A mission by University of Rhode Island engineering students to treat wastewater at a Guatemalan school brought students to the nation’s capital in April 2014.
At the National Sustainable Design Expo, students updated government officials and industry executives on their multi-year project in rural San Mateo Ixtatán, Guatemala. Under the auspices of the Engineers for a Sustainable World URI chapter, the students have designed and started to implement a septic system for a local school. The low-maintenance, self-running system replaces a pipe that deposited raw sewage into a nearby river.
The students will travel to Guatemala in the summer of 2014 to continue work on the project. They plan to build a sand filter and constructed wetlands to serve as a secondary treatment process for the septic tank they previously installed.
Students who presented in Washington, D.C. were Maria Briones (’14), Mattia Gorga (’15), Jonathan Rosales (’16), Joseph Rocchio (’16), and Engineers for a Sustainable World URI chapter President Jessica Damicis (’15). Civil engineering Professor Vinka Oyanedel-Craver serves as the group’s advisor.]]>
Oyanedel-Craver will use the five-year, $432,000 award to study how bacteria respond when exposed to rare earth element oxide and metal nanoparticles. Such nanoparticles are used as contrast agents during MRI examinations and as agents to prevent odors in clothing, among other uses.
When released into the environment, such nanoparticles may change how bacteria function. Because bacteria recycle environmental nutrients and some of them can cause disease, their reaction to exposure to nanoparticles is of interest to researchers.
“Nanotechnology can greatly improve our quality of life through the development of more effective medicines or materials with novel functionalities,” Oyanedel-Craver says. “However, this technology needs to be developed in a responsible way. My research will help to ensure minimum negative impacts to the environment and human health.”
The CAREER Award comes as the College of Engineering seeks to focus its research around seven themes. One emphasizes nanoparticles research and another seeks to leverage engineering expertise to deliver clean water around the world. As a group, the seven themes seek to shape the world in which we live.]]>
That bumpy ride over a bridge is not just an uncomfortable, but possibly causing the bridge to deteriorate prematurely. Civil engineering Associate Professor Mayrai Gindy wants to better understand how the smoothness of concrete bridges can lengthen the lives of bridges and, ultimately, improve their safety.
Armed with a $131,370 grant from the R.I. Department of Transportation, Gindy will conduct research to determine the relationship between the placement of steel rebar in bridge decks and the measured smoothness of the deck that carries traffic. She’ll use ground-penetrating radar to locate the rebar in bridges and then use a surface-profiling machine to measure the smoothness of the concrete.
Back in her lab, Gindy will put all the results together to find the optimized location for rebar and just how much concrete workers should pour over the steel bars. In the end, her results will bring a smoother ride for drivers.]]>
In late September 2013, Marinaccio was selected as one of the elite few to participate in the American Public Works Association Emerging Leaders Academy. The yearlong program offers young professionals leadership and management training and accepts just 16 or so people a year.
We’re positive Marinaccio will shine in the program. While at the University of Rhode Island, he traveled to San Mateo Ixtatan, Guatemala to assist the improvised village design a rainwater runoff catchment system and bio digester for a local school. (Watch the video.)
According to Dr. Gindy, one of the most important challenges facing structural engineers today is the development and implementation of effective techniques for detecting, diagnosing, and treating structural damage. To meet this challenge, future structural engineers must possess a true understanding of the behavior of structures in various conditions and under various static and dynamic loadings. Although structural analysis is a basic component of the undergraduate civil engineering curriculum, students are seldom provided the opportunity to instrument and test real structural components using state-of-the-art equipment.
By introducing current sensor technologies and structural testing practices to the undergraduate curriculum, URI civil engineering students will be better equipped for a seamless transition into a diverse and globally-oriented workforce. The proposed interdisciplinary approach between CVE and ELE faculty will bring a unique perspective to the processing and interpretation of structural response data. CVE students will learn advanced signal processing analysis, filter design and numerical modeling techniques for enhancing their ability to accurately assess structural behavior while ELE students will gain experience in instrumentation used to measure, record, process and analyze data collected in real world settings. This will serve as an academic model for developing multi-disciplinary partnerships within the engineering college departmental structure that is historically divided into traditional, independent engineering disciplines.
Equipment to be used in this lab includes accelerometers, tiltmeters, linear variable differential transducers, a data acquisition system, laser doppler vibrometer, a portable weigh-in-motion system, and a strain system. Ten computer stations will be available for processing of field data as well as a van equipped to house the various instrumentation units.]]>