-5:00 pm
Dow 641. Mr. Thomas Pinder, BS Metallurgical Engineering, MTU
Acrow Bridge Company

Title: Skagit River Bridge Emergency Repair & Replacement

During the summer of 2013 the Skagit River Bridge on I-5 in the State of Washington was destroyed when it was hit by a truck hauling an oversize load. This presentation describes the damage and the emergency repairs made by constructing a temporary bridge. This temporary bridge allowed the four lanes of traffic to be restored within a few weeks while the permanent bridge section replacement was being fabricated and eventually put into place.

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Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Great Lakes Water Level Regulation and Diversions

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; Thursday, November 14; 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Room 641 Dow

View seminar on Civil & Environmental Engineering Channel on Vimeo

Title: Great Lakes Water Level Regulation and Diversions
Cynthia Jarema, P.E., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District

The Great Lakes are a hydraulically regulated system. The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, established a commission between the U.S. and Great Britain (Canada), so that joint decisions could be made regarding issues and projects such as hydropower and diversions in the Great Lakes. Individual Boards of Control acknowledge and focus on the needs of various interest groups in their respective area. The International Lake Superior Board of Control operates a technical regulation plan to determine the Lake Superior outflow rate that would bring the levels of Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron to the same relative position within their respective historical ranges, before diversion or control structures were in place. The ability to regulate Lake Superior’s outflow however, does not mean that full control of lake levels is possible. Meteorological occurrences (precipitation, evaporation, and runoff) cannot be controlled or accurately predicted, and has a much greater impact to water levels than any man-made control.

Cynthia Jarema, P.E. is a hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Tech; a 2006 graduate. After several years of working on riverine modeling and design projects, she became involved in Great Lakes data collection and analysis. Cynthia currently holds the position as lead engineer support for the U.S. membership of the International Lake Superior Board of Control under the direction of the International Joint Commission.

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Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Railroad Ballast Stone in Michigan

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Thursday, November 7, 4 – 5 pm, Room 641 Dow

Title: “A Search for a Source of Railroad Ballast Stone in Michigan”
Kurt Breitenbucher

Through NURail Funding and the Michigan Department of Transportation, improvements will be made to the existing Wolverine Line between Chicago and Detroit. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current MDOT railroad ballast specifications and compare them to both the national standards as well as international ones. In the case where the current MDOT or AREMA standards are not acceptable, identify a proper testing methodology and suggest a new standard to be used for high-speed rail ballast both sourced and used in Michigan. Much of Michigan lies in a sedimentary basin; this material generally makes poor rail ballast due to polishing and weathering. The Upper Peninsula contains more igneous rocks due to the rifting that occurred in the area. There are also a number of mines that generate poor rock that will be investigated as a ballast material. This project will also propose methods of transport for ballast material sourced in Michigan. Once the material sources are identified, their qualities will be assessed with various index tests and a study will be done to assess their rate sensitivity (dynamic strength testing.)

Kurt Breitenbucher is currently a Masters Candidate at Michigan Technological University, expecting to graduate in December 2013, with an emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering. He received his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University in August 2012.

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Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar:

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Thursday, October 31, 4:00 pm, 641 Dow

Speaker: Xiao Sun

Title: Effects of Internal Curing on Permeability of Interface Transition Zone in Cement Mortar

Due to its high porosity, prewetted lightweight aggregate (LWA) is widely used as the internal curing medium to supply water for hydration or to mitigate moisture lost induced by self-desiccation or evaporation, thereby enhancing the sustainability of infrastructure. This research focuses on the pore structure and transport physical properties of the interface transition zone (ITZ) in cement mortar with internal curing. Mortar samples with and without LWA were made with the same water-cement ratio, which was 0.35. After curing for 28 days, the samples were polished, vacuum impregnated with fluorescent dye and cut into thin sections. The microstructures were characterized through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging technique to exam the real differences of ITZ pore structure between two types of mortar. From those images, the two-dimensional digital samples contain pores, cement particles and fine aggregates were generated in micron scale. Based on the same porosities, the three-dimensional digital microstructures were generated using 3D image reconstruction technique. The permeability analysis was conducted on the 3D reconstructed pore microstructure. The permeasolver code developed by Dale Bentz and Nicos Martys at NIST was applied. The finite-difference method was conducted based on image pixels with artificial compressibility relaxation algorithm to solve the Stoker equation. Once the solution of the average velocity at four different depths converges to a fixed value, the permeability can be obtained from Darcy equation based on that velocity. A comparison of permeability between samples with and without internal curing was made. This study will demonstrate the effect of internal curing on the pore microstructure and transport properties at ITZ.

Xiao Sun is a second year PhD student of Michigan Tech. He works as a Research Assistant for Dr. Dai. His previous research topic is the microstructure and transport properties of concrete material. He received his undergraduate and graduate studies of fluid mechanics and hydraulic concrete structure from the universities in China.

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Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: A Study of Vibrations and a Method to Suppress Them

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar:
Thursday, October 24, Room 641 Dow Building, 4:00-5:00 pm

Title: A Study of Vibrations and a Method to Suppress Them

Presenter: Benjamin Winter

Vibrations developed during drilling present challenges in an array of industries including mechanical, medical, structural, and oil extraction. Velocity weakening, intracranial vibrations, large amplitude standing pressure waves in material cavities, and failure of drill strings are prominent issues among these fields. Stick-slip (torsional) and bit-bounce (axial) vibrations have been found to be particularly problematic in precision drilling jobs such as machining to tight tolerances, dismantling vibration-sensitive devices, and surgical work. Current technologies to detect and suppress systematic vibrations have several shortcomings including malfunctioning, complete failure, complexity, and high power consumption. This paper proposes a method to suppress vibrations of drilling material surfaces using adaptive positive position feedback (APPF) control for efficient tunable damping. An experiment-based parametric study has been conducted to determine the relationship of force, rotational velocity, and acceleration on both drill vibrations and drilling material surface vibrations. Results of a parametric study and Rational Polynomial Fraction method are used to estimate fundamental behaviors of the drilling system to create a refined numerical model for simulating the drilling process. An APPF controller together with the model provided a method to evaluate new actuator designs for vibration suppression and has shown a 69.8% reduction of displacement vibrations.


Benjamin Winter is starting his second year of his PhD program in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech. He is a student member of ASCE and AISC. During the school year, he works as a Research Assistant for his advisor Dr. R Andrew Swartz. During the school year he also mentors undergraduate students beginning research in structural control and system identification while preparing for K’nex bridge competitions. This fall he is continuing his interest in mentoring and teaching students as a Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate Structural Steel Design course and as a tutor for students for statics MEEM 2110.

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Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Asset Management Basics

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar
Thursday, October 17, Room 641 Dow Building, 4:00-5:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Timothy Colling

Title: Asset Management Basics

Civil engineers that work in public infrastructure are ultimately responsible for managing assets. This includes the long term operation and maintenance of these assets for the public good. Managing large networks of assets such as roads or bridges can be overwhelming for an engineer unless there is a structured “system” or method for analyzing condition, predicting need and allocating resources. This lecture will provide an overview of asset management concepts that can be applied to the management of any large network of assets. The discussion will focus on specific examples relating to pavement management, as well as providing illustrative examples for asset management for other more familiar assets such as cars and houses.

Tim Colling, PhD., P.E.- Director, Center for Technology and Training

Tim joined Michigan Tech in 2002, having spent the previous 9 years working as a consulting engineer for various firms in the Midwest. Tim is the Director of the Center for Technology and has been involved in a number of pavement management research projects as well as outreach and technology transfer projects including:

  • Tim is the primary instructor that teaches distress identification for
    the State of Michigan’s annual public road condition survey, where he
    develops training material and instructs classes annually for over 450
    practicing engineers and technicians that collect pavement distress data.
  • Tim developed training materials for several professional development
    classes focusing on pavement management and asset management that have
    been presented over 50 times over the course of the last three year to an
    audience of over 1,000 transportation agency staff.
  • In 2011 Tim was one of a ten member team representing the United States
    on the FHWA International Scan on Pavement Management. During the Scan
    Tim traveled to five countries and met with pavement managers from twelve
    countries learning about pavement management best practices.

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Civil Engineering Seminar: Intelligent Transportation Systems

Civil Engineering Seminar: Thursday, October 10, 2014, 4-5PM, Dow 641
Speaker: Jeffrey Lidicker, PhD., Assistant Professor in Transportation Engineering at Michigan Technological University

“What is ITS? All about Intelligent Transportation Systems, Michigan, and the current state of the technology imported directly from the US Department of Transportation meeting in Washington DC”


An introduction to ITS (intelligent transportation systems) will be presented along with information about employers in ITS. Did you know the state of Michigan’s involvement with ITS historically? You might be surprised. The talk will then cover wireless connected vehicle technology, its possible benefits, pitfalls, and what are the barriers to implementation. A meeting in Washington DC was just hosted by the United States Department of Transportation where the very current state of the technology was reported and our speaker was there in person along with all the auto manufacturers, state DOTs, and many equipment manufacturers. The talk will conclude with how MTU can fit into ITS?

Jeff Lidicker holds a doctorate in Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, a Masters degree in statistics and another Masters in mathematics. Professionally he was manager and statistician at the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, was director of Statistical Consulting Services at the Center for Statistical and Information Science at Temple University in Philadelphia. Before that he worked in the private consulting sector for the pharmaceutical industry. His current research interests are in Asset Management, Sustainable Transportation, Alternative Fuels, Life-cycle Assessment, Transportation Energy and Emissions, and ITS. In summary he has over 25 peer-reviewed publications including EV economics, pavement maintenance optimization with a life-cycle metric, hydrogen vehicle human factors, car-share, and transportation asset management.

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Ali Catik: Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects

Ali Catik, president, Civil East Operations, Tutor Perini Corp, NY, and a 1976 Michigan Tech graduate presented the Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar entitled: “Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects in Big Cities” on Friday, Sept. 27, in Dow 642. Watch the seminar presentation on Michigan Tech Engineering Channel on Vimeo

Civil and environmental engineers are educated to design, build, and maintain mankind’s infrastructure. This is most apparent in big cities and metropolitan areas where mega projects are required. Examples of these projects include: transportation systems consisting of roads, bridges, tunnels, and toll roads; mass transportation systems consisting of airports, harbors, subways and railroads; clean water systems consisting of water treatment, waste water treatment, and solid waste disposal; energy systems consisting of power plants and transmission grids; and buildings consisting of schools, hospitals, and high rise office and housing complexes. With the population demographics shifting upward in the big cities and metro areas, the future demand for mega projects will increase along with the demand for innovative thinking and hard working engineers. Three New York City mega projects will be presented including: construction of the $850 million Newtown-waste water treatment plant, the $1.32 billion Croton water filtration plant, and the $1.2 billion East Side Access-mass transit tunnel. Michigan Tech engineers have the knowledge and skills to carry out these types of projects.

Ali Catik received his baccalaureate degree in civil engineering in 1976. After graduation, he began a career in building heavy civil infrastructure projects. He pursued graduate work at Wharton Business School and Columbia School of Business in executive education and management to complement his technical engineering knowledge and advance his career in the construction industry. He has maintained professional membership with, and served as a trustee for, the Moles, one of the most prestigious heavy civil construction industry professional organizations dedicated to promoting the industry.

Ali Catik’s professional career began as a superintendent overseeing infrastructure construction projects in the eastern US. He quickly excelled to project manager and to his current role in executive management roles at several of the top heavy civil infrastructure construction companies. As a construction executive, Ali Catik has been, and is responsible for business operations and execution of construction projects. His construction career has encompassed building rail, mass transit, water/wastewater, bridge/highway and power infrastructure. He has overseen construction of major infrastructure projects, including: 500 megawatt power plants; major water treatment plant projects such as the $1.3 billion rebuilding of the Croton Water Filtration Plant in New York City, and major transportation infrastructure construction projects that have included the Manhattan Tunnel Structures, a $1.2 billion segment of Long Island Railroad’s East Side Access Program to bring commuter rail service from Long Island into New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. He is known in the New York Metropolitan area as one of the top construction professionals and has a reputation for delivering projects ahead of schedule and on budget.

Currently, Ali Catik serves as President of Civil Operations East for Tutor Perini Corp., a public company that does work nationally. Tutor Perini is associated with large projects including the San Francisco subway, Seattle SR99 tunnel, Hudson Yards development in Manhattan, and many other Mega Projects.

Examples of Civil and Environmental Engineering Mega Projects in Big Cities
Ali Catik, President, Civil East Operations, Tutor Perini Corp, NY and Ralph Hodek, Professer, Michigan Tech

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