The fight to protect infrastructure

Below the ground, unseen, the backbone of modern civilization is starting to crumble.

From small towns to megacities worldwide, bacteria in wastewater are destroying sewers, pipelines, and treatment plants. The phenomenon, known as microbial-induced corrosion, impacts any community that produces wastewater.

Although there is no standard test method to assess the extent of this corrosion, Oregon State engineers are designing a safer, quicker, more accurate test of products used to prevent it.

The Adrenaline Rush of Bridge Inspecting

When Nick Clark earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Oregon State University in 1997, he never imagined he’d be rappelling from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, or into a newly formed crater in the spillway of the country’s tallest dam, Oroville Dam. Since completing his training in industrial rope access in 2008, his unique skill set has taken him to 30 different states to perform bridge inspections. Some of the work was fear-inducing at first, he said, but as he gradually expanded his comfort zone, it has become exciting.

Eyes from the sky

The radar tower stretches into the sky. Walking up the beach, Annika O’Dea and Alex Simpson point it out, a single structure overlooking the dunes. A kilometer away, its spinning top is just barely visible in the foggy October morning.

Engineering the American Dream

When Jai Kim (’59 B.S. and ’60 M.S., Civil Engineering) got on a cargo ship from South Korea to San Francisco in 1955, he had $150 in his pocket (the equivalent of about $1,400 today) and barely spoke English. He’d been admitted to a school in Texas, where he planned to study engineering. But he discovered, while making the voyage, that the Texas school didn’t have an engineering program. Rather than give up on his dream, he decided to make his way to Corvallis and see about attending Oregon State University.

Fred J. Burgess

Thirty-five years ago, Fred J. Burgess (’50 B.S., Civil Engineering), the fifth dean of the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, told a reporter that he envisaged a telecommunications network that could break through the physical barriers of the university.

“Our [professors] could lecture to classes on other campuses as well as ours,” Burgess said, seven years before most people had heard of the World Wide Web and decades before electronic distance learning became ubiquitous.

Doctoral student Masoud Ghodrat Abadi stays on the move

You need a scorecard to keep track of Masoud Ghodrat Abadi’s accomplishments since he arrived at Oregon State in 2014 to start his doctoral work in transportation engineering. Topping his own list is the Eno Fellowship that he earned last spring, an honor bestowed on just 20 graduate students in the entire country annually by the Eno Center for Transportation. The Eno Center is the nation’s preeminent transportation policy and professional development organization.

Research aims to set best practices in determining liquefaction potential

Through a $1.12 million grant from the National Science Foundation, faculty at Oregon State University and the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating to better understand how soil responds to earthquakes – and ultimately produce research that will deliver safer and more secure surroundings for the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Engineering bridges to span borders

The 6.7 temblor that struck Northridge, Calif., 20 years ago caused an estimated $20 billion in damages during 20 seconds of shaking. Although it was a strong quake, the world has seen much worse, and it was a wakeup call to civil engineers. Collapsed overpasses and pancaked buildings stood as mute, deadly testimony to the fact that the modern construction techniques used at the time were no match for the forces of nature.

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