Research in the MSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is broadly based. Projects are underway in the department’s thrust areas included Construction, Environmental and Water Resources, Geotechnical, Materials, Structures, and Transportation Engineering. Funding sources currently include, or have included: National Science foundation, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U. S. Navy, U. S. Department of Transportation, US EPA, US AID, and a variety of other agencies, corporations and organizations. Efforts are also in place to expand applications of the department’s research expertise through collaborations with universities, agencies and corporations in Columbia and P.R. China. Similar collaborations are in place with a significant number of US universities, companies, and consulting firms.
Construction Management and Engineering research focuses on mitigating the management challenges associated with the sustainability of the built environment including resource dynamics for civil infrastructure development, societal vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards, building information modeling and management, and mitigating conflicts, claims, and disputes in the construction industry. Some of the ongoing projects include studying how: social network analysis can be utilized to study transportation systems, game theory can be used to improve construction bidding strategies, system dynamics can help attain high performance project outcomes, the different sustainability rating systems can enable infrastructure development, national contractors can be better enabled to work in an evolving global world, financial derivatives can be used to improve conditions of construction workers, social media networks can be utilized in emergency management, and green sustainability initiatives can support smart grid infrastructures.
Environmental and Water Resource Engineering research focuses on quality and quantity of surface water, with areas of emphasis including computational environmental hydraulics, computational surface water quality modeling, sedimentation engineering, biofuels and their impacts, innovative water and wastewater treatment technologies, environmental security and restoration, and regional water resource management and optimization. Current and recent research projects include the development of improved hydraulic and water quality models and application of those models to assess water quality variations, such as in the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs); studies of sediments, sedimentation and sediment oxygen demand and nutrient release (sediment diagenesis); and monitoring, assessment, prediction and management of water, sediments and nutrients at the field, watershed and regional scale. In addition, studies of alternatives for developing biomass for alternative fuel production and studies on biological fuel cells are underway. Management of synthetic, resistant, and hazardous materials has been a focus of research during the past decade. So has optimizing water and wastewater by reducing energy cost and controlling process and operation parameters. This work has recently translated to optimizing aquaculture systems to minimizing operational, management and harvest costs while improving product quality. Finally, current research also involves microbial ecology of engineered and contaminated environments.
Geotechnical Engineering research mainly focuses on the areas which interface with two critical fields of hazard and energy. Research interests include geomechanics in energy applications (e.g., oil/gas, enhanced geothermal systems and carbon sequestration), application of geophysical methods and remote sensing techniques in geo-systems health monitoring and geohazard assessment, geosynthetic- reinforced earth structures, geotechnical earthquake engineering, and design of embankment dams and levee systems. Research projects are being performed using analytical, numerical and experimental methods. A state-of-the-art soil mechanics laboratory supports the experimental part of research projects and cutting-edge high performance computing resources through MSU’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC2) are utilized to perform fully coupled numerical simulations and rigorous analytical solutions. Recent research projects include developing a multi-scale health monitoring system for earth dams and levees, numerical simulation and studying induced seismicity due to CO2 and fluid injection in storage and utilization operations, seismic design and analysis of unreinforced and reinforced earth structures, effect of sample preparation technique on fully softened shear strength of clay shale, and use of geosynthetics for various geotechnical engineering applications.
Materials engineering research is supported by well-equipped laboratories for testing pavement materials, and select structural materials. Research emphasis is placed on civil engineering infrastructure applications. Highway and airfield pavements are infrastructure components of particular interest. Characterizing hot mixed asphalt (HMA) or warm mixed asphalt (WMA) as a total mixture or as individual constituents is an area of focus. Beneficial re-use by way of recycling infrastructure or stabilizing fine grained soils are also areas of focus. Research efforts in recent years have led to publications regarding: asphalt concrete, bituminous emulsions, chemically stabilized soils, concrete, fiber reinforced polymers, geosynthetics, recycled infrastructure, unbound aggregate or soil, and wood. Laboratory and field experimental work are areas of emphasis, which often includes instrumentation and data acquisition. Coupling experimental activities with finite element analysis is also an area of emphasis.
Structural Engineering research includes application of structural mechanics, finite element analysis, structural reliability, and physical testing of steel, reinforced concrete, timber, and composites structures. Recent research projects include: finite element analysis of wave impacts on bridge superstructures; experimental evaluation of the static and dynamic mechanical response of damaged limestone; numerical and experimental evaluation of the mechanical response of damaged structural magnesium alloys; allowable vibrations on green concrete; sustainability of concrete homes; and the performance of residential safe rooms and shelters in a violent tornado.
Transportation engineering research focuses on applications of new technologies and advanced modeling techniques to solving existing and emerging transportation problems and developments of new methodologies for characterizing and optimizing physical and cyber transportation systems. Research interests include modeling and simulation of transportation systems, emergency transportation operations and transportation resilience, intermodal transportation, connected vehicle applications, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), transportation and related network infrastructure, traffic flow characteristics, and human mobility and activity patterns. Recent and current research projects include development of integrated corridor management system, real time transit evacuation systems, active traffic control system to reduce emission and fuel consumption, intermodal freight transportation planning, microscopic traffic simulation and modeling, development of trustworthy intermodal traffic measures, study of traffic flow in freeway work zones, infrastructure network reliability and resilience, logistics transportation systems planning, bio-fuel supply chain design, multimodal urban transportation systems.