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Departmental Research

Research in the MSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is broadly based. Projects are underway in the department’s thrust areas of Structures, Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Materials and Geotechnical Engineering, Transportation, and Construction Engineering and Management. Funding sources include National Science foundation, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U. S. Navy, U. S. Department of Transportation, US EPA, and a variety of other agencies, corporations and organizations.

Environmental and Water Resource Engineering research focuses on quality and quantity of surface water, with emphasis on computational environmental hydraulics, computational surface water quality modeling, sedimentation engineering and waterborne transportation/navigation engineering. Current and recent research projects include the development of improved hydraulic and water quality models and application of those models to assess water quality variations, such as in the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Examples of recent model applications include St. Louis Bay (MS), the Big Sunflower River (MS), the Harpeth River (TN), Cahaba River (AL), and Big Bear Lake (CA). Alternatives for developing biomass for alternative fuel production and studies on biological fuel cells are underway. Optimizing aquaculture systems by reducing energy cost and minimizing management and harvest costs while improving product quality are being studied. Other research includes developing engineering solutions to chronic port sedimentation problems; and developing tools for the planning of intermodal infrastructure improvements for handling increased freight flow economically and with the least environmental impact.

Materials and Geotechnical Engineering research benefits from well-equipped laboratories for testing soils and pavement materials. Research interests include foundations and pavement design, maintenance, and rehabilitation. Research capabilities include full hot mix asphalt (HMA) material constituents (asphalt binder, aggregate, and additive) evaluation, Superpave HMA mixture design and analysis, HMA mix accelerated performance testing, and design and mixture analysis for Portland and Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) concretes. Pavement material characterization along with finite element analyses of pavement systems is also being conducted. Currently research is being conducted on air void structure distribution in portland cement concrete mixes, hot mix asphalt (HMA) layer interface shear strength, HMA moisture susceptibility, and HMA dynamic modulus testing.

Structural Engineering research includes application of finite element analysis, structural reliability, and physical testing of steel, reinforced concrete, timber, and composites structures. Recent research projects include: finite element analysis and testing of a composite mobile bridge joint; optimization of a submarine sail structure; analysis and testing of the DDX-class destroyer structural panels; development of a numerical model for the behavior of masonry walls subjected to blast loads; dynamic testing and finite element analysis of metal building roofs under non-uniform, time-varying wind loads; and development of reliability-based, load and resistance factor (LRFD) engineering design codes.

Transportation Engineering research focuses on applications of new technologies and advanced modeling techniques to solving existing transportation problems. Research interests include modeling and simulation of transportation networks, transportation planning, intermodal transportation, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Recent and current research projects include development of an accident detection system at intersections, intermodal freight transportation planning, microscopic traffic simulation and modeling, development of trustworthy intermodal traffic measures, and study of traffic flow in freeway work zones.

Construction Management and Engineering research focuses on mitigating the management challenges associated with the sustainability of the built environment including resource dynamics for civil infrastructure development, societal vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards, building information modeling and management, and mitigating conflicts, claims, and disputes in the construction industry. Some of the ongoing projects include studying how: social network analysis can be utilized to study transportation systems, game theory can be used to improve construction bidding strategies, system dynamics can help attain high performance project outcomes, the different sustainability rating systems can enable infrastructure development, national contractors can be better enabled to work in an evolving global world, financial derivatives can be used to improve conditions of construction workers, social media networks can be utilized in emergency management, and green sustainability initiatives can support smart grid infrastructures.