Research Highlights

Aline Cotel

Fluid Dynamics

Associate Professor Aline Cotel researches fluid dynamics, studying everything from the impact of biofuel spills on aquatic environments to the impact of turbulence on fish swimming and aquaculture systems.

To study biofuel spills, Cotel and Associate Professor Avery Demond are looking at how ethanol-based fuels would spread in the event of a large aquatic spill. They fill a tank with water, cover the water with a plate and pour ethanol mixtures on top. The...

Drew Gronewold

Forecasting for the Great Lakes

Great Lakes vacationers who are curious about how and why water levels have changed over the years can take a look at the online Great Lakes Hydro-Climate Dashboard, developed by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory scientists, including Adjunct Professor Drew Gronewold.

The dashboard displays data such as projected seasonal and decadal water levels and historical monthly and annual average water levels, contributing to...

Terese Olson

Contaminant Removal in Drinking Water

Associate Professor Terese Olson became interested in studying water quality in college as she followed the news of numerous environmental disasters, such as the Love Canal, Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. 

“Water and air quality problems of a very chemical nature were everywhere and seemed to urgently require answers. I was moved by these challenges and hoped that I could align my career to address...

Vineet Kamat

Interactive Visualization in Engineering

Professor Vineet Kamat sees Civil Engineering as the field that defines a society's quality of life, and that’s exactly why he enjoys it.

"Open the tap," he says, "and there should be water. The bridges should function; the dams should function. All these things are expected and taken for granted and define the quality of life that we as a society enjoy. And I think that fundamental idea is quite satisfying as...

Jeff Scruggs

Ocean Wave Energy Harvesting

When Professor Jeff Scruggs earned his PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 2004, he was not focused on renewable energy. Yet when one of his role models, Professor Bob Skelton of the University of California San Diego, contacted him for help in an ocean wave energy harvesting project, Scruggs agreed.

To Scruggs, whose PhD is in applied mechanics, the wave energy converter devices Skelton was working with posed both a structural and...

Lutgarde Raskin

Environmental Biotechnology and Global Water Sustainability

Professor Lutgarde Raskin works on a variety of biological water and wastewater treatment processes. One of her most well-known studies found that most of the bacteria that remain in drinking water from the tap can be traced to filters used in the water treatment process, rather than to the aquifers or rivers where it originated.

This study, co-authored by Dr. Ameet J. Pinto and Dr. Chuanwu Xi, is titled “...

Municipal Solid Waste Landfills and Seismic Risk Mitigation

Each year, 75 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States goes to landfills. This amount of waste would fill in just one year the entire Manhattan in New York City to a height of 70 m or 210 ft! Modern landfills are sophisticated facilities designed to protect public health and the environment by containing the municipal solid waste. Many of these landfills are so large that they exceed the size of the Hoover Dam!

Landfills need to remain stable when the next...

Ann Jeffers

Traveling fires – Do they really matter?

Assistant Professor Ann Jeffers analyzes structures subjected to extreme load events, such as fire and earthquakes. She is currently working to characterize the influence of traveling fires on the fire resistance of structural systems.

Part of her research involves studying the damages done by smoldering embers, called fire brands, which travel from wildfires. These embers can cause ignition, lighting roofs and siding or falling...

Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos

Measuring Response and Performance for Levee Systems and Dams

Professor Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos became interested in levee systems when her PhD advisor at UC Berkeley offered her the opportunity to join an investigation of New Orleans levees after Hurricane Katrina hit.

"It was like CSI in terms of geotechnical engineering," she says of her time in Louisiana. "You have to walk around the site and take note of subtle details that may indicate how movement...

SangHyun Lee

Understanding Human Behavior on Construction Sites

When it comes to job site safety, construction industry statistics do not shine. The number of fatalities is almost three times higher, on average, than for all other industries, and researchers over the years have found that 80% to 90% of fatalities result from unsafe worker behavior. CEE Professor SangHyun Lee is working to improve those statistics and save lives.

"Since most construction accidents are related to human...


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