Category: Students

Rail Transportation Program Leads Two Rail Related Senior Design Projects

Peshekee Wood Yard

RTP lead two rail related civil/environmental senior design projects during the 2016-17 school year.  During the fall semester a team of 15 students worked on improvements to the Peshekee logyard owned and operated by Longyear, LLC.  Their work included rail and highway transportation improvements to serve the site, preliminary plans for a rail served transload warehouse and fuels transload area, and environmental permitting requirements for the proposed work.  Suggested improvements included 3950 linear feet of trackwork valued at $1.5 million, $560,000 in site improvements, $230,000 for equipment and tanks to support the fuels transload operation, and $150,000 for the transload warehouse.  An additional $200,000 was recommended to procure a trackmobile to improve rail operations in the expanded site.  Environmental costs were reduced by the team recommendation for wetland preservation in place of more costly remediation methods.

Peshekee Wood Yard 2.jpg

During the spring semester a separate team of 16 students worked with Sawyer International Airport to provide conceptual and preliminary work on rail access to a proposed refinery site and rail and highway access to a proposed warehouse site.  The refinery access team recommended constructing a loop track with 3.5 miles of new trackwork at a price of nearly $9million, while the warehouse team found that rail access would require $6.5 million for the full build out, but a phased approach could bring initial construction down to 21,000 linear feet of rail at $4.5 million, with the remaining work completed as traffic at the warehouse site developed.  Highway access and parking facilities for the new warehouse complex would require 3500 linear feet of new roadway, and 160,000 square feet of new parking and support pavements at a price of nearly $3.5 million.  SAI also asked our environmental team to look at a recent study on PFC contamination on the airport site produced by the US Air Force Civil Engineering Center. The team produced a detailed report, including recommendations for additional testing and monitoring.

Cold Weather Dusting from Mine Tailing Impoundments

oommen-personnelVitton seagren-personnel

Dr. Thomas Oommen, Dr. Stanley Vitton and Dr. Eric Seagren recently completed a NSF project on dusting from mine tailings impoundments.  In the project they evaluated remote sensing tools for monitoring impoundments for dusting potential, and innovative biomediated approaches for mitigating dusting.  In particular, they focused on the problem of cold weather dusting.

As part of the project output, with the help of the CinOptics Enterprise on campus, they are producing a series of videos on the problem of cold weather dusting from mine tailings impoundments, and conventional and innovative techniques for mitigating cold weather dusting.

This is the first video in the series.  It is a review of the problem of cold weather dusting.

International Senior Design Travels to Panama for the 9th Year

2017 International Senior Design students at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama.  From left to right:  Sasha Drumm, Matthew Adams, Kira Koboski, Harrison Zost, Juli Mickle, George Meados, Meredith Brehob, Louis Bassette, Madison Wilson, Ed Nemec, Isabel Vanderlaan, and Andy Swanson.
2017 International Senior Design students at the City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama. From left to right: Sasha Drumm, Matthew Adams, Kira Koboski, Harrison Zost, Juli Mickle, George Meados, Meredith Brehob, Louis Bassette, Madison Wilson, Ed Nemec, Isabel Vanderlaan, and Andy Swanson.

The CEE International Senior Design (“iDesign”) program continued this year with a trip to Panama, August 13-27.  Twelve students (10 CEE, 1 GMES, 1 ME) divided into three teams and traveled to rural sites in western Panama.  Hosted by Peace Corps Volunteers, the students collected data for their fall semester senior design projects – two water supply systems and a river crossing, respectively.  Other trip highlights included visits to the Panama Canal and the Biodiversity Museum.

The trip was led by Professors David Watkins and Melanie Kueber Watkins.  Professor of Practice Mike Drewyor is helping to mentor the design teams in the fall term.

Researchers and students Attend ASCE Congress on Technical Advancement

ASCE CTAThe American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Congress on Technical Advancement was held in Duluth, Minnesota, September 10-13, 2017. The congress focused on the theme of “Superior Performance in a Changing Environment.”

Zhanping You (CEE) chaired the Bituminous Materials Committee (BMC) meeting (audio conference). You chaired sessions in the technical meetings and also delivered a presentation on the experience of rubber asphalt with warm mix asphalt technology.

He also reported some research work on the precut technology for asphalt pavement for cold regions in “Design and Operations of Transportation Infrastructure in Cold Regions.”

You’s PhD students Dongdong Ge and Lingyun You also presented three posters: “Evaluating Asphalt Mixture Extraction Using DSR and FTIR,” “Mechanical Analysis of Asphalt Concrete Overlay Over Old Asphalt Pavements Considering Cross-anisotropy Properties” and “The Effects of Nano Hydrated Lime Particles on Physical Properties of Water-foamed Bitumen.”

The three researchers met and exchanged ideas with attendees from government agencies, researchers and industries.

Michigan Tech Stan Vitton (CEE) and Zhen Liu (CEE) also attended the Congress.

Rail Program Organizes Inaugural Midwest Rail Conference

Midwest Rail Conference

From Aug. 15-17, 2017, the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) worked with Michigan Department of Transportation, the National University Rail Center and the Transportation Research Board Freight Rail Transportation Committee (AR040) to organize the inaugural Midwest Rail Conference.

Under RTP’s leadership the planning committee that consisted of rail industry, government agencies, and other stakeholders interested in promoting the industry brought together more than thirty speakers and over 200 participants in Kalamazoo, Michigan to focus on the conference them, Midwest Connections: Passenger and Freight Rail Look to the Future! RTP Faculty, Staff and Students led the conference coordination and logistics. Dr. Pasi Lautala functioned as Conference Co-chair, David Nelson and Amanda Kerttu were the lead coordinators and six students (Aaron Dean, Darian Reed, Sangpil Ko, Alawudin Salim, Alex Christmas and Kyle Dick) came to Kalamazoo to assist….and to enjoy the conference.

The conference opened on Tuesday morning with a golf outing with proceeds going to the conference’s student scholarship fund. Tuesday afternoon was filled with committee and organizational meetings, and the day was capped off with an evening reception at the Bell’s Brewery Backroom. Wednesday featured the technical content of the conference at the Western Michigan University Fetzer Center. The program included a dozen plenary and breakout sessions featuring industry experts in a host of passenger and freight rail topics. The keynote address was given by Joseph McHugh, VP of State Supported Services-Business Development for Amtrak. The event wrapped up with a full day of field trips featuring the MDOT/Amtrak Wolverine Higher Speed Rail Corridor, and a visit to the Little River Steam Railroad in Coldwater, Michigan.

Muxue Zhang Presents Research Findings at IWA Interaction Conference

Muxue

Muxue Zhang, a masters student, working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented the research findings: ‘Predicting RO Removal of Toxicologically Relevant Unique Organics’ at the 11th International Water Association (IWA) Interaction conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse held in Long Beach, California on July 23-27, 2017. The research was funded by WateReuse Research Foundation. Dr. Minakata also presented the research findings: ‘Predicting the Fate of Organic Compounds Degradation in UV/H2O2 and UV/Chlorine Advanced Oxidation Processes’ from his NSF funded research project.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Student Presents at ASEEP Conference

Lathika

Lathika Varanasi is a PhD student working with Dr. Daisuke Minakata in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She presented her research work : ‘Transformation of Dissolved Organic Matter in Engineered Ultraviolet (UV) Photolysis and UV-based Advanced Oxidation Processes’ at the Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professors (AEESP) conference held in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor between June 20th and 22nd 2017. Co-authors on the research are Erica Coscarelli, David Perram, Dr. Daisuke Minakata (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Dr. Maryam Khaksari and Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni (Department of Chemistry). The research was funded by MTU Research Excellent Fund-Research Seed Grant, MTU CEE startup fund, NSF Major Research Instrumentation and Great Lakes Research Center graduate research fund.

Award for Best Overall PIC Paper to Watkins

David Watkins
David Watkins

At the ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, June 25-28, 2017, the award for the Best Overall PIC (Professional Interest Councils) Paper, “Going is Not Knowing: Challenges in Creating Intercultural Engineers,” was presented to Michigan Tech’s David Watkins (CEE) and co-authors Kurt Paterson, James Madison University, and Chris Swan, Tufts University.

A lot of the data for the study came from surveys of students in our D80 Center programs, such as Peace Corps Master’s International, Engineers Without Borders, iDesign and other. The somewhat surprising results included recommendations for how we can provide students with more meaningful intercultural learning experiences. David Watkins

Engineers Without Borders
Michigan Tech Engineers Without Borders students help bring clean water to communities in Guatemala.

Going is Not Knowing: Challenges in Creating Intercultural Engineers

ABSTRACT

The last twenty years has witnessed a surge in the growth of community engagement programs for engineering students in the United States. Coupled to the enthusiasm of the Millennial Generation, many of these efforts have an international community development focus where engineering teams work with community members on small-scale infrastructure. One expressed motivation for such programs is the transformative experience and mindset-shift many participants report upon return from their time abroad. Industry has been quick to endorse such opportunities as necessary in creating the “global engineer”, a professional adept and effective in a dynamic interconnected work world. This paper explores these perceptions through an objective measure of intercultural awareness, the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).

Read More or Download

2017 ASEE Conference

124th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Where Engineering Education Takes Flight – From P-12 Through Life

June 25 – 28, 2017, Columbus, Ohio

The only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education…

We are committed to fostering the exchange of ideas, enhancing teaching methods and curriculum, and providing prime networking opportunities for engineering and technology education stakeholders such as: deans, faculty members, and industry and government representatives.

The conference features more than 400 technical sessions, with peer-reviewed papers spanning all disciplines of engineering education.

The Best Overall PIC Paper was recognized at the Tuesday Plenary session on June 27 at the Columbus Convention Center.

Pasi Lautala on Interdisciplinary Programs

Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala

The pathway to success is paved with more than a little advice. Students, job candidates and employees need public speaking skills, and they also need to learn the craft of salesmanship. In addition, some experts predict that regardless of college major, everyone needs coding skillsFinance and accounting majors need big data analysis skills. If this is starting to sound like a potpourri of requirements, well, that’s the point. In the future, success at work will be characterized by the ability to excel in more than one discipline or area – and an interdisciplinary degree could be vital.

Pasi Lautala, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Rail Transportation Institute at Michigan Tech, tells GoodCall®,

If interdisciplinary was a novelty in the past, today it’s becoming a standard.

In fact, Lautala says it should be the expected norm, since it’s rare for anything to be developed or completed under a single disciplinary.

“We’re witnessing that first hand in the development of 21st century transportation, where automated vehicles, trains, drones, etcetera, are all dependent on the interdisciplinary components, such as intelligent transportation systems infrastructure, alternative power and propulsion systems and constant communication/information exchange between vehicles and infrastructure.”

As a result, Lautala says, “Civil, mechanical, electrical, and even materials engineers are all under the same umbrella.”

Read more at GoodCall®, by Terri Williams.

Steel Bridge Team on Facebook

Steel Bridge TeamSchool is out for the academic year. But just like Michigan Tech research, competition knows no season. Summer events are a given for many student organizations including Supermileage Systems, Formula SAE—and Steel Bridge, one of 43 qualifying teams heading to national competition at Oregon State University on May 26-27, 2017. Eleven weeks and 900 hours of work were on the line, along with the commitment to rebound from a disappointing collapse at the 2016 event.

Michigan Tech’s team took first place overall at the 2017 North Central Regional Competition sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and American Society of Civil Engineers. It also placed first in three out of six subcategories:  stiffness, efficiency and lightness. The other three categories are construction speed, construction economy and display.

The Tech Team finished an impressive 12th among the 43 teams this weekend. Details can be found on Facebook.

Original story by Cyndi Perkins.