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>> Sample Research Projects

The research interests of our group are broad.  A sample list of some of the present research projects that the Faculty is involved in is provided below. Visitors are encouraged to visit the personal websites of each Faculty to collect more information about their past, present and future research projects.


Current Example Projects


Investigation of the performance of the flood protection systems in New Orleans during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos):  TOP OF PAGE

This project involved:

  1. an initial field reconnaissance, forensic study and data gathering efforts performed quickly after the arrival of Hurricanes Katrina (August 29, 2005) and Rita (September 24, 2005),

  2. a review of the history of the New Orleans regional flood protection system and its development,

  3. a review of the challenging regional geology,

  4. detailed studies of the events during Hurricane Katrina, as well as the causes and mechanisms of the principal failures, and studies of sections that performed successfully as well,

  5. development of findings and preliminary recommendations regarding changes that appear warranted in order to prevent recurrence of this type of catastrophe in the future.

Static and dynamic response and performance of earthen levees (Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos):   TOP OF PAGE

This project studies the static response of levees by analyzing case-histories of levee failures in New Orleans after the passage of Hurricane Katrina. The dynamic response of earthen levees is studied by performing 2-D equivalent linear dynamic analyses of a suite of levee cross-sections. The final product will be a simplified procedure for the evaluation of the seismic vulnerability of levees in select California regions.

Evaluation of the static and dynamic properties of Municipal Solid Waste (Dimitrios Zekkos):       TOP OF PAGE

This research focuses on identifying the factors that affect the mechanical properties of MSW by performing large-scale testing on MSW.  



Effects of ground motion selection and modification (Dimitrios Zekkos):   TOP OF PAGE

This research studies the impact on the engineering analyses of various techniques for the selection and modification of ground motions.  The first technique involves scaling original recorded ground motion time histories to match a target spectrum. Two other techniques involve the modification of the frequency content of the original recorded time histories, either in the time or frequency domain.  Modification in the time domain is done by adding small wavelets to the recorded time history at specific periods to either increase or decrease the response spectrum in order to match the target spectrum.  Modification in the frequency domain is done by modifying the Fourier amplitudes of the recorded time history to match its response spectrum to the target spectrum.  Performing these three techniques on sets of ground motions will allow for a detailed comparison that will identify the differences in effects on ground motion characteristics, site attenuation and dynamic structural response.


Freezing of frost-susceptible soils (Radoslaw L. Michalowski):    TOP OF PAGE

Frost heaving is a well-recognized phenomenon that affects infrastructure in cold regions, but the tools available to model the frost heave process are not well developed.  A research program has been carried out to model this phenomenon. More info....

Damage Detection and Health Monitoring of Buried Pipelines (Radoslaw L. Michalowski): TOP OF PAGE  

In an effort to develop methods for damage detection techniques and long-term health monitoring of buried pipelines, a research project is carried out focusing on damage to concrete pipelines subjected to ground rupture.  Sponsored by the NSF NEESR grant, this is a multi-investigator project, with the University of Michigan being the lead institution (Profs. R.L. Michalowski, J. Lynch and R. Green), collaborating with Purdue University (Prof. J. Weiss), and Merrimack College (Prof. A. Bradshaw).  More info....   


Anisotropy of fiber-reinforced soil (Radoslaw L. Michalowski):  TOP OF PAGE

Fiber reinforcement is a technology to improve the strength of backfill in geotechnical structures.  This project focused on the development of an anisotropic yield condition for fiber-reinforced sand. More info...