Category: Seminars

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Oct 18

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar Series: Thursday, October 18, 4:05 PM, Dow 641

Analysis of an Electric Vehicle Subscription Service Business Model that Includes Battery Swapping

By Jeff Lidicker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


One proposed strategy for facilitating the introduction of electric-drive vehicles is for vehicle purchasers to own the vehicle but to lease the battery from a third party, in order to help reduce the “first cost” hurdle to consumers. A further extension of this concept for all-battery electric vehicles (EVs) would include the ability for consumers to exchange their discharged batteries for charged ones, using “battery swap stations.” These would allow for extended driving range for EV service subscribers, but with increased costs to build and operate the stations. Our analysis centers around a “base case” scenario from 2012–2027 that includes a set of assumptions about subscriber membership levels, gasoline and electricity prices, corporate level expenditures, and the capital costs of batteries, charging stations, and battery swap stations. Our analysis suggests that the economics of this business model are challenging with current gasoline prices and the “base case” scenario assumptions, but that the economics can be favorable under certain circumstances.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar Oct 11

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar Series: Thursday, October 11, 4:05 PM, Dow 641

Mary Christiansen, Michigan Tech Civil & Environmental Engineering, PhD candidate

“Geopoly-what?: An Introduction to Geopolymer Cements”

Since its development in the early 19th century, ordinary portland cement (OPC) has cornered the global concrete market based on its reputation to produce a reliable and functional building material. This success, however, comes at a cost. The production of OPC is reported to be responsible for 5-8% of global anthropogenic carbon emissions annually (Scrivener and Kirkpatrick 2008). Efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of this heavily relied upon building material have been somewhat successful, however much of the CO2 emitted during OPC production is inherent in the process and cannot be avoided. This realization has led researchers toward developing alternative low-CO2 binders. Geopolymer cement (GPC) is based on the alkali activation of a powdered aluminosilicate precursor (commonly fly ash or metakaolin). Concrete made with GPC has been shown to perform equally to or better than OPC concrete in terms of mechanical and durability performance. Additionally, geopolymer cement has the added value of a considerably smaller carbon footprint, with reported CO2 emission reductions of up to 80% as compared to OPC (Davidovits 1994; Duxson, Provis et al. 2007).
The presentation will include an introduction to geopolymer cement technology as well as an overview of the concept of creating geopolymers based on the alkali activation of waste glass. This system has the potential to further reduce the carbon footprint of geopolymer cement as well as to develop a dependable market for unsorted waste glass, which is currently an issue in many countries, including the United States.

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar Oct 4

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar Series; Thursday, October 4, 4:05 PM; Dow 641

Antonio Velazquez, Michigan Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering, PhD candidate in structural engineering

Title: In-operation Output-Only Identification of Wind Turbines Gyroscopic Effects using Parametric-Non-Stationary Subspace System Identification Techniques.

Wind energy has been one of the most growing sectors of the nation’s renewable energy portfolio during the past decade and the same tendency is observed for the upcoming one; however safety and economical concerns have emerged as a result of the newly design tendencies for massive, complex shape, and slender scale wind turbine structures.

One of the most and poorly understood critical effects during the operation of this wind harvesting strcutures is the gyroscopic effect. Gyroscopic action occurs whenever the axis of the rotating body is made to change its direction. Adjusting itself to the current dominating wind direction occurs in an instant of time of critical aerodynamic importance for understanding peak levels of stress and strain imposed to the structure, but also to assure adequate and secure performance of the wind turbine during its operation.
As of today, there is no numerical eigensolution framework that could characterize gyroscopic effects in a unique and general way, and has been remained as an open mathematical problem yet to be solved.

A numerical method based on Arnoldi derivation via Schur decomposition is proposed here for the solution of modal frequencies and mode shapes of the wind turbine. In order to validate results, an in-operation system identification of wind turbine aerodynamics, special attention to gyroscopic effects, is reproduced using output-only vibration acceleration signals. An experiment has been mounted using a distributed wireless sensors network deployed on a Bergey BWC XL.1 wind turbine at UC Davis, CA. Parametric and non-parametric stationary identification analysis is revised in a first stage, followed by a non-stationary time-varying autoregressive model, which is based on a self-proposed modified eigensystem realization (ERA) model.
Advantages of non-stationary identifcation versus stationary counterparts are revealed and discussed, then compared with the analytical solution derived from complex-number modal analysis the gyroscopic mathematical model is composed of.

Green Lecture Series: Tom Heberlein

Tom Heberlein, an environmental sociologist, will give two presentations on Thursday, Oct. 18. Heberlein is professor emeritus in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology and the Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and currently a visiting professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies in the College of Forestry in Umea, Sweden.

Here are the details:

A River Runs through it: Lessons from Rivers and Lakes
2 to 4 p.m., Great Lakes Research Center
Book signing, informal discussion with refreshments to follow. Open to the public.

Navigating Environmental Attitudes: Lessons from Wolves
7 p.m., Forestry G002
Book signing with refreshments to follow. Open to the public.

This event was sponsored by the Department of Social Sciences, the Environmental and Energy Policy Program, the Great Lakes Research Center, the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, the Keweenaw Land Trust, the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society and the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The Green Lecture Series program is partially funded with a grant from the League of Women Voters of the Copper Country, the Friends of the Land of Keweenaw and the UP Environmental Coalition.

Distinguished Ecologist Lecture: Food webs in river networks: towards predictive mapping

Distinguished Ecologists Lecture Thursday, September 27, 2012
Mary Power, Professor; Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley
“Food webs in river networks: towards predictive mapping” Her research in tropical and temperate rivers untangles the complex connections in food webs, species interactions, and watershed dynamics.
At 12:30 p.m. on Thursday September 27th in G002, Hesterberg Hall in the U. J. Noblet Building; Cosponsored by the Center for Water and Society and the Visiting Women and Minority Lecture Series

Richard Honrath Memorial Lecture: Oct. 1

Richard Honrath Memorial Lecture and Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar, Monday, Oct. 1 at 4:00 pm at M&M U115:
Dr. Guy Brasseur, German Climate Service Center and the Advanced Study Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Title: “From Climate Science to Earth System Stewardship”

Over the last 30 years, tremendous progress has been made in our
understanding of the processes that govern the evolution of the Earth
System and specifically the climate system. The influence of the human
enterprise has been so large that we are entering in a new period of our
geological history dominated by human impacts, now called the
Anthropocene. The talk will review some of the major impacts of human
activities on the Earth System. It will highlight key challenges that
have been posed to the scientific community in the last century
(predicting weather, projecting climate, improving air quality, etc.),
and discuss successes and failures. The challenges for the future are
very different; they will be directly related to the major issues facing
our society under climate change: a transformation of the energy system,
the need to ensure food security and water availability, the improvement
of the health and education systems and the eradication of poverty.
Government and international organizations have attempted to address a
number of major environmental issues, but successes have been limited.
Planetary stewardship requires new interdisciplinary approaches, two-way
communication between scientists and stakeholders. The science will play
a fundamental role in addressing these issues, but the traditional
climate and environmental research much be complemented by a well
designed approach to adaptation to planetary changes.

The Lecture is supported by the Earth Planetary and Space Sciences
Institute (EPSSI) and the Honrath Memorial Fund. The fund provides
support for the Richard E. Honrath Memorial Lecture and for
undergraduate and graduate students whose major and/or research
demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and/or the
pursuit of knowledge about our earth’s natural forces. Lecturers are
internationally recognized scholars in the arena of Atmospheric
Sciences who will interact substantially with students during their

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Sep 20

Scott Patterson, P.E. chief engineer, Acrow Corporation, Parsippany, NJ
Title: “Acrow Products and Solutions for the Construction Industry”
Thursday, September 20, 2012, 4 pm Dow 641

About Acrow:
Acrow Corporation has been incorporated in the United States since 1951 with its headquarters in the State of New Jersey. Acrow is an industry world leader that specializes in the design, manufacture, and supply of modular prefabricated steel Acrow Bridges and Superprop Shoring Systems.
Acrow Bridges make use of the most current technologies in this 21st century when creating the prefabricated modular steel Acrow Bridge. Three dimensional computer modeling is performed during the design process to ensure load capacities. All Acrow Bridges are certified to be manufactured under the quality assurance standards of ISO9001 and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC); thus, assuring the highest level of quality. Our customers have used Acrow Bridges for many types of applications including permanent bridges, temporary bridges, emergency bridges, railroad bridges, mining bridges, heavy haul off road vehicle bridges, pedestrian bridges, movable bridges, overpass bridges, pipe bridges and many other styles of bridges. Acrow Bridges have been sold to over fifty countries around the globe, all of the States in the USA, and all of the Provinces of Canada.
More Information:

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Sep 13

CE Graduate Seminar Series – Fall, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 4:05 pm @ Room 641 Dow
Speaker: Bonnie E. Zwissler, Michigan Tech CEE graduate student in geotechnical engineering
Seminar Title: The Impact of Freeze-Thaw on Cliff Recession at the Calvert Cliffs
Bonnie will trace the geological as well as recent history of this area on Maryland’s west shore of Chesapeake Bay. She will describe the development of her work, including last summer’s field studies, and explain her hypothesis for the natural cliff recession in this area.