Published in Tech Today
The University Transportation Center for Materials in Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure (UTC-MiSTI) has selected Russell Lutch as its Student of the Year. He receives a $1,000 award, travel and registration expense reimbursement to attend the annual Transportation Research Board conference in Washington DC, and a certificate from the US Department of Transportation.
As one of the first students funded in collaboration between Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the UTC-MiSTI, Lutch evaluated the sustainable use of concrete ties in arctic conditions. He participated as a graduate student mentor in the 2009 UTC-MiSTI Summer Scholars Program, and as co-advisor of an undergraduate team he investigated the material and the life-cycle of cross-tie alternatives for rail applications. For his graduate work, Lutch investigated railroad track structure, focusing on prestressed concrete railroad ties for heavy haul freight transportation. His study is a part of the project, “Synthesis of Railroad Engineering Best Practices in Deep Seasonal Frost and Permafrost Areas,” sponsored through the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and conducted under Michigan Tech’s RTP.
Lutch’s advisor is Devin Harris (CEE). In his graduate scholarship, Lutch presented, “Causes and Preventative Methods for Rail Seat Abrasion in North America’s Railroads,” at the 14th ASCE Cold Regions Engineering Conference, and “Prestressed Concrete Railroad Ties in North America,” at the 2009 American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) Conference.
Upon the completion of his MS in Civil Engineering, Lutch will be a structural engineer with Kiewit Construction Company in Omaha, Neb.