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Students display two semesters of research at annual expo

Seniors in the civil, materials, and environmental engineering department wrapped up two semesters of hard work as they showcased their research, creativity, and skills during the annual UIC Engineering Design Expo.

The expo featured student teams that brought a wide variety of projects to the event. The CME students joined undergraduates from every area of the College of Engineering, who completed the Senior Design Course that challenged them to solve real-world engineering problems.

Award winners

Two teams stood out from the competition as they took home best-in-category awards from the judges, who represented alumni, a variety of professionals from the Chicago region, and faculty from the College of Engineering.

In the Transportation Engineering category, the team of Carter Aldridge, Alex Avalos, Marcos Barron, Carlos Bravo, Kyle Eaheart, and Jeremy Yakes were named winners for their project called “Chicago and Illinois Western Corridor Trail Feasibility Study.”

The team focused on rail-to-trail conversions, which is the transformation of abandoned railway lines into walking and biking trails for pedestrians. It is aimed at improving the lives of residents through rezoning abandoned land, improving air quality by promoting pedal commuting, and encouraging physical activity.

They completed a feasibility study and preliminary design alternatives for a trail proposal that uses the abandoned Canadian National tracks in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

Design components include the path layout, bridges, trail signage, and intersections/crossings with existing trails/roads. The deliverables for this project include the feasibility study, maps showing the path overlaid onto existing terrain, sketches of proposed structures, a brief construction plan, and a cost estimate for the construction of the trail.

In the Water Resources Engineering category, the team of Daniel Ciszewski, Aidan Kobayashi, Jildardo Luna, Edward Mercader, Stephanie Santos, Zach Weitzel won for their project “Stormwater Management Evaluation – Mirage Subdivision, Joliet Illinois.”

This project’s goal is to reduce flooding in a subdivision named Mirage in Joliet, Illinois, which has sustained residential property and public infrastructure damage by flooding during storms in 2013 and 2020.

The watershed leading to the Mirage subdivision includes farmland that has a steep slope and a low soil infiltration rate that creates surface runoff flowing onto County Line Road and Desert Drive. However, the existing stormwater infrastructure does not have adequate capacity to convey the direct runoff from the subdivision and the adjacent farmland for short-duration, high-intensity storm events.

To reduce flooding, the students proposed a design that includes new stormwater pipes, manholes, and a new detention pond that will effectively divert the excess water away from residential properties.

The project includes a cost-benefit analysis, which determines how much money was saved by implementing the design versus the amount of damage done by these storm events.

Learn more about the CME projects at EXPO 2023.