REU Projects - Engineering for Bouncing Back (NSF-supported)

NSF-supported Projects

Using “smart” water infrastructure systems to improve community resilience

  • Faculty Mentor: Samuel J. Rivera
  • Project Description:
    “Smart” water infrastructure systems use advanced sensors, data analytics, and decision support tools to improve the automation and efficiency of integrated “system of water systems at the river-basin" scale. This project will focus on evaluating the potential of these “smart” systems to improve the resilience of different communities to natural hazards. The student will work on various tasks (e.g., writing Python codes, analyzing data, creating maps, and working with sensors) that will help advance current methods to plan and design “smart” water infrastructure systems.

Sustainable, Equitable, and Efficient Debris Management after Disasters

  • Faculty Mentor: Joseph Louis
  • Project Description:
    Disasters generate decades worth of solid waste in a single day! Disposing of debris is a difficult problem that is further complicated by limited resources such as landfills and heavy equipment, and the sheer variety of debris that must be handled. This project seeks to determine the most efficient means of disposing of debris by considering the local constraints of communities after disasters. The student will apply a variety of analytical methods including geospatial analysis and simulation techniques to estimate debris types, volumes, and locations and determine the best course of action for disposing of them.

Micro and nano plastics fate and effects

  • Faculty Mentor: Stacey Harper 
  • Project Description:

    Plastic pollution is an ever-increasing environmental threat. As large-scale plastics break down to form micro and nanoscale plastics, it is essential to investigate their effects on freshwater ecosystems. A diverse group of projects in the Harper laboratory focus on answering some of the questions about where these small plastics go in the environment and what they do when they get there.

Transforming waste for sustainable agriculture

  • Faculty Mentor: Kelsey Stoerzinger
  • Project Description:
    Human and animal waste contain nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) critical for agricultural production, but without controlled application, these waste streams can lead to environmental harm. This project investigates a way to transform liquid waste (i.e., urine) into fertilizer in a metal-air battery for energy security and sustainable agriculture.

Severe weather monitoring using GPS

  • Faculty Mentor: Jihye Park
  • Project Description:

    Monitoring the movement of hurricanes and tornados is critical that can be useful for early warning and evacuation. GPS can record atmospheric effects. This project will 1) investigate the signatures of severe weather events in the lower and upper atmosphere and 2) determine the path of severe weather events.

How to Improve Local and Regional Connectivity for Community-Identified Assets following a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake and Tsunami

  • Faculty Mentor: Daniel Cox
  • Co-Advisor: Jenna Tilt 
  • Project Description:

    Large disasters stemming from hazards like the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami cause islanding (or a lack of connectivity) within the community. This project looks at the isolation or lack of connectivity that Oregon coastal communities experience after the really big one‚ and how long it might take for the transportation networks to recover. The student will use an existing model to study islanding and connectivity, will identify communities with better local connectivity, and will investigate mitigation strategies enabling communities to be connected sooner.

Pathogens inactivation in drinking water using a point-of-use microscale reactor with UV irradiation and titanium dioxide photocatalysis

  • Faculty Mentor: Matthew Coblyn
  • Co-Advisors: Goran Jovanovic and Tala Navab-Daneshmand
  • Project Description:

    Waterborne pathogens are a leading cause of disease and death worldwide. We have developed a microscale-based reactor in combination with UV radiation that meets the drinking water standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization. In this proposed project, we will test the inactivation efficacy of drinking water pathogen indicators using titanium coating in the microscale-based reactor.

Using in-situ soil for 3D printing infrastructure

  • Faculty Mentor: Pavan Akula
  • Project Description:

    The project's goal is to evaluate the feasibility of using in-situ soil for 3D printing infrastructure. The student will determine favorable physical and chemical properties for 3D printing soils, and will use engineering methods (e.g., unconfined compressive strength) to characterize the performance of the printed objects under different environmental conditions. The results from this study will play a key role in developing sustainable materials for constructing future infrastructure.

Ultra-High Performance Low CO2 Concrete for Infrastructure Repair

  • Faculty Mentor: Jason Ideker and Andre Barbosa
  • Project Description:
    This is a hands-on project to develop concrete mixtures that achieve incredibly high strength (18-22,000 psi) and that have a substantially lower carbon footprint (e.g. 20-40%) than current approaches. There is a wide range of applications for these materials from rapid repair to accelerated bridge construction. The student will also participate with the team to develop new construction materials specifications and guidance for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Healthy, and Resilient Buildings

  • Faculty Mentor: Parichehr Salimifard
  • Project Description:

    Do you care about sustainability, climate change, public health, and equity? The vision of Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Buildings Lab is that if we want to have impactful climate action, we should focus on buildings. And the mission of Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Buildings Lab is in its name; to make buildings healthier, more sustainable, and also resilient. The research projects at Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Buildings have crossovers to fluid dynamics, aerosol science, energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental health. In this REU project, you will work with indoor air quality sensors and data and may work in the lab or field to collect and analyze the data.

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