Engineering Ideas for Tomorrow -- College of Engineering 1997 Annual Report
Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering 1997 Annual Report -- Engineering Ideas for Tomorrow

Robert L. Smith, Jr. (Chair)
2205 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1691
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Tel: 608/262-3542
Fax: 608/262-5199

Refining and developing new standards for asphalt paved roads

  No-fault Asphalt
Researchers in asphalt laboratory

With its new 1,600 square-foot asphalt materials research lab, the Asphalt Pavement Research Program has become a leader in evaluating and refining modern asphalt testing systems. Under the direction of Assistant Professor Hussain U. Bahia, researchers are refining and developing new procedures and standards for Superpave. Superpave was developed by the Strategic Highway Research Program to create tools needed to design asphalt pavements that perform better under temperature extremes and heavy traffic loads. The asphalt lab is part of the Wisconsin Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory. It is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments used for asphalt binder testing, mix production and characterization. Professors Bahia, Peter J. Bosscher, Awad S. Hanna and Jeffrey S. Russell will use the equipment to refine the Superpave system and help state highway departments across the country design roads that will better resist rutting and cracking. Pictured working in the college's asphalt lab are students Kristine Nelson (front), Andrew White (back, left) and Professor Bahia (48K JPG).

Badger paddlers return to National Concrete Canoe Competition

For the third consecutive year, civil and environmental engineering students made it to the National Concrete Canoe Competition. Badger paddlers placed ninth in a competitive field of 25 schools. Sponsored by Master Builders, Inc., and the American Society of Civil Engineers, the 10th annual event, held in Cleveland, Ohio, featured some of the nation's brightest students applying the basic laws of physics, advanced engineering and materials science to design and construct concrete canoes. They not only float, but are light, fast and extremely maneuverable. To advance to nationals, teams had to first win a regional competition. UW-Madison secured its position by winning the Great Lakes Regional at Purdue University, placing first in all but one event. Teams were judged on written and oral presentations detailing the design, construction and material composition of their canoes, and by how well they did in a combination of sprint, distance and coed races. The college's boat, dubbed "Wisconcrete Woody," was painted by an airbrush artist to look like a high-quality cedar strip canoe. The artwork was so realistic that some passersby thought the vessel to be an actual wooden boat. The team is advised by Professor James P. Scherz and Associate Professor Jeffrey S. Russell.

Growing and controlling biofilms

Corroded pipes, reduced efficiency in industrial cooling systems and clogged water filters are all effects of microbial biofilms. They also cause medical problems by infecting host tissues, and harboring bacteria that contaminate drinking water. On the other hand, biofilms are used in treating wastewater and in bioremediation of contaminated soil. Eliminating biofilms where they do harm and promoting them where they are useful is the ultimate goal of Assistant Professor Daniel R. Noguera. Using fluorescent genetic markers to tag parts of microbes in a matrix of organisms, Noguera plans to visualize the spatial distribution of microorganisms in a biofilm. Using sophisticated mathematical modeling in combination with fluorescent markers, Noguera hopes to study the microscopic structure of biofilms and to elucidate the importance of this microstructure in the stability of the microbial community. This knowledge could be used to develop new strategies for growth prevention and control of unwanted biofilms, and to improve the growth and activity of useful biofilms.

New environmental option for students

This fall, undergraduates in civil engineering will be able to specialize in environmental engineering and receive recognition on their diploma for the option in addition to the civil engineering degree. Environmental engineering faculty developed a new curriculum and courses needed to meet accreditation requirements. "We believe this new option will help address the increased demand for environmental engineers and ever-increasing interest in protecting human health and the ecosystems," says Professor Paul M. Berthouex, director of the new program. The new option provides all the advantages of a separate degree, while giving flexibility to students who develop an interest in environmental work. On the advice of practicing engineers, the option retains the basic civil engineering courses in structures and geotechnical engineering. The program differs in the applied engineering requirements and in some engineering core courses and natural science electives.

Copyright © 1997 University System Board of Regents

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Date last modified: Thursday, 02-Oct-1997 12:00:00 CDT
Date created: 2-Oct-1997

1997 Annual Report Contents