Research Profiles-Civil and Environmental Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

photo of Matteo Pozzi

Assessment Process Improves Wind Turbine Maintenance

CMU researchers— Matteo Pozzi, Zico Kolter (CS), and CEE PhD student Milad Memarzadeh—are working with Pennsylvania-headquartered EverPower Wind Holdings to improve the life cycle costs of wind turbines.

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Two male graduate students pose in front of a glass brick wall

Carbon-Conscious: Mitigating the Effects of CO2

Argha Namhata and Kenneth Sears, two CEE PhD students propose methods for staving off the effects of climate change.

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Hae Young Noh

Restructuring Infrastructure: Building Smarter Systems

Two CEE graduate students present research that could revolutionize the way we operate and maintain infrastructure systems.

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Hae Young Noh

Carnegie Mellon University Team Finds Exporting Natural Gas Will Not Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering researchers determined that exporting natural gas to Asia or Europe will not cause increased greenhouse gas emissions. Their findings were recently published in a paper in "Environmental Science and Technology."

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Hae Young Noh

Good Vibrations: Noh Studies Structure-As-Sensor at CMU-SV

Hae Young Noh set out to spend her summer at Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus, as a part of a CMU short-term faculty exchange program. This program is designed to promote collaboration between the Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley campuses and foster the spirit of innovation that all of Carnegie Mellon's campuses have become known for.

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Particles

Sorting Microparticles for Cleaner Water

CEE research team builds devices that could help to create safer drinking water.

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sii

Research Meets the Real World with Smart Infrastructure Technology

A look at how researchers within the Smart Infrastructure Institute (SII) are using smart infrasctructure technology in the real world.

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Chris Hendrickson

New Age Transportation

CEE’s Chris Hendrickson studies the safety and efficiency of next generation transportation technologies.

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Peter Adams

Investigating Air Quality: CMU’s Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS)

Right now, you’re surrounded by thousands of particles in the air that are too small to see.  Faculty members in CMU’s CAPS are studying the origin and effects of these particles, called airborne particulate matter.

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Jacobo Bielak

Collaboration with Colombian University Leads to First Velocity Model of Aburrá Valley

CEE’s Jacobo Bielak, an expert in earthquake engineering, is involved in a number of international earthquake simulation projects from Japan to Colombia. Here, he introduces one of those projects and the advantages of research that spans multiple countries and cultures.

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Costa Rica

Scanning for Silver: Investigating Nanoparticle Absorption in Plants

Nanosilver—silver particles that are a million times smaller than a centimeter on a standard ruler—are being increasingly added to a variety of household products. While its antibacterial properties may be great for keeping sweat socks odor-free, researchers are still working to understand nanosilver’s effects on the environment. As part of this effort, CEE professor Greg Lowry and his PhD student John Stegemeier are studying nanosilver uptake in aquatic plants.

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Costa Rica

Professor Small and Team to Study Costa Rican Water Management

Costa Ricans have teamed up with scientists and engineers from Carnegie Mellon University, Canada, and France on project FuturAqua. The project aims to use a combination of physical and social science research to help Costa Rica better manage it’s increasingly limited water supply.

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Costa Rica

Vibration Analysis: The “Wave” of the Future

Soon, banks may not need cameras to spot criminals. That’s because CEE Assistant Professor Hae Young Noh is developing ways to record and track people’s footsteps. The project, which is a collaboration with associate research professor Pei Zhang (ECE - CMU Silicon Valley) and associate professor Lin Zhang (Tsinghua University), involves analyzing the data collected from floor sensors. 

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Amit Acharya

Even Materials Get Stressed: Amit Acharya’s Work on Line Defects

CEE Professor Amit Acharya is interested in the causes of stress, but not in the usual sense. Acharya, a professor in CEE’s Mechanics, Materials, and Computing (MMC) research group, studies how structural imperfections, or defects, in crystalline materials interact and evolve. 

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Costa Rica

Developing Tools To Make Buildings Energy Efficient

A software platform that enables comprehensive real-time command and control of indoor environments has the potential to revolutionize the way buildings are currently managed. With a three-year, $1.9 million grant from the Department of Energy, CEE Assistant Professor Mario Berges and Assistant Research Professor Anthony Rowe of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and CMU CyLab are leading a team of researchers to develop tools that will enable buildings to run more efficiently.

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ccus

Offsetting the Greenhouse Effect: CEE Achievements in Carbon Storage Research

Carbon dioxide is in the air, and no one is smiling about it. As levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) continue to rise at a sobering rate, CEE researchers are exploring a bold technique that could play a key role in global greenhouse gas reduction. The technique is known as carbon capture, utilization, and storage, or CCUS, and has a straightforward objective: capturing CO2 and storing it underground before it makes its way to the atmosphere.

Part One     Part Two     Part Three

eeb hub

Improving Information Exchanges: How CEE researchers are using energy informatics to make construction more efficient

Imagine being able to walk through a renovated building and not only admire the newly-redesigned workspace, but also evaluate the cost and energy efficiency of every building material used inside – all before the renovations even begin. It sounds impossible, but CEE has helped to make it possible as part of the department’s work with the Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) Hub

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tow boat

Staying Afloat: DiPietro Studies Environmental Impact of Monongahela Towboats

Hear the words “industrial transportation,” and you’ll likely think of semis, trains, or airplanes. But what about boats? Though many Pittsburgh residents don’t know it, river transportation is a key component of industry in the Pittsburgh region. Thirty million tons of materials, eighty percent of which is coal, are transported on Pittsburgh's rivers by towboats every year, and their ability to traverse the rivers is dependent on a hundred-year-old system of locks and dams. So what happens if these locks fail? 

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Saurabh Taneja

Mapping Uncharted Territory: Developing Indoor Positioning Tools

Good news for those of us without a sense of direction: CEE’s Saurabh Taneja has developed a tool to improve the performance of map-based navigation systems for the indoors. Taneja recently graduated with a PhD in Advanced Infrastructure Systems, during which he was advised by Professor Burcu Akinci, Adjunct Professor Lucio Soibelman, and CIT Dean Jim Garrett. In his thesis, Taneja outlined a framework that he developed for improving the accuracy of indoor positioning via a technique known as map-matching.


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ccus

Energy Innovations in CEE

This article looks at how CEE researchers are examining how we can generate and use energy more efficiently.


This story was originally published in the winter 2013 issue of the CEE News magazine.

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Robot

CEE Researchers Use Sensor-Equipped Vehicles to Monitor Bridges

Jacobo Bielak, University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Jim Garrett, Thomas Lord Professor of CEE and Dean of the College of Engineering, have teamed up with researchers from other CMU departments and the University of Pittsburgh to explore the potential of using sensor-equipped vehicles to monitor the structural health of bridges.

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Amy Nagengast

Redefining the Roof: Amy Nagengast Advances Sustainable Building Technology

It’s highly likely that CEE PhD student Amy Nagengast has thought about your roof more than you have. Nagengast, who submitted her thesis in December 2012, studies the benefits of combining alternative roof technologies that are traditionally used alone, such as roof gardens and solar panels. She is a key figure in the movement to educate the public about the energy performance impacts of roof options and, more broadly, the value of roof space.

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Peter Adams

Perfecting a Climate Model: CEE’s Peter Adams Collaborates with Scientists in Bologna

Recently, CEE professor Peter Adams exchanged Pittsburgh pierogies for Italian tortellini and spent a year on sabbatical in Bologna, Italy. Adams, who researches atmospheric science and climate modeling, was collaborating on several projects with Italy’s Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (National Resource Council, or CNR), an internationally renowned network of government labs headquartered in Rome. 

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Dayal and Marshall

Sweating The Small Stuff: Nanoscale Modeling in the Dayal Research Group

Most of the materials being studied in the Kaushik Dayal research group cannot be seen with the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get excited about it. Dayal, an assistant professor in CEE’s Mechanics, Materials, and Computing division, studies the behavior of electromechanical and electrochemical materials, or materials that interact with electricity in fascinating ways. His group’s current research, funded by the Army Research Office, focuses on understanding the physics behind atom-to-atom interactions at the nanoscale level, and has the potential to change the way we power our vehicles and our cities.  

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Berges Group

If These Appliances Could Talk: Mario Bergés Pursues his Vision of a Smart Home

Mario Bergés wants to make our homes smarter. Since he joined CEE as an assistant professor in 2010, Bergés has focused his research efforts on using infrastructure monitoring and machine learning techniques to develop “smart” urban infrastructure that is-- infrastructure that self-regulates in response to changing internal and external conditions. His lab, INFERlab, is currently part of efforts funded by the National Science Foundation, Samsung Electronics, and Hewlett Packard to make buildings active participants in the power grid through monitoring and control of appliances’ energy consumption. This work is done in collaboration with local faculty from CEE (Scott Matthews) and ECE (José M. F. Moura, Anthony Rowe, Bruce Krogh and Soummya Kar), as well as collaborators from University of Southern California and University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

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Water Sampling

Environmental Implications of Shale Gas Extraction

Pennsylvania has a rich history in energy resources, from the first oil well to centuries of coal mining. Recently, Pennsylvania has been central to a national discussion of the potential and the challenges associated with domestic natural gas from shale reserves in the Marcellus and Utica formations. Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty and students are actively engaged in research to understand this new resource and the environmental implications for the region.

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Lowry Research Group

Nanotechnology and the Environment

Engineered nanoparticles can be comprised of several materials or they may have protective coatings. In energy production, for example, coatings prevent nanoparticles from clumping together and hindering reactions; whereas in biomedical applications, the coatings bind with specific proteins. These coatings become an integral part of the particle. But what happens when the coatings degrade? If waste water containing silver nanoparticles is rinsed down the drain, what happens when the particles enter the sewer?

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Video

Jeanne VanBriesen: Fracking's Environmental Impact and Urban Water Issues


Jeanne VanBriesen: CMU Energy Presentation: Shale Gas Development and Water 


Kelvin Gregory: A Little Help 


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