Research Highlights

Construction Robots that Make Decisions

Kurt Lundeen

What if robot assistants could do some of the difficult or dangerous jobs on a construction site; and could think for themselves to get the work done better?

As shown in this video, which is being released here for the first time, Michigan Engineering is conducting research to help the construction industry in ways that could reduce the number of workplace injuries and fatalities. Despite all the planning and regulation, construction can still be a messy and dangerous field....

Comfort Driven Data

Carol Menassa

Carol Menassa is bringing new ways to keep people comfortable while making buildings more sustainable. Her lab concentrates on building wandering robotic sensors called “turtle-bots”, making new models that do not assume static occupancy throughout the day and developing phone applications that can collect and utilize human physiological data like heart rates, skin temperature and sleeping patterns.

Carol Menassa is a John L. Tishman CM Faculty Scholar and Associate...

Drones and Natural Disasters

Typically surveying natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and landslides involves putting boots on the ground and using tools like measuring tape or GPS to take stock of how the area has been affected. As you might imagine this takes a significant amount of time, is potentially dangerous, and costs a lot to pursue.

Associate Professor Dimitrios Zekkos and his research group believe they have a method that can forego all of the cumbersome steps it has taken up to this point to...

Dead Zone Boat

A lake covered in green, thick algae is not only unpleasant to look at, it can also mean that natural toxins are negatively impacting other organisms in the lake.

To better understand the health of lakes, Assistant Professor Branko Kerkez is developing an autonomous unmanned boat attached with temperature sensors to define hypoxic or dissolved oxygen areas in Michigan's smaller lakes.

Outputs of a coupled hydrodynamic and limnological model will be used to derive a...

Pile Driver Sensors

When piles are driven into soil to provide foundational support for structures, vibrations are caused that can create cracks in deep foundations for nearby structures, like bridges.

Traditionally, these vibrations are measured by ground surface sensors, but the length needed to travel from deep underground in order to reach the sensors is telling only part of the story.

Assistant Professor Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos is taking a different approach by installing both geophones...

Mercury in the Air

Many people have heard about the dangers of eating fish contaminated with mercury, but not everyone realizes that one of the ways mercury gets in the atmosphere is through coal-fired power plants.

Coal-fired power plants utilize a highly charged electric field, with the help of an electrostatic precipitator (ESP), to trap ash and other particulates. This keeps the amount of ash escaping from the plant very low. However, mercury is found in coal, and the ESPs are less adept at...

Urine as fertilizer

Assistant Professor Krista Wigginton’s research on urine recycling is the topic of a new video from Michigan Engineering.

The "flush and forget" toilet system, which has barely changed in the past century, demands tremendous amounts of water, energy and money. Despite that, it doesn't return water to the ecosystem in the same condition it started. The "effluent" that treatment plants discharge is still studded with pollutants like chemicals from our...

Make It Earthquake-Proof

Associate Professor Jason McCormick is in a new MConnex video about earthquake engineering.

The video explains that modern structures are designed to absorb damages without collapsing, but an event like an earthquake can quickly escalate construction repair costs for aging buildings. McCormick and his team are looking into materials rarely used in the construction world for retro-fitting older structures and providing a type of affordable earthquake insulation barrier.


Making Local, Global in Finland

Creating a Roadmap for Finnish Clean Tech

Professor Peter Adriaens is used to thinking outside the box. About nine years ago, after a long career specializing in biodegradation and bioremediation, he made a career shift from focused environmental research into bridging environmental engineering with entrepreneurial business development and finance. Today, he is a professor in the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (EWRE) program as well as a professor of entrepreneurship...

Improving Our Understanding of Lake Surface Evaporation

Understanding the Great Lakes system is crucial for the millions of stakeholders that are impacted by the country’s supply of fresh surface water.

But the lakes have been full of surprises lately. Lakes Michigan and Huron rose above their historic average in September 2014, yet the water was at the lowest level ever recorded only two years ago.

CEE researchers are working to improve our understanding of the fluctuating water levels. They suspect the water level drops...


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