Tag Archives: Civil engineering

UM FastTrack Grant Awarded to Professors Hart & Kevern

In early Spring 2014 a provisional patent was filed by UMKC based on civil engineering Associate Professor John Kevern and Assistant Professor Megan Hart’s research on using actively enhanced pervious concrete (AEPC) as a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) for polluted groundwater treatment.  The University of Missouri FastTrack program has recently confirmed funding research by co-PIs Dr. John Kevern and Dr. Megan Hartto turn this research into a licensable technology.  Groundwater is the water source for approximately 50% of the world’s population, and approximately 30% of groundwater is estimated to be contaminated, requiring an actionable technology for remediation.

The project, Enhanced Pervious Concrete as a Permeable Reactive Barrier Technology, is divided into five tasks which will be performed over the course of one year from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015.  These tasks will provide the researchers the data and information needed to assemble a prospectus report suitable for dissemination to interested parties. This technology has the potential to replace or supplement the commercial applications of zero valent iron or comparable technology which treats on average 25-50% contaminated groundwater and it will be far less expensive than current techniques.

Our congratulations to Drs. Hart and Kevern!  We look forward to learning more about the results of their research and the commercialization of this technology.

Professors Chen and Kevern speak at MSPE WC meeting


SCE civil engineering professors, Drs. ZhiQiang Chen and John Kevern were invited speakers at the March 20, 2014 Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Western Chapter (MSPE WC) monthly meeting. Continue reading

UMKC SCE Hosts First Annual RooBuilders Competition


The first annual RooBuilders bridge-building competition for Kansas City area middle and high school students was held on Saturday, Feb. 22 at UMKC’s Pierson Auditorium.

Eleven teams – eight in the high school division and three in the middle school division – competed at the event, testing bridges they had constructed from balsa wood, glue and a card sheet. The competition, which encourages critical thinking and teamwork, challenged students to design, build and test a unique bridge that would be evaluated on its creative design, load capacity and load efficiency.

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Ceki Halmen Receives IIRP funding

Ceki Halmen, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, has received funding for “Decision Support Tool Model for Scheduling and Resource Allocation in Construction Projects” research in collaboration with Dr. Haitao Li from University of Missouri-Saint Louis. They will receive $37,000 from the University of Missouri Interdisciplinary Intercampus Research Program. The award is competitive and signifies confidence that the work will “elevate the University’s stature through enhanced scholarship and acquisition of external funds.”

Timothy Hines and Sean Rivers 2012-2013 Student LEAP Award Recipients

Tim Hines accepts the LEAP AwardCongratulations to Timothy (Tim) Hines and Sean Rivers! They are UMKC SCE’s 2012-2013 Student Leadership Excellence Achievement Program (LEAP) Award winners. Each year, the student LEAP award is earned by the two Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) student chapter members that write the best 300 – 1,000 word essays on engineering ethics. This year the question addressed in the student essays was based on this scenario “Is it unethical to develop an evening part-time job unrelated to your full-time engineering position, and why, or how do you resolve this professional obligation issue?”
Sean Rivers accepts his LEAP AwardTim & Sean were honored at the March 21, 2013 dinner/presentation that our UMKC MSPE student chapter hosted for the MSPE WC. Their names will be added to the LEAP Award Recipient plaque housed in Flarsheim Hall. Included with each award is a $50.00 gift certificate. The annual LEAP Award was established by the MSPE WC in 2005. In addition to the two student LEAP award winners, one SCE faculty each year is the recipient of the faculty Leadership Excellence Achievement Program (LEAP) award. The UMKC School of Computing and Engineering faculty 2012-2013 LEAP award winner is Ceki Halmen, P.E., Assistant Professor in SCE’s Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department. He was awarded the LEAP Award by the student members of the MSPE/NSPE. The faculty LEAP Award recognizes one SCE faculty per year for “demonstrated mentoring abilities that encourage students to seek leadership excellence in the engineering profession.”

LEAP Award Recipients LEAP Awards Ceremony 2013


Ceki Halmen 2012-2013 Faculty LEAP Award Recipient

4242Congratulations to Ceki Halmen, P.E., Assistant Professor in SCE’s Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department, and winner of the annual faculty Leadership Excellence Achievement Program (LEAP) Award which was established by the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Western Chapter (MSPE WC) in 2005. The LEAP award recognizes annually the SCE faculty, as determined by MSPE student chapter members via secret ballot, who has “demonstrated mentoring abilities that encourage students to seek leadership excellence in the engineering profession.” Dr. Ceki Halmen was honored at the March 21, 2013 dinner/presentation that our UMKC MSPE student chapter hosted for the MSPE WC. Speaking at the dinner was UMKC SCE’s Dr. Greg King who gave a presentation on the research he is conducting into how falls happen at the UMKC Human Balance and Ambulation Research Laboratory. LEAP award winners were featured on the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Western Chapter (MSPE WC) webpage and their names will be added to the LEAP Award Recipient plaque housed in Flarsheim Hall. The UMKC MSPE student chapter has benefited greatly from MSPE WC’s mentorship and support and thanks them for their sponsorship of the LEAP award.

4230In addition to the faculty LEAP award, student LEAP awards are earned annually by the two MSPE student chapter students that write the best 300 – 1,000 word essays on engineering ethics. This year the question addressed in the student essays was based this scenario “Is it unethical to develop the evening part-time job unrelated to your full-time engineering position, and why, or how do you resolve this professional obligation issue?” This year’s student winners are Timothy Hines and Sean Rivers.

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Ryan Holmes To Attend NSF’s NEES-REU Summer Program

Ryan Holmes, a SCE civil engineering student, was recently awarded an opportunity to attend the 2013 NSF’s NEES-REU Summer Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. This summer research program is designed for upper division undergraduate students interested in Earthquake Engineering. Ryan will spend 10 weeks at Reno and work on one of the NEES projects. The focus of his study will be on shake table modeling and seismic risk mitigation. As a part of the program, he will have the opportunity to attend a “Young Researchers’ Symposium” and the NEES Annual Meeting. Ryan Holmes has been working with Dr. ZhiQiang Chen in several research projects and has coauthored two technical papers. In the picture, Ryan Holmes (front) was preparing a unique dynamic fluid-soil-structure testing with Dr. Chen’s graduate student, Rahul Tripathi.

According to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) webpage, NSF “created the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) to give researchers the tools to learn how earthquakes and tsunami impact the buildings, bridges, utility systems and other critical components of today’s society. NEES is a network of 15 large-scale, experimental sites that feature such advanced tools as shake tables, centrifuges that simulate earthquake effects, unique laboratories, a tsunami wave basin and field-testing equipment. All are linked to a centralized data pool and earthquake simulation software, bridged together by the high-speed Internet2. The new NEESgrid system, a communications web that uses collaborative tools and tele-presence technologies, allows off-site researchers to interact in real time with any of the networked sites. With these tools, engineers and students from all parts of the country can collaborate on multi-site experiments using simulators that generate earthquake effects strong enough to bring down full-sized buildings.”

18 SCE Students & 2 Faculty Tour USACE ERDC Laboratories in Vicksburg, MS

Providing SCE students educational enhancement and career development opportunities are key missions of both our UMKC Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) and our UMKC Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) student chapters. This Spring Break they teamed up to provide their members an astonishing opportunity, a travel expense paid trip to tour the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering Research Development Center in Vicksburg, MS on Monday, March 25 followed by a visit to the Lower Mississippi River Museum and participation at the Vicksburg SAME Post luncheon and presentation on Tuesday, March 26. Accompanying the students on the trip were civil engineering faculty Dr. Ceki Halmen and Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, MSPE Student Chapter Vice President Sean Rivers and MSPE Student Chapter staff advisor Jane Vogl. Funding was provided by the MSPE Student Chapter, the SCE Student Council, the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, the SCE Alumni Board, and the Greater Kansas City Post of the Society of American Military Engineers. Dean Kevin Truman, SAME student chapter faculty advisor, and Jane Vogl helped to arrange the trip.

The very worthwhile ERDC visit started with a warm welcome from ERDC Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory Director Dr. David Pittman. Dr. Pittman and his team provided SCE students information on careers at USACE and ERDC. He encouraged students to investigate the USACE for career possibilities as job opportunities become available. Students then visited each of the four state-of-the art laboratories open for public touring. With tremendous enthusiasm researchers at each laboratory discussed their work, how they conducted their research and shared some of their results. Because much of ERDC’s research is classified, especially the research intended to support and enable the warfighter, SCE students were left to ponder just exactly what was going on the dozens of building they did not visit within the complex. See the USACE ERDC overview fact sheet and the Media Fact Sheet about ERDC laboratories to obtain a perspective on the size and scope of ERDC’s work and mission.

Highlights of the ERDC tour included 1) viewing the 1-55 ft scale model of the McNary Lock and Dam and hearing about the research into lock and dam designs that are able to co-exist with local fish populations; 2) driving a barge in a simulated lock and dam; 3) experiencing and interacting with a simulation of driving a ship in San Francisco bay; 4) visiting the Hazardous Waste Research Center where research into removing lead from soil was described along with research into removing pollutants from sediments; 5) learning how ERDC utilizes an incredibly powerful centrifuge to conduct blast research; and 6) viewing 3-D simulations of research data and experiments in the Information Technology Laboratory.

Due to a happy coincidence, the Vicksburg Post of The Society of American Military Engineers monthly luncheon/presentation was the day after the ERDC tour. SCE students and faculty received a fantastic welcome, enjoyed a great lunch and found the presentation on weather trends extremely informative. After the luncheon, Colonel Kevin Wilson of ERDC and Colonel Jeffrey Eckstein of the USACE Vicksburg District talked with students encouraging them to excellence in their studies and their careers.

The Vicksburg trip is one of several professional trips being taken by SCE students this March and April. The UMKC National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Student Chapter members are participating in the NSBE 2013 Annual Convention in Indianapolis, IN and the UMKC IEEE Student Chapter members are participating in the IEEE Robotics Competition in Denver, CO.

CE422 Reinforced Concrete Design lab featured on YouTube

Each fall, our Reinforced Concrete Design Lab provides our civil engineering students hand’s on experiences in the design, construction and testing of concrete beams. This year the experience was captured and posted to YouTube by civil engineering senior Scott Jackson. Scott’s lab mate civil engineering senior Antonio Sanchez described the insights they obtained from the experience. “By going through the entire process from making the forms to pouring the concrete, we learned to appreciate the procedure that goes into making a designed beam become real. The testing also allowed us to experience what we’ve been looking at in our books with regards to the different types of cracks that may appear on the concrete beam throughout its service life and analyze the causes of why they appear. It is a very useful experience to have when contrasted to the constant classroom environment.”

Scott shot the video to show it “to others who post SolidWorks and CAD designing projects online” and to capture and share with classmates, family and friends the work he and his classmates have done on projects like this one. Featured in the video is CE422 Reinforced Concrete Design Professor Ganesh Thiagarajan, GTA Gunjan Shetye and civil engineering students Scott Jackson, Antonio Sanchez and Brandon Sisk as the class is divided into 5-6 small groups with each laboratory group responsible for the construction of one of the several beams that will be tested. The student projects are designed to give students insight into the fundamental concepts and effects of reinforcement in concrete flexural members, specifically 1) flexural behavior in terms of reinforcement ratios and its effect on ductility and 2) shear behavior and the role of shear reinforcement (stirrups). The beam shown in the video was one of three different types constructed by the class with each type differing in the amount of steel that was placed to resist the tension forces when pressure loads were applied. Deflection was measured and calculations were based on 150 lbs/cf. We think it’s safe to say, “Beam us up, Engineer Scott”.

Computer Science and Engineering Majors earn top dollars

According to the CNNMoney article, The 15 college majors with the biggest payoffs, engineering and computer science majors can expect great starting salaries upon graduation. Our SCE students will be glad to know that “to get the best financial return on an investment in four years of college… it helps to have a head for numbers”. Here’s how the majors stacked up:

Median pay for a recent college graduate with a full-time job in 2010, the researchers found, stood at $53,976. But these 15 majors commanded substantially more:

1. Pre-med $100,000
2. Computer systems engineering $85,000
3. Pharmacy $84,000
4. Chemical engineering $80,000
5. Electrical and electronics engineering $75,000
6. Mechanical engineering $75,000
7. Aerospace and aeronautical engineering $74,000
8. Computer science $73,000
9. Industrial engineering $73,000
10. Physics and astronomy $72,200
11. Civil engineering $70,000
12. Electrical and electronics engineering technology $65,000
13. Economics $63,300
14. Financial management $63,000
15. Mechanical engineering technology $63,000