Research in Computational Mechanics covers a broad spectrum of topics including: Coupled-physics problems, i.e. thermal-fluid-mechanical systems such as earthquake faults; Evolving discontinuity methods for capturing fracture, shear banding, and other forms of localized deformation; Faulting and earthquake engineering, including soil-structure interaction; Geo-mechanical issues in energy production, including hydrocarbon reservoirs, carbon sequestration, and heat pumps; Computational plasticity, damage and constitutive modeling; Finite elements and other computational techniques.
Construction Engineering and Management graduate studies and research at the Civil and Materials Engineering Department mainly focus on best practices in Integrated Construction Project Management (IPM) with regards to the optimization methodologies for the construction projects given the multitude of constraints including the project budget, schedule, risk, quality requirements, human resources, communication channels, procurement practices and the stakeholder management. In concert with these initiatives, we look into the existing or potential interdisciplinary connections that exist between the construction engineering and across the other economic, social and societal sectors that are often overlooked at traditional project management research and resource optimization practices. These competencies include, but not limited to, engineering entrepreneurship; construction budgeting and financial planning; organizational behavior; managerial strategic planning; game-theory applications in construction management; cultural and intercultural considerations in managing multinational and multi-background engineering project teams; litigations and construction claims as well as the health and safety, and sustainability initiatives in construction engineering and project management.
Environmental research activities include: Sustainable environmental restoration and applied environmental biotechnology; Environmental chemistry; Pollution source apportionment; Sediment active capping technologies; Development of separations technologies; Solid phase extraction, solvent extraction, soil washing and flushing; Biodegradation of PCBs in sediments.
Faculty members study the mechanics of earthen structures, earthquake faults, soil-structure interactions and waste containment systems. Research in Geo-environmental engineering has a specific emphasis in polluted site assessment and remediation, sediments, groundwater, brown fields, electro-kinetic remediation, chemical oxidation/reduction, and related issues.
Materials engineering research in CME encompasses multidisciplinary subjects in nano sensors, corrosion detection, advanced ceramics and development of sustainable energy efficient systems. Examples of funded projects include: Early detection of corrosion in steel cables; Lead induced stress corrosion cracking of pressure water nuclear power plants; Nano materials, surfaces and interfaces; Energy harvesting and conversion at the nanometer scale.
In the area of Structural Engineering, the department is involved in cutting edge research in all areas of analysis and design, including reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, and concrete materials research. With major contracts from Shell Oil, the fracture mechanics and durability laboratory conducts research in developing efficient approaches for fracturing and drilling of rocks. In addition, CME researchers conduct pioneering research in fiber optic sensors, acoustic emission sensors, structural health monitoring, and nondestructive testing. Under a grant from NIST, CME faculty members are involved in developing the next generation of wireless acoustic emission sensors for monitoring of bridges. In addition they are using these technologies to develop algorithms for real time damage detection of the eye bars in Bay Bridge. CME faculty members have also received a multi-million dollar NIST contract to develop the next generation of “Fiber Sensing System for Civil Infrastructure Health Monitoring.” Results from this research will replace the existing point sensor measurements with single sensor distributed measurements of large structural systems.
CME faculty conduct research on the sustainability of transportation, water and other infrastructure networks. CME faculty also perform research in sustainable application of remedial engineering design solutions.
CME faculty members conduct innovative research in Transportation planning and modeling, including: Travel behavior analysis; Activity-based travel demand modeling; Micro-simulation modeling methods of urban activities; Integrated land-use and transportation models; Intelligent transportation systems; Sustainable transportation systems; Public transit planning and operations and Goods movement analysis. In addition researchers also collaborate with the Urban Transportation Research Center (UTC) to provide solutions for urban transportation problems.
Research in Water Resources engineering is funded by various agencies including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Geological Survey and various state and industrial sources. Some of the representative research activities include: Impacts of global warming on water resources; Hydromechanics; Hydraulic engineering and structures; Fate and transport of emerging contaminants in the environment; Nutrient removal to prevent eutrophication and combat Gulf hypoxia.