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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program 2017
People and Projects
- Integrated Design of Adaptation Pathways for Food, Energy, and Water Sectors Susceptible to Sudden and Chronic Perturbations | Mentor: Meghna Babbar-Sebens
- Given the increasingly strong evidence for emerging climate change and economic trends, coordination of adaptation decisions for managing limited natural resources – such as water and arable land – in food, energy, and water (FEW) sectors, are expected to become increasingly critical. The goal of this research is to develop an integrated design approach that will enable local and regional community actors to coordinate and co-identify robust adaptation decisions for natural resources management in FEW systems, when chronic and/or acute physical and socio-economic perturbations occur. While most studies investigate adaptation at global or regional scale, this study focuses on adaptation to climate-related and policy related perturbations in local FEW systems (where communities are most invested). For this summer research project, the student will work on formulating a distributed optimization-simulation model for developing adaptation pathways to overcome droughts in Hermiston, OR (Middle Columbia River basin). The student will also test the model for a range of wet and dry year scenarios.
- Experimental Testing of High-Strength Reinforcing Steel and Shear Friction to Improve Resilience and Safety of Bridge Structures | Mentor: Andre Barbosa
- Current bridge provisions limit the contribution of the reinforcing steel in concrete shear interface design to a yield strength of 60 ksi [420 MPa]. Because of this, the higher yield strength of high strength steel (HSS) reinforcing bars cannot currently be utilized in design. To date, only a limited number of tests have been performed to characterize the shear friction resistance of members containing HSS and results from these tests indicate that using the full HSS reinforcing bar yield strength could overestimate the shear interface capacity of the specimens. However, shear friction design using HSS reinforcement at its yield strength, if shown viable, could provide constructability benefits. The main objective of the research is to validate existing design equations or to develop new design equations, supported by a comprehensive experimental testing program, for use of ASTM A706 Grade 80 and ASTM 1035 Grade 100 and 120 high strength reinforcing steel in shear friction applications. The tests to be performed will be push-off tests, following procedures and knowledge gained by the proposers during a testing program recently completed at the large scale Structural Engineering Laboratory at Oregon State University. The REU student will perform a literature review summarizing work currently being done by other state highway agencies on high-strength steel; if available, identify current design methodologies for using high-strength steel in shear interface applications. Based on the literature review findings, the student will aid in the execution of an experimental program to test the performance shear interfaces using Grade 80 reinforcement meeting ASTM A706 and Grade ASTM 1035 specifications. Then the student will help perform the experimental testing program, analyze data, and synthesize findings into a conference ready publication to be sent to ACI.
- Probabilistic Seismic and Tsunami Damage Assessment (PSTDA) along the Cascadia Subduction Zone | Mentors: Andre Barbosa and Daniel Cox.
- Oregon needs to prepare for the “Really Big One” – a magnitude 9 megathrust earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The last big event happened in January 1700 – a little more than 300 years ago – and with a recurrence interval of approximately 525 years, it is essential that Oregon prepare for a subduction zone event in the future. Coastal Oregon will be heavily impacted because of the combined effect of the strong ground shaking followed by the tsunami inundation. However, the effects of the CSZ will not be felt equally along the coast because of the uncertainties of the source, and as a result, stakeholders will need risk-based tools for making decisions about mitigation measures for infrastructure and land use. The student will work with Profs. Barbosa and Cox and their graduate students to develop a pilot study to estimate damage and loss for a city along the coast of Oregon. This pilot study can later be used for setting mitigation design criteria as well as new design criteria for future impending earthquakes and tsunamis. The student will combine a recently completed probabilistic seismic and tsunami hazard analysis with building fragility functions to estimate the damage and loss hazard curves. Both the seismic and tsunami hazard curve will be compared to possible design criteria, which will be recommended as contribution for future studies, as part of the disaster mitigation effort for the pilot case study city. The student will investigate the CSZ damage potential for ‘highest risk’ rather than the ‘worst case’ in an effort to find potential cost-effective solutions to mitigate damages for the CSZ event.
- Hurricane Wave Forces on Elevated Coastal Structures | Mentor: Daniel Cox.
- Past hurricanes such as Hurricanes Katrina in 2005, Ike in 2008, and Sandy in 2012 have devastated US coastlines. Surprisingly, the ASCE 7 Flood Chapter does not have sufficient standard to estimate the horizontal and vertical loads on elevated coastal structures, so it is difficult to estimate the potential damage to coastal communities and make risk-informed decisions for retrofit options or land use planning. In this project, the student will use existing laboratory data of water level, wave, impact pressure and load to evaluate existing flood load equations in ASCE 7 and will work with one graduate student to develop improved equations following the method for caisson coastal structures in the USACE Coastal Engineering Manual. The student will apply these results to hindcast observed damage on the Bolivar Peninsula, TX, following Hurricane Ike.
- Use of Data Analytics for Post Natural Disaster Transportation Resilience Planning: Application to Ground Freight Movements | Mentor: Sal Hernandez
- Slippin’ and Sliding – Landslide Monitoring and Mapping | Mentors: Ben Leshchinsky and Michael Olsen.
- Landslides are a frequent, but poorly understood hazard to built infrastructure. The Oregon Coast Range is littered with active landslides that experience continual erosion from precipitation, groundwater, and wave activity. Major highways cross over landslides that are a frequent maintenance problem as well as result in closures due to debris and damaged sections of the road. For this project, you will work with high resolution 3D datasets collected for several coastal landslides to analyze erosional patterns and contributing factors. You will also explore techniques for landslide hazard mapping and possibly develop analysis code to analyze data from in situ sensors that track landslide movement in detail.
- Effect of Specimen Preparation Techniques on Static and Seismic Response of Silts | Mentor: Armin Stuedlein
- The geotechnical profession has been largely developed assuming two distinct lines of response to shear in accordance with the governing hydraulic conductivity: drained shear in sands, and undrained shear in clays. Transitional soils, such as silty sands, sandy silts, nonplastic silts, and slightly plastic silts do not fit neatly into these two lines of response. Furthermore, these soils are extremely sensitive to preparation methods. This project aims to prepare techniques for handling and testing silt soils that will be used for an upcoming, collaborative, inter-university study on the seismic response of silty transitional soils. The student will work in the geotechnical lab at Graf under the mentorship of the advising professor and graduate students to study and develop best practices in the laboratory to inform the larger study.
- Agent-based Modeling for Tsunami Evacuation: Evidence-Based Retrofit Strategies to Increase Life Safety and Community Resilience | Mentor: Haizhong Wang
- The M9 Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake represents one of the most pressing natural hazard threats in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with an astonishing high 7%-12% chance of occurrence by 2030, mirroring the 2011 devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Yet this region, like many other coastal communities, is underprepared, lacking a comprehensive understanding of unplanned network disruptions as a key component to disaster management planning and infrastructure resilience. The goals of this project are two-fold: (1) to conduct a network vulnerability assessment to systematically characterize the importance of each link's contribution to the overall network resilience, with specific emphasis on identifying the most critical set of links; (2) to create an evidence-driven retrofitting resource allocation framework by quantifying the impacts of unplanned network disruptions to the critical links on network resilience and retrofitting planning. This research used the city of Seaside on the Oregon coast as a study site to create the agent-based tsunami evacuation modeling and simulation platform with an explicit focus on the transportation network.
- Tsunami Effects in Riverine Estuaries | Mentor: Harry Yeh
- The 2011 East Japan tsunami caused tsunami penetration much farther inland along rivers than through overland inundation. Unanticipated tsunami behavior in rivers can be harmful to riverine ports, marinas, bridges, and other critical infrastructure. In spite of significant modeling work, little is known about tsunami transformation in rivers. Objective of the research is to achieve better understanding of tsunami intrusion and propagation in rivers, combining theoretical approaches, numerical simulation, and laboratory experiments, guided by field data analyses. For this summer program, the student will work with graduate students to perform controlled laboratory experiments for tsunami’s transformation and evolution through river entrance. While the research is designed to advance fundamentals in tsunami mechanics, it yields information directly beneficial to the public safety and to reducing damage to infrastructure in the areas along the rivers.
- Development of an Inventory of Construction Equipment Emissions in Oregon | Mentor: Ingrid Arocho
- Application of Mobile LiDAR in Roadway Work Zones | Mentor: John Gambatese
- A high priority for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is the safety of motorists and workers within construction work zones. Many safety issues in work zones stem from the inability of drivers to see workers, equipment, and signs, and the quality of implementation of traffic control measures. Current mobile scanning technologies, such as mobile LiDAR, may provide an effective and efficient means to assess construction operations and site conditions in work zones and enhance safety monitoring and control. ODOT is sponsoring an on-going research study to investigate how mobile LiDAR can be used to assess the quality of work zones, especially with respect to temporary and permanent signage, and construction operations and equipment. For this summer undergraduate research opportunity, the student will assist with scanning work zones on high-speed roadways using mobile LiDAR, processing the scan data using 3D visualization software, and analyzing the work zone scans to determine safety impacts to motorists and workers. In addition, the research involves a comparison between the abilities of visualization equipment and the abilities of people to perform the site investigations and safety assessments.
- Quantifying the Performance of Low-Noise Rumble Strips | Mentor: David Hurwitz
- Roadway departure crashes account for 66% of all highway fatalities in Oregon, the majority of which happen on rural highways. Rumble strips, either on the shoulder or on the center-line, are a low-cost countermeasure which have been shown to significantly reduce roadway departure crashes. The noise and vibration generated by the rumble strips alerts drivers when they are departing the traveled way. In Oregon, these are either milled-in or installed with raised durable striping. Previous research indicates that on rural 2-lane roadways, shoulder rumble strips (SRS) reduce run-off-road (ROR) fatal injury crashes by 33% and all ROR crashes by 15%. Even though they are inexpensive to install, easy to maintain, and have a very long service life, it is not always possible to install rumble strips on many roadway segments due to noise concerns. Residents living adjacent to highways have complained to ODOT regarding the noise generated by traditional milled-in rumble strips. As a result, rumble strips are not currently installed on many roadway segments – even where there is documented evidence of lane departure crashes. The student will work with Professor Hurwitz and his graduate students to evaluate the feasibility of using sinusoidal as a substitute for traditional milled rumble strips on highway segments with lane departure crash problems. A quantitative and empirical comparison of the in-vehicle noises and vibrations and roadside noises of sinusoidal and traditional rumble strips will give an indication as to whether the sinusoidal pattern can potentially be used as a substitute for the traditional pattern in areas with lane crash problems.
- Location Tracking of Construction Crew with UWB to Detect Imminent Safety Hazard Conditions on Construction Sites | Mentor: Joseph Louis
- Construction project sites and operations are fraught with uncertainty and risk due to the unique nature of the construction process. These inherent qualities include the fragmented nature of the construction team that is working on the site, workspace sharing necessitated by overlapping schedules, and the non-standardized nature and broad range of work tasks that are performed on a project. This project seeks to study the movement of workers in tight workspaces using location tracking devices such as ultra wide band (UWB) in order to identify patterns that result in hazardous conditions on the worksite. The students will focus on collecting and analyzing data from a construction worksite, with the goal of identifying and predicting hazardous conditions.
- MINERS: Multiple Inlet and Estuary Remote Sensing | Mentor: Merrick Haller
- MINERS is a 5-year project funded by the Office of Naval Research to investigate hazardous tidal currents in coastal inlets. In this project, researchers in the Nearshore Remote Sensing Group will be conducting field work at the mouth of the Connecticut River in June of 2017, for the purpose of better understanding the dynamic current fronts that develop on the ebbing and flooding tides and how they impact the U.S. Navy's undersea acoustics operations. Navigational inlets are dynamic places that are often dangerous for fishing boats and cargo ships, so our observations will contribute to improved maritime navigational safety. The U.S. Navy is also interested in these data because they show how fresh water coming out of the estuaries interacts with the salty ocean water forming internal tidal bores. These highly turbulent features are hazards to Navy underwater vehicles and disrupt underwater acoustic communication systems. The summer undergraduate researcher would be involved in the field work during the last half of June, which involves operating instrumentation from our land station at the US Coast Guard Station on the Connecticut River. The analysis effort will involve digital image processing of our radar remote sensing observations in order to extract the space/time locations of internal tidal bores and analyze their dynamics.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) Based Fall Hazard Identification and Prevention in Construction Safety Planning | Mentor: Yelda Turkan
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) adoption in building design and construction for a variety of applications has drastically increased within the past decade. These applications have mainly focused on using BIM to better building systems coordination process, and developing 4D simulations (3D model and schedule) to improve project scheduling and coordination. Combined use of BIM-based modeling and 4D simulations would also help improve safety planning. This project will investigate how potential hazards can be identified and eliminated early in the planning phase of a construction project by incorporating safety regulations into BIM effectively. The students will focus on identifying fall hazard related safety regulations and incorporating them into BIM of an on-going commercial building construction project.
- A Performance Specification for Concrete: A Rapid Test That Uses Formation Factor As Determined From Electrical Resistivity | Mentors: Jason Ideker and Jason Weiss
- The objective of this work is to provide sufficient background to propose a simple, cost effective and scientifically valid specification to improve concrete durability. This approach will be based on the formation factor that can provide an alternative to the current prescriptive water to cement ratio (w/c) limits or rapid chloride permeability specifications for durability. Further, the formation factor can be used in both corrosion based studies as well as freeze-thaw life cycle predictions. This has an enormous advantage over several proposed approaches based on resistivity alone as this approach overcomes limitations of using only electrical resistivity, thereby promoting increased use of mixtures with limestone or SCMs. In this summer project the undergraduate research assistant will aid a graduate student in mixing concrete batches, casting a wide variety of concrete samples and doing various analytical techniques to assess the formation factor for these mixtures. One of the fun tests we will do is to squeeze the “juice” out of the concrete using a pore solution extraction device and analyzing the chemical constituents of the pore solution using an x-ray fluorescence machine.
- Effect of Steel Corrosion on the Resilience of Reinforced Concrete Structures in Marine Environments | Mentor: Burkan Isgor
- Salt water in marine environments is a problem for reinforced concrete structures because of its potential initiate steel corrosion. Typically, the problem is limited to structures that are directly exposed to ocean water. After a tsunami, structural elements that are not designed for direct exposure to marine salts will receive a high dose of salt exposure in a single event. This high-dose salt exposure might initiate corrosion in long term and affect the resilience of critical concrete structures in subsequent earthquakes by reducing their load carrying capacity. The issue is expected to be critical for structures that are already damaged during the earthquake preceding the tsunami due to possible presence of localized seismic cracking which will allow salts to reach reinforcement level rather quickly. This study will investigate this phenomenon through modeling. Our research group has already developed computer models to study salt transport in concrete and corrosion of steel reinforcement. The undergraduate research student will use these computer models to simulate hypothetical cases to assess how the resilience of reinforced concrete structures in marine environments change due to corrosion initiation after a single tsunami event.
- Evaluation of Pin and Hanger Assemblies in Existing Bridges | Mentor: Judy Liu and Chris Higgins
- There is a need for better capacity prediction of existing pin and hanger bridge assemblies, beyond methods in the present AASHTO Specifications. To address this need, we are conducting research with the goal of developing comprehensive, mechanics-based yet simplified equations that can be applied to effectively rate pin and hanger assemblies for existing bridges without requiring further complex analyses. A literature review is underway, exploring past AASHO and present AASHTO Specifications and guidelines for design and construction. Additional review is needed of the existing research on physical testing and analytical simulations of pin and hanger assemblies for bridges; the materials used for the pins, hanger plates, and pin plates and the characteristics that influence their performance; and existing nondestructive evaluation methods used to assess the condition and properties of pin and hanger assemblies. The student will conduct a literature review, develop an inventory of Caltrans bridges with the relevant connection details, and develop capacity predictions of existing pin and hanger assemblies.
- Applied Video Gaming: Infrastructure Asset Management with Mobile Lidar | Mentors: Michael Olsen
- State Departments of Transportation and other entities are responsible for managing a wide range of infrastructure. It is a major challenge for these entities to collect information on what they own, what condition their assets are in, and eventually predict what their future needs will be. Mobile lidar is an exciting new technology that can map features at highway speeds at unprecedented detail that can help with these objectives. Mobile lidar generates data to create a virtual world much like those in a video game, but these data are dimensionally accurate and usable for engineering analyses. A challenge, however, is managing and effectively extracting information from this data. In this project, you will work on extracting features from mobile lidar point clouds for asset management and then test several data processing algorithms to evaluate their accuracy. You will also have the opportunity to work directly with a mobile lidar system to collect some 3D data. Visit http://learnmobilelidar.com to learn more about this exciting technology.
- Using Neutron Radiography to Study Fluid Transport in Concrete | Mentors: Jason Weiss
- This project will consist of utilizing innovative experimental measurements of moisture movement in concrete materials using neutron radiography. Neutron radiography provides high resolution temporal and spatial information regarding moisture content and movement. The neutron images will be processed to obtain data that will be valuable for the development models for the long-term service life of concrete. Specifically this work will work toward an improved understanding of parameters that are used in a recently developed numerical model for predicting the life of concrete exposed to salt application and freezing. It is anticipated that this work will inform new national standards developing such as the FHWA (federal highway administration) performance specifications for concrete pavements program or the AASHTO (american association of state highway and transportation officials) new specification for concrete performance (AASHTO PP-84).