Research in Civil and Environmental Engineering
In 2012, the Department received about 70% of its resources from external research activity and had over $3.5M in research expenditures. This graph shows the increase in our research expenditures since 2002.
Read through the full lists of research awards by fiscal year to get more information about the breadth and depth of research being conducted in by Civil & Environmental Engineering Department faculty.
Transportation Lab: Competitiveness of Electric Commercial Delivery Vehicles
Can electric delivery trucks be competitive with conventional trucks from a financial standpoint? Graduate student Brian Davis and Professor Miguel Figliozzi are conducting research to answer this question by comparing the lifetime operating costs of electric and conventional trucks, and have found that the more that an e-truck is utilized, the more likely it is to be the most economical choice. While electric trucks cost more to purchase, they are more efficient and have the added benefit of regenerative braking to keep energy costs low. Conditions that cause increased expenditures of energy, like hilly roads or traffic congestion, are thus also favorable to the e-trucks, and likely increases in fuel prices or decreases in battery costs will increase the number of scenarios where e-trucks can provide a cheaper and cleaner alternative.
iSTAR Lab: Structural Performance of the Morrison Bridge's Decking Material
The Morrison Bridge steel-grading deck on the draw span is being retrofitted by Multnomah County via pultruded fiber reinforced composite (FRP) decking. The FRP alternative to steel grating is being considered for roadway safety, environmental protection and weight to strength characteristics. An experimental evaluation is being conducted by the infraStructure Testing and Applied Research Laboratory (iSTAR) at Portland State University (PSU) with the objective of evaluating the structural performance of the FRP decking and the deck to stringer connections.
Transportation Lab: Air Quality, and Livability Corridor Study
Powell Boulevard, a main commuter corridor in Portland, Oregon is known as a prime congested arterial. In October 2011, the City of Portland implemented a state of the art adaptive traffic system in order to improve the operations along the corridor. A properly calibrated system can have a significant positive impact on the performance of the traffic signals reducing delays, queue lengths, and emissions. This research project evaluates the impact of the implementation, in terms of passenger vehicles, public transit and air quality performance measures to truly assess the effectiveness of the adaptive system.
Transportation Lab: Transit Fleet Management
Transit fleet managers have to make complex vehicle replacement decisions to minimize total costs, including purchase, maintenance, operations, emissions, and energy consumption. Since fuel and engine type have a significant impact on purchase, maintenance, operational costs and emissions, this project develops models to better represent engine related costs and parameter uncertainty.
Air Quality Modeling Lab: Improving Organic Aerosol Modeling for Climate Predictions
Along with greenhouse gases, aerosol particles play a significant role in affecting climate; however, our understanding of that role is characterized by extreme uncertainties . In general, a large mass fraction of atmospheric particulate matter is organic. Thus, our limited understanding of the composition of organic particulate matter has led to generally poor representation of the properties of atmospheric aerosol particles. In this project, parameterizations of organic aerosol in global chemical transport and climate models are being modified to reflect the state-of-the-science in organic aerosol modeling; the associated spatial and temporal changes in global aerosol burdens are being evaluated with the objective of assessing the sensitivity of aerosol climate forcing to more comprehensive organic aerosol parameterizations.
Fractional increase in monthly-averaged SOA surface concentrations with inclusion of additional SOA precursors.