Stanford University

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Program

 

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering is pleased to invite applications for its 2013 undergraduate research program, through funding provided by Stanford’s Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. The program is geared primarily to support full-time research appointments over the 2013 summer session; however, alternative proposals will be considered, subject to funding availability.  The research awards will be based on a competitive application process.  Interested students should submit their application and statement of interest, following the guidelines given below, before Feb 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm.  Decisions regarding awards will be announced by March 15th via e-mail. 

 

Research Theme:  The theme of the undergraduate research program is “Engineering for Sustainability”, which can be broadly interpreted within all program areas of civil & environmental engineering and related fields (e.g., architecture, earth sciences, etc.). 

 

Support:  The 2013 summer program provides a full-time stipend of up to $5,600 ($560 per week) for the 10 week summer session, plus $500 towards research project expenses (supplies, travel, etc.).  If the Vice Provost adjusts the stipend upwards for the summer, then that stipend will be awarded.

 

Requirements and Restrictions: 

Š      Eligibility is limited to Stanford undergraduates who are working under the supervision of an academic council faculty member affiliated with the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Co-terminal master's degree students are eligible only if the bachelor's degree will not be conferred before the end of the research appointment.

Š      Students receiving full summer stipends may not register for more than 5 credits of coursework, nor may they work for more than 10 hours per week in addition to their research appointment. 

Š      Students are prohibited from receiving both credit and salary for any single research activity.  This does not, however, preclude students from working on a research project during the summer and then expanding it into a senior thesis during the following academic year.

Š      Students are expected to participate in organized program activities throughout the summer (provided research is on campus), provide a final 3-page summary report on their project, complete an on-line evaluation, present the results of their research orally in early fall quarter at a CEE VPUE conference, and fill out a CEE evaluation form.

 

Application:  Prior to submitting an application, students should identify and contact a CEE faculty member who is agreeable to supervise a summer research project.  Students are encouraged to reference the CEE faculty web pages to learn more about the specific research interests and opportunities of the faculty.  Faculty who have indicated an interest in advising summer projects are listed below. You may also apply for projects with faculty that are not listed here.

 

Applications should include the following:

[1] student applicant information (name, gender, ethnicity (not required, but requested), major, expected graduation date, local address, e-mail address),

[2] faculty research supervisor name and e-mail address,

[3] brief (500 word max.) statement of your research topic and plans,

[4] copy of your transcript (an unofficial transcript is fine),

[5] resume or summary of relevant experience. 

If your application is to request financial support for other than a full-time stipend during the 2012 summer session, your plans should be clearly stated, including proposed dates of appointment and level of support. 

 

Applications should be submitted either in hardcopy or e-mail to Regina Lowery (Yang & Yamazaki Environment & Energy Bldg. Room 154 or reginal@stanford.edu) before 5 PM on Feb 22.   Applications received after this date may still be considered, pending availability of funding.

 

Questions about the program should be directed to Professor Alexandria Boehm <aboehm@stanford.edu>.

 

CEE Summer Undergraduate Research Projects:  Students are encouraged to reference the CEE faculty web pages to learn more about the specific research interests and opportunities of the faculty.  The following are some examples of faculty who have indicated project topics that they may have available this summer:

 

Please see these links for some examples of previous year’s student presentations:

 

The Road to Sustainability in the Developing World

App'solutely Amazing - Stanford Campus Architectural History

Exposure to Air Pollutants: Living near Highways

 

 

Sustainable Natural Environment - Environmental and Water Studies:               

 

 

Faculty: Jenna Davis

Email: jennadavis@stanford.edu

 

Novel urban sanitation solutions for Haiti
A student RA is sought to help with product development and data analysis in a project that is piloting a new low-cost sanitation service in Haiti. The RA will help analyze data from the current pilot of 150 households, and will help to prototype the second generation of the toilet technology in preparation for large-scale manufacturing.  This work will be carried out at Stanford. Desired skills include facility with Excel and/or a statistical software program; statistics coursework; product design experience; and good writing skills. Familiarity with the sanitation sector and/or Haiti a plus. This position will be mentored by PhD students and Prof. Jenna Davis.

Low-cost chlorination in Dhaka, Bangladesh
A student RA is sought to work with the International Center for Diarrhea Diseases Research this summer in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on a project to evaluate a low-cost chlorination doser at handpumps in urban slums. The main responsibility for this position will be to contribute to the engineering design, prototyping, and field testing of a chlorine disinfection system in Dhaka. Specific tasks may include identifying low-cost system construction materials in Dhaka, collecting and analyzing water samples, assisting with survey questionnaire design, data analysis, and writing up results. The intern would be required to spend at least 10 weeks in Dhaka. S/he would gain experience on how to design and conduct field research, while contributing technical expertise (i.e. engineering and hydrology modeling skills) and daily field support to the ICDDR’B researcher on the project. This position will be mentored by postdoctoral scholar Dr. Amy Pickering, Prof. Jenna Davis, and Prof. Steve Luby.

Wastewater Reuse in Uganda & Bolivia
Due to increasing water scarcity and changes in rainfall patterns, partly resulting from global warming, there is a growing interest in alternative irrigation water sources. One such source is wastewater. In many developing countries, partially treated wastewater is already being used on varying scales by nearby farmers. This study aims to understand current wastewater reuse practices in Uganda and Bolivia. The goal is to learn under what tradeoffs a household faces in deciding to reuse or not; what households believe about the health risks associated with these practices; and what other risks and benefits farmers consider when deciding to reuse. Fieldwork will include interviews with farmers and site visits to observe current agricultural practices. Two positions available for this project. Both will include time at Stanford carrying out background research, helping prepare for field work, data entry, and preliminary data analysis. A short trip to the field (either Uganda or Bolivia) may also be possible. For the Bolivia project, a strong background in Spanish is required. For both projects prior experience with basic statistics, data analysis, and data management are highly desirable. This position will be mentored by a PhD student and Prof. Jenna Davis.

 

 

Faculty: Alexandria Boehm

Email: boehm@stanford.edu

 

Coastal Water Quality: Microbial Source Tracking At the California Coast

Miles of Californian coastline is declared impaired due to high levels of fecal indicator bacteria. These organisms do not cause illness in humans, but correlate to elevated illness rates in swimmers. The State of California has funded a large multi-university study to develop source tracking methods to determine the source of fecal pollution along the State’s shorelines. A student interested in both field and lab work and strong interests in water quality in natural systems is encouraged to apply for a position to assist with this project. Student will work with Prof. Boehm as well as a post doc on this project. A laboratory class (chemistry or biology) is required for this position.

 

The Role of Exogenous Sensitizers in the Photoinactivation of Pathogenic Bacteria

Harmful bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, and can be present in environmental waters such as ponds, rivers, and lakes. Most environmental waters also contain natural organic matter (NOM), which originates from the remains of once-living organisms and their waste products (for example, decomposing leaves). NOM is able to absorb light and transfer the energy/electrons gained from light absorption onto other molecules, leading to the generation of reactive radicals that could disinfect bacteria also in the water. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the contribution of NOM and other photosensitizers (water constituents that absorb light and form radicals) to the disinfection of selected pathogenic bacteria. The student will work closely with PhD student Peter Maraccini.

 

Faculty: Richard Luthy

Email: luthy@stanford.edu

 

Integrated Stormwater Management Employing a Groundwater Recharge Treatment Train. To minimize adverse impacts of stormwater on aquatic systems (e.g., hydromodification, chemical and biological contamination) practitioners including engineers, city planners and architects have embraced various approaches for capturing and infiltrating stormwater runoff using low impact development (LID). The use of rain gardens and permeable pavements is increasing rapidly around US urban centers. However, little effort has focused on improving stormwater quality during infiltration and storage, and the subsequent harvesting of the water for potable and non-potable applications. Stormwater is a complex matrix with myriad chemical and biological constituents. Thus, it is imperative to conduct research to understand if and how contaminants are mitigated during aquifer recharge and storage. )This project will examine ways in which urban stormwater can be captured and treated before it is infiltrated into the ground for storage.

 

Sustainable Built Environment – Structures and Construction :                     

 

Faculty: Sarah Billington

Email: billington@stanford.edu

Faculty website: http://www.stanford.edu/group/strgeo/People/billington.htm

 

Green Construction Materials (collaboration with Criddle)

Assist conducting experiments on biobased composite materials being investigated for applications in the construction industry.  These materials can be biodegraded at the end of their useful service life to produce fuel or more bioplastic.  Students will have the opportunity to fabricate and test small-scale components and/or build prototype small-scale structures.  Students may also assist with ongoing measurements of anaerobic digesters set up to degrade bioplatics, such as chemical oxygen demand, solids, alkalinity, and biogas production.

 

Performance-based Engineering for Durable Infrastructure

Students will analyze data to assess the sustainability of bridge repairs on a heavily damaged Norwegian coastal bridge.

 

Ductile Reinforced Concrete Materials for Earthquake-resistant Design (Civil-Structures)

High-performance fiber-reinforced cement based composites (HPFRCC) are emerging materials that dissipate more energy than traditional concrete and are being studied for seismic applications.  Students will assist with the design, fabrication, testing and data reduction of small scale HPFRCC specimens.  These specimens will be tested to see how HPFRCC materials bond to steel reinforcement.

 

 

Faculty:  Gregory Deierlein & Eduardo Miranda

Email: ggd@stanford.edu; emiranda@stanford.edu

 

Development of seismically isolated unibody residential buildings for enhanced performance:  While modern building codes generally provide for adequate level of life safety, observed earthquake damage and the resulting economic losses and disruption are neither acceptable to the public nor cost-effective. The aim of this project is to develop and test new seismic design concepts for light-frame residential construction that will dramatically improve its life-cycle seismic performance.  The undergraduate researcher will assist a small team of graduate students to test and analyze light-frame building components with enhanced structural details.  A significant part of the summer will be spent assisting with tests of large-scale room subassemblies that will be conducted at the UC Berkeley earthquake simulation laboratory, located in Richmond, CA.  The student should have an interest in construction and testing of large-scale specimens and data processing using EXCEL or MATLAB.  Ability to work closely with graduate students and lab staff is essential, along with willingness to commute with graduate students to Richmond several days a week.

 

 

Faculty: Ray Levitt

Email: rel@stanford.edu

 

(1) IPD project: Integrated project delivery (IPD) represents a new approach for delivering large, complex projects like hospitals and airports. We are studying the ways in which this form of delivery might facilitate the adoption of innovations that cross discipline and craft boundaries and are thus difficult to adopt successfully with conventional, multiple fixed price contract approaches.  VPUE students would  be set up with internships on IPD projects where they could gain on-site construction experience while gathering information about the way in which innovations related to energy efficiency and broader issues of sustainability are being implemented on these projects. 

 

(2) PPP project: Many large infrastructure projects are currently being funded, delivered and operated by private institutional investors through public-private partnership (PPP) concession agreements. These raise a host of interesting financing, organization and governance challenges. We are trying to develop a library of case studies of current PPP projects in the US and abroad.  VPUE students will be tasked to help us assemble case materials for selected PPP projects to support our ongoing research in this area. 

 

Faculty :  Kincho H. Law

Email: law@stanford.edu

 

Developing and Modeling Taxonomy for Sustainable Manufacturing The objective of this project is to develop an energy information model for sustainable product assembly processes.  The tasks involve (1) developing and implementing taxonomy/ontology for product assembly processes, including equipment and transportation; (2)  the evaluation of current energy modeling standards; and (3) developing methods for aggregation of data.

 

Faculty: Christian Linder

E-mail: linder@stanford.edu

 

Network Simulations of Soft Matter Materials:

In this project, a computational model for sustainable materials characterized by a network microstructure will be developed. On the one hand, such particular microstructure is present in natural materials, like within the cytoskeleton. On the other hand it can also be found in engineered materials such as elastomers, non-woven fabrics, or hydrogels. The VPUE student will help us along the development of a computer model to predict the mechanical properties for such networks consisting of one-dimensional structural objects. A good knowledge of Matlab as well as interest in physics and material science is of advantage.

 

Molecular Simulations of Soft and Hard Matter Materials:

In this project, computer simulations of sustainable soft and hard matter materials like polymers or metallic glasses should be performed with an existing molecular dynamics code. Investigations on how to connect to large scale simulations, like macroscopic finite element approaches, as well as on how to connect to small-scale simulations, like electronic structure based density functional approaches should be performed by the VPUE student interested in physics, material science, and programming.

 

 

Faculty: Martin Fischer

Email: fischer@stanford.edu

 

(1) Measuring the cost and value of campus buildings

Together with the Stanford Office of Sustainability, collect and analyze data about the cost and value of campus buildings to quantify the economic, environmental, and social performance aspects of these buildings and determine which aspects should be minimized and which should be maximized. The novel aspects of this project are the holistic consideration of EEE performance from cost and value perspectives.

 

(2) Urban development of Berlin over the last century

Few, if any, major cities in the world rival Berlin in terms of change in the urban landscape (zoning, parcel size and ownership, construction and destruction, etc.) over the last hundred years. Working with Dr. Benedikt Goebel from the Department of "Stadtkernforschung" (Research on the Center) in Berlin, the undergraduate researcher will show how Berlin developed over the last 100 years from pictures and plans using tools like GoogleMaps, GoogleEarth, 4D modeling, etc. The undergraduate researcher should be familiar with tools like BIM, GIS, 4D modeling, and GoogleEarth. Spending most of the summer in Berlin would be ideal for a productive research effort.

 

Faculty: Prof. Jack Baker

Email: bakerjw@stanford.edu

Project Website: http://www.stanford.edu/~bakerjw/research/infrastructure.html 

 

Analysis of earthquake risk to infrastructure networks

The goal of this project is to develop new insights into the performance of spatially distributed infrastructure subject to component disruptions from earthquakes. Students will work to transform data regarding the layout and properties of transportation networks into a format suitable for risk analysis. The data will then be manipulated to investigate the accuracy of simplified representations of the networks. The student will work with PhD student Mahalia Miller and if interested, interact with regional infrastructure and urban planning decision makers. Experience with computer programing and GIS is a plus.

 

Faculty: Prof. Ram Rajagopal and Sean Qian (Post-doc) 

Email: ramr@stanford.edu

 

Intelligent parking management system 

This project is to build an intelligent parking management system that manages every single parking spot, improves travelers’ experience and reduces the roadway congestion. We deploy cutting-edge wireless sensors in some parking spots on Stanford Campus as a test bed. Those sensors report the real-time usage of parking occupancy to our centralized server. The real-time information is then analyzed and sent to travelers through smart phones and is also published online. This helps traveler reduce their parking cruising time, and also enables the parking operators to monitor the usage and thus control the parking demand in real time. We conduct a statistical evaluation of the parking duration and occupancy frequency using the data extracted from both the sensors and phones. It is further used to set the optimal parking pricing schemes for Stanford campus, as well as to analyze the travel behavioral features.

 

Faculty: Anne Kiremidjian

Email: ask@stanford.edu

 

Analysis and evaluation of earthquake damage data from the 2007 Haiti earthquake. The student will work closely with a Ph.D. student on the correlation between damage data observed on the ground with data obtained through remote sensing. Some knowledge of statistics, statistical analysis software and/or Matlab  are a plus.

 

Analysis of laboratory and numerically simulated bridge column data for earthquake performance. Data from laboratory tests of single column bridges and scaled bridge models subjected to strong earthquake motions will be investigated and the results will be compared to numerical simulations. Some knowledge of statistics, statistical analysis software and/or Matlab  are a plus

 

 

Faculty: Christian Linder

E-mail: linder@stanford.edu

 

Network Simulations of Soft Matter Materials:

In this project, a computational model for sustainable materials characterized by a network microstructure will be developed. On the one hand, such particular microstructure is present in natural materials, like within the cytoskeleton. On the other hand it can also be found in engineered materials such as elastomers, non-woven fabrics, or hydrogels. The VPUE student will help us along the development of a computer model to predict the mechanical properties for such networks consisting of one-dimensional structural objects. A good knowledge of Matlab as well as interest in physics and material science is of advantage.

 

Molecular Simulations of Soft and Hard Matter Materials:

In this project, computer simulations of sustainable soft and hard matter materials like polymers or metallic glasses should be performed with an existing molecular dynamics code. Investigations on how to connect to large scale simulations, like macroscopic finite element approaches, as well as on how to connect to small-scale simulations, like electronic structure based density functional approaches should be performed by the VPUE student interested in physics, material science, and programming.