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Research Highlights Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory, MC-250 205 N. Mathews Ave. Urbana, Illinois 61801 217-333-8038 / FAX: 217-333-9464 civil@illinois.edu cee.illinois.edu

Cover photos: Volunteers use the TrafficTurk cell phone application (page 8) to monitor traffic in New York City just days after Hurricane Sandy. The system promises an easy, low-cost way to accurately measure traffic during extreme congestion events.


Research Highlights Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2013


ver the past century, civil and environmental engineers created a knowledge base and leadership for developing our nation’s infrastructure and environment protection. This includes creating safe and affordable buildings, delivering clean and plentiful water, building safe and resilient transportation systems, and dramatically improving both air and water quality. In the 21st century, the world population will continue to rise, material and fossil energy resources will continue to decrease, and climate change stresses will become more severe. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in the creation of new knowledge and leadership necessary for infrastructure development and environmental protection in the face of these changes. Specifically, CEE at Illinois is a world leader of research in 1) sustainable infrastructure systems, 2) clean and efficient energy, 3) risk management and resiliency, and 4) safe and plentiful water. Key research efforts of CEE faculty in these areas are highlighted below and on the pages that follow. Sustainable Infrastructure Systems Existing infrastructure systems were built with a focus on safety, cost and aesthetics. Some thought was given to environmental concerns, life-cycle energy costs, changing human needs and climate change, but these were rarely quantitatively considered. Research highlights in CEE at Illinois that address sustainable infrastructure systems include work by Professor Dan Abrams’ group on hybrid masonry seismic structural systems, Senior Lecturer Riley Edwards’ group on developing higher performing crossties and fasteners for railroads, Assistant Professor Nora El-Gohary’s group on automated regulatory compliance checking in construction, Associate Professor Junho Song’s group on topology optimization of structures and Assistant Professor Dan Work’s group on traffic monitoring during extreme congestion events. Clean and Efficient Energy Energy production is dependent on fossil fuels, and it affects almost every aspect of our lives — climate change, air quality, transportation, crop production, etc. Creating clean energy and efficiently using the energy we have is central to the hope that we can continue to enjoy a high standard of living

and raise the standard of living in less developed regions of the world. Research highlights in CEE at Illinois that address clean and efficient energy include work by Assistant Professor Mani Golparvar-Fard’s group on automated vision-based building energy performance analysis and Associate Professor Timothy Strathmann’s group on hydrothermal processing for energy and nutrient recovery from high-moisture waste biomass. Risk Management and Resilience Climate change, natural hazards, and human needs all put stresses on existing and new infrastructure systems. Near- and long-term verification of infrastructure system performance and quantification of the risk that various stressors pose are both critical steps for ensuring long-term resiliency and sustainability. Research highlights in CEE at Illinois that address risk management and resilience include work by Assistant Professor Ahmed Elbanna’s group on mechanobiology of bones, Assistant Professor Larry Fahnestock’s group on seismic behavior and design of steel plate shear walls, Associate Professor Paolo Gardoni’s group on developing a taxonomy of acceptable and tolerable risk and Associate Professor John Popovics’ group on ultrasonic scanning to inspect concrete structures. Safe and Plentiful Water Severe water shortages are increasingly common in selected regions of the United States, and clean water scarcity is endemic in some developing countries. While existing water treatment technologies can treat most source waters, the energy, material and environmental costs are often too high. Social and political barriers can also interfere with safe water solutions. Research highlights in CEE at Illinois that address safe and plentiful water include work by Professor Barbara Minsker’s group on real-time water monitoring, Professor Murugesu Sivapalan’s group on predicting runoff in ungauged basins and Research Assistant Professor Julie Zilles’ group on developing novel biocatalysts for water purification. —Professor Charles J. Werth Director of Research

Contents Sustainable Infrastructure Systems Hybrid Masonry Seismic Structural Systems........................................................4 Improved Concrete Crosstie and Fastening System Design and Performance...........................................................................................................6 Automated Regulatory Compliance Checking in Construction Using Natural Language Processing and Semantic Modeling.........................8 Topology Optimization of Structures under Stochastic Excitations.........10 Traffic Monitoring During Extreme Congestion Events.................................12

Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Automated Vision-Based Building Energy Performance Analysis..............14 Hydrothermal Processing for Energy and Nutrient Recovery from High-Moisture Waste Biomass......................................................................16

Risk Management and Resilience Mechanobiology of Bone Across Scales...............................................................18 Seismic Behavior and Design of Steel Plate Shear Walls...............................20 Development of a Taxonomy of Acceptable and Tolerable Risk................22 Contactless Ultrasonic Scanning to Inspect Large Concrete Structures.............................................................................................................24

Safe and Plentiful Water Real-Time Water Modeling and Decision Support Framework...................26 Runoff Predictions in Ungauged Basins..............................................................28 Biocatalysts for Water Purification: Perchlorate Removal..............................30


Sustainable Infrastructure Systems

Hybrid Masonry Seismic Structural Systems Hybrid masonry is a new structural concept for buildings that incorporates the in-plane strength and stiffness of reinforced concrete masonry with the ease of erecting conventional steel framing. Since the masonry structural panels can also serve as architectural elements, hybrid masonry has the promise to be highly competitive with conventional lateral force-resisting systems including reinforced masonry or concrete shear walls, steel-braced frames or concrete or steel moment-resisting frames. Research is being done to evaluate the potential of hybrid masonry for structural design of buildings located in seismic regions. Objective: Explore, evaluate and demonstrate the seismic performance of hybrid masonry building structures. Approach: Large-scale static load-reversal tests of two-story building structures are done to evaluate strength, stiffness and energy dissipation of hybrid masonry systems subjected to earthquake excitation. Counterpart tests of steel connector plates and results of simulation models help to corroborate research findings. Significant Results and Potential Impact: Hybrid masonry has been found to be a viable alternative as a lateral-force resisting system. It has been found to have the potential to meet various seismic performance objectives by linking strength and stiffness of structural masonry with ductility and energy dissipation of steel connector plates. Principal Investigators: D.P. Abrams, L.A. Fahnestock Funding: National Science Foundation NEES Research Program Key Publications: 1) Abrams, D.P., and D.T. Biggs. “Hybrid Masonry Seismic Structural Systems.” Proceedings of 15 International Brick and Block Masonry Conference, Florianpolis, Brazil (June 2012). 2) Asselin, R.E., L.A. Fahnestock, D.P. Abrams, I.N. Robertson, R. OzakiTrain, and S. Mitsuyuki. “Behavior and Design of Fuse-Based Hybrid Masonry Seismic Structural Systems.” Proceedings of 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal (September 2012). 3) Gregor, T. A., and L.A. Fahnestock. “Large-Scale Testing of Hybrid Masonry.” Proceedings of 12th Canadian Masonry Symposium, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (June 2013).


Dan Abrams

Larry Fahnestock 7


Ductile, energy dissipating fuse connecting steel building frame with reinforced concrete masonry structural panel. Photo: Hybrid masonry research project.

Sustainable Infrastructure Systems

Improved Concrete Crosstie and Fastening System Design and Performance Concrete crossties are an important part of the track structure, providing the strength needed to support the loads of rail vehicles and the ability to maintain stringent track geometry standards. They are used on both heavy axle load freight lines and high-speed rail passenger corridors throughout the world and will play a crucial role in the development of shared rail corridors in the U.S. In recent years performance deficiencies have been noted in the rail industry and improvements are needed. Objective: Advance our understanding of the factors affecting the performance of the concrete crosstie and fastening system. Use this advanced understanding to improve the design of concrete crossties and update recommended practices for the design and manufacture of concrete crosstie and fastening systems. Approach: Conduct a state-of-the-art assessment of the design and performance of concrete ties. Create finite element models and conduct laboratory and field experiments to quantify the response of the crosstie and fastening system to loads. Develop mechanistic design process for concrete crossties and fastening systems. Significant Results and Potential Impact: Modeling and test results indicated hydraulic pressure cracking, hydro-abrasive erosion, and abrasion as leading contributors to rail seat deterioration. Field and lab results from experimentation show load path characteristics leading to quantitative design considerations. Principal Investigators: J. Edwards, D. Lange, D. Kuchma, B. Andrawes Funding: Federal Railroad Administration, Amsted RPS, Association of American Railroads, NEXTRANS, NURail Center, and KCS Key Publications: 1) Rapp, C., M.S. Dersch, J.R. Edwards, C.P.L. Barkan, J. Mediavilla, and B. Wilson. “Measuring Concrete Crosstie Rail Seat Pressure Distribution with Matrix Based Tactile Surface Sensors.” Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board (2013) (in-press). 2) Zeman, J., J.R. Edwards, D.A. Lange, C.P.L. Barkan. “Hydraulic Pressure Cracking in the Rail Seats of Concrete Crossties.” American Concrete Institute Materials Journal. Vol 109, No 6, 639-646 (2012).


Riley Edwards

David Lange

Dan Kuchma

Bassem Andrawes 9


RailTEC researchers work on instrumenting a section of track at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colo.

Sustainable Infrastructure Systems

Automated Regulatory Compliance Checking in Construction Using Natural Language Processing and Semantic Modeling Compliance checking is a costly “bottleneck” in the project delivery process, because it is a highly manual process. Automated compliance checking is expected to reduce the time, cost, and error of the checking process. However, previous efforts towards automated compliance checking have been limited, because they require manual effort for: 1) understanding the text of regulatory documents such as building codes, 2) extracting provisions from that text and formalizing these provisions in a computer-processable format, and 3) reasoning about the compliance of a building design with these provisions. Objective: Develop a theoretically-based computerized approach for automated text processing, automated information extraction from both textual regulatory documents and building designs, and automated compliance reasoning and analysis. Approach: Natural language processing techniques and semantic modeling are used to facilitate such deep levels of text processing, information extraction, and automated reasoning. Significant Results and Potential Impact: As part of our ongoing research, we have successfully developed algorithms for automatically extracting quantitative provisions from building codes. The results of this research could advance the field of deep natural language processing towards automated domain-specific full text understanding and analysis. It could also transform the way construction professionals and regulators check the compliance of building designs. Principal Investigator: N. El-Gohary Funding: National Science Foundation Key Publications: 1) Salama, D.M., and N.M. El-Gohary. “Semantic Text Classification for Supporting Automated Compliance Checking in Construction.” Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering (2013). 2) Salama, D.M., and N.M. El-Gohary. “Towards Automated Compliance Checking of Construction Operation Plans Using a Deontology for the Construction Domain.” Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering (2013).


Nora El-Gohary 11


Tagging of semantic information elements in the International Building Code 2006. Photo: El-Gohary research group.

Sustainable Infrastructure Systems

Topology Optimization of Structures under Stochastic Excitations Stochastic excitations caused by natural hazards such as wind and earthquakes make critical but unpredictable impact on the safety and performance of building structures. Therefore, it is crucial to find the optimal design of a structural system while satisfying probabilistic constraints on failure events caused by stochastic excitations. Despite its significance, topology optimization for building structural systems considering stochastic excitations has not been well developed due to computational challenges and complexity. The research team recently created a stochastic topology optimization framework by integrating theories of topology optimization and random vibrations. The framework has been applied successfully to find optimal lateral bracing systems for buildings under earthquake hazards. The team collaborates closely with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP in order to incorporate stochastic topology optimization techniques into high-rise building design. Objective: Optimize the structural system under stochastic excitations, particularly those induced by earthquake ground motions. Approach: Random vibration theories are incorporated into topology optimization using a discrete representation method for stochastic processes. Significant Results and Potential Impact: The research team has proposed an effective approach to overcome technical difficulties in topology optimization under stochastic excitations. Further development for system reliability-based topology optimization has been formulated with various aspects of constraints such as multiple-time points, locations, and different types of design constraints. The stochastic topology optimization framework can provide structural engineers with conceptual ideas regarding optimal solutions of structural systems during the design process. Principal Investigators: J. Song, G.H. Paulino Funding: National Science Foundation Key Publications: 1) Chun, J., J. Song, G.H. Paulino. “Topology Optimization of Structures Under Stochastic Excitations.” Joint Conference of the Engineering Mechanics Institute and the 11th ASCE Joint Specialty Conference on Probabilistic Mechanics and Structural Reliability, Notre Dame, Ind. (2012). 2) Chun, J., J. Song, G.H. Paulino. “Topology Optimization of Structures Under Stochastic Excitations.” (to be submitted for journal publication, 2013)


Randomly generated excitations (A) and corresponding dynamic responses by original and optimized systems (B-C). Figure : Research conducted under NSF project (CMMI 1234243).

Junho Song

Glaucio Paulino 13


Design domain (A) and optimal topologies (B-D) for varying bandwidths of stochastic excitations in terms of probabilistic constraints on inter-story drift ratios. Figure: Research conducted under NSF project (CMMI 1234243).

Sustainable Infrastructure Systems

Traffic Monitoring During Extreme Congestion Events During extreme congestion events such as natural disasters or sporting events, the accuracy of traffic estimates can deteriorate significantly. This is because extreme congestion events may change the network topology (e.g. due to planned road closures, or unplanned infrastructure failures), change travel demands (e.g. spikes in numbers of trips near sporting venues, storm evacuations, etc.), or influence traffic control devices (e.g. through restrictions on travel, or overrides of traffic signal timings by traffic control police officers). Additional temporary sensing is needed to improve estimates during these events. Objective: Improve real-time traffic monitoring accuracy during extreme congestion events. Approach: Develop a new, cheap and easy to deploy sensor network called TrafficTurk, which is a smartphone-based turning movement counter. Significant Results and Potential Impact: TrafficTurk was tested with a 100-sensor deployment during the 2012 Illinois Indiana homecoming football game and during a two-day deployment in New York following Hurricane Sandy. Potential benefits of the system include improved emergency preparedness and response to future disasters, and enhanced real-time traffic monitoring capabilities. Principal Investigator: D. Work Funding: National Science Foundation, CEE Innovation Grant. Key Publications: 1) Reisi Gahrooei, M., D. Work. “Estimating Traffic Signal Phases from Turning Movement Counters.” IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (to appear 2013). 2) Gowrishankar, S., D. Work. “Estimating Traffic Control Strategies with Inverse Optimal Control.” To appear, IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (2013).


Dan Work 15


TrafficTurk smartphone application in use.

Clean Energy and Energy Conservation

Energy Performance Augmented Reality Models Today, 35 percent of the energy consumed by buildings in the United States is being wasted. A significant portion of this waste is attributed to energy leaks. To analyze building energy performance problems, currently most auditors rely on thermal imagery as a means for visual detection of thermal irregularities, but current inspections are time-consuming, qualitative and heavily rely on how these images are being interpreted by the auditors. A successful building diagnostic requires quick and reliable identification of energy performance problems, as well as accurate assessment and cost analysis of heat losses and gains. Objective: The objective of this project is to create and validate an easy-to-use tool, scalable, and automated method for homeowners and facility managers to easily and rapidly conduct building energy performance diagnostics and automatically obtain recommendations on possible retrofit alternatives. Approach: Actual and expected spatio-thermal models of buildings are generated and integrated in 3D. The method leverages thermal and digital images for actual energy performance modeling and CFD analysis for expected energy performance simulation. By comparing actual and simulated results, building areas associated with potential performance problems are detected and visualized. Based on a new method for measuring actual R-values and degree days statistics, the heat loss/gain caused either by poor insulation or air infiltration/ exfiltration and their associated costs are automatically estimated. Significant Results and Potential Impact: This easy-to-use and rapid process can provide homeowners with accurate information they need to work with energy auditors and contractors to repair the energy leaks, gain an optimal thermal comfort at a lower energy cost, and ultimately reduce their utility bills. Principal Investigators: M. Golparvar-Fard Funding: NCSA/IACAT Fellows program Key Publications: 1) Ham, Y., M. Golparvar-Fard, “EPAR: Energy Performance Augmented Reality Models for Identification of Building Energy Performance Deviations between Actual Measurements and Simulation Results,” Elsevier Journal of Energy and Buildings, 63, 15-28 (2013). 2) Ham, Y., M. Golparvar-Fard, “An Automated Vision-Based Method for Rapid 3D Energy Performance Modeling of Existing Buildings Using Thermal and Digital Imagery,” Elsevier Journal of Advanced Engineering Informatics, 27(3), 395-409 (2013).


Mani Golparvar-Fard 17


Comparing actual (top) and expected CFD-based (middle) 3D energy performance models, and measuring the actual R-value within the EPAR models (bottom) for identification of potential performance problems in buildings and cost estimation of energy losses.

Clean Energy and Energy Conservation

Hydrothermal Processing for Energy and Nutrient Recovery from High-Moisture Waste Biomass Energy and nutrient recovery from waste biomass holds potential for generating value-added resources from materials previously considered waste. Hydrothermal processing is a promising approach that utilizes high temperature and pressure water for converting high-moisture waste biomass into energy dense bio-oil and distributing N & P into the aqueous phase for nutrient recovery. However, the influence of biomass composition on the properties of biooil is poorly understood, and further research is needed to produce energy dense liquid fuels compatible with our current petrochemical infrastructure. Objective: Determine conditions for optimum bio-oil energy recovery and value-added co-product yield from waste biomass under hydrothermal conditions. Approach: Examine the hydrothermal conversion product yields and chemistries with waste biomass from conventional municipal and agriculture wastewater treatment processes, as well as next-generation aquatic feedstocks such as algae. Significant Results and Potential Impact: Hydrothermal processing of waste biomass recovers energy in the form of bio-oil with energy densities comparable to petroleum crude oil. The composition of biomass greatly influences bio-oil chemical properties and physical properties. The addition of catalysts to hydrothermal processing holds promise for facilitating unique chemistries in water. Principal Investigator: T.J. Strathmann Funding: National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Key Publications: 1) Vardon, D.R., B.K. Sharma, J. Scott, G. Yu, Z. Wang, L. Schideman, Y., Zhang, T.J. Strathmann. “Chemical Properties of Biocrude Oil from the Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Spirulina Algae, Swine Manure, and Digested Anaerobic Sludge.” Bioresour. Technol. 102, 8295–8303 (2011). 2) Vardon, D.R., B.K. Sharma, G.V. Blazina, K. Rajagopalan, T.J. Strathmann. “Thermochemical Conversion of Raw and Defatted Algal Biomass via Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Slow Pyrolysis.” Bioresour. Technol. 109, 178–187 (2012). Awards: 1) Solid Waste Association of North America’s Land of Lincoln Chapter Scholarship, May 2012. 2) Air and Waste Management Rothblatt Scholarship, May 2012.


Time series progression for the hydrothermal catalytic conversion of high-moisture waste lipid feedstocks (i.e., dining hall waste vegetable oil) to fungible diesel grade fuels.

Timm Strathmann 19


Hydrothermal processing energy and resource recovery scheme for waste biomass.

Mechanobiology of Bone Across Scales

Risk Management and Resilience

Bone is a hierarchically structured composite of soft and deformable collagen and stiff, strong but brittle hydroxyapatite with mechanisms to resist fracture at different length scales. These length scales probably relate to the characteristic structural dimensions in bone. How different mechanisms at different scales collaboratively give bone its high toughness is only partially understood as many scales of interest in bone are unsuitable for traditional fracture mechanics experimental methods. Theoretical and computational models are utterly needed to fill this gap. Objective: To build a multiscale model of human bone that integrates microscopic physical mechanisms of fracture and 3D complex geometry in a single framework. Approach: Methods from statistical mechanics are used to derive laws governing nano- and micro-slip mechanisms within and between the collagen fibrils. Multi-resolution finite element method with adaptive mesh refinement will be used to link the deformation mechanisms across scales. Complex mesh geometries will be based on Computed Tomography studies of real bone. Significant Results and Potential Impact: Using a new formulation for the transition state model alongside the worm-like chain idealization, we have successfully modeled the rate and slip constitutive response of the glue molecules binding the collagen fibrils at the microscale. This sets the stage for modeling crack propagation in bone at higher scales. Understanding the multiscale fracture mechanics of bone will potentially lead to enhanced therapeutic interventions, including the development of new non-invasive assessment techniques for bone quality. It will also inspire the design of strong and tough biomimetic composites. Principal Investigator: A.E. Elbanna Key Publications: 1) Elbanna, A.E., J.M. Carlson “Dynamics of Polymer Molecules with Sacrificial Bond and Hidden Length Systems: Towards a Physically-Based Mesoscopic Constitutive Law.” PLoS ONE 8(4): e56118. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056118 (2013). 2) Lieou, C.K.C., A.E. Elbanna, J.M. Carlson. “Sacrificial Bonds and Hidden Length in Biomaterials — a Kinetic, Constitutive Description of Strength and Toughness in Bone.” arXiv:1301.5968 (2013).


Ahmed Elbanna 21


Hierarchical structure of human bone. The mineralized collagen fibrils represent the bone building block at the microscale. Our model successfully predicts the stress slip response of the glue molecules binding the fibrils together. The saw tooth character of the stress slip curve is indicative of the breakage of sacrificial bonds and unfolding of hidden length in the glue molecules; this is the mechanism responsible for increasing bone toughness at the microscale. [Photo: Paul Hansma Microscopy Group at UCSB. Plot: Elbanna and Carlson, 2013]

Seismic Behavior and Design of Steel Plate Shear Walls

Risk Management and Resilience

The steel plate shear wall (SPSW) system is a seismic lateral force resisting system that has demonstrated good stiffness, strength, ductility and energy dissipation capacity. The SPSW with coupling (SPSW-WC) configuration, which links two adjacent SPSW piers using coupling beams, retains the benefits of the traditional SPSW system while increasing architectural flexibility, material efficiency and energy dissipation. Although the SPSW-WC is a promising form of the SPSW system, a thorough investigation is required to facilitate code implementation for use in regions of high seismic hazard. Objective: Conduct a comprehensive study of the SPSW-WC configuration to identify critical attributes of structural behavior and to develop a design framework that ensures robust seismic performance. Approach: Use analytical models, numerical earthquake simulations and large-scale testing to evaluate nonlinear cyclic behavior of the SPSW-WC configuration and to determine appropriate parameters and procedures that lead to optimal proportioning and reliable response. Significant Results and Potential Impact: We demonstrated the viability and efficiency of the SPSW-WC configuration through design studies and nonlinear analysis and developed analytical expressions that define strength and degree of coupling for use in system proportioning. The optimal degree of coupling is in the range of 0.4 to 0.6, and current code-based system design parameters for the traditional SPSW system appear to be adequate for the SPSW-WC configuration. Large-scale tests will provide additional insight into SPSW-WC behavior and performance. Final design recommendations will enable full implementation in practice. Principal Investigator: L.A. Fahnestock Funding: American Institute of Steel Construction, National Science Foundation Key Publications: 1) Borello, D.J., L.A. Fahnestock. “Seismic Design and Analysis of Steel Plate Shear Walls with Coupling.” Journal of Structural Engineering, 139 (8): 1263-1273 (2013). 2) Borello, D. J., L.A. Fahnestock. “Behavior and Mechanisms of Steel Plate Shear Walls with Coupling.” Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 74: 8–16 (2012).


Large-scale SPSW-WC Test Specimen.

Larry Fahnestock 23


Structural weight variation with change in degree of coupling.

Development of a Taxonomy of Acceptable and Tolerable Risk

Risk Management and Resilience

The effects of natural disasters on society can be devastating, affecting people and infrastructure in often irreparable ways. Engineers perform risk analysis to better understand the risks in an attempt to mitigate the damage. But traditional approaches to risk analysis offer an incomplete picture, and decision-makers need a better framework for evaluating risk. Objective: Develop a comprehensive taxonomy of the acceptability and tolerability of risks posed by natural hazards. Approach: The proposed taxonomy is created using moral and ethical considerations on the way the built and modified natural environment interact with natural hazards, and a measure of the impact of natural hazards on the well-being of individuals developed using a capability approach currently adopted by the United Nations to measure the level of development of countries around the world. Significant Results and Potential Impact: The proposed taxonomy will provide an original and transformative theoretical framework and methodology for risk analysis, which considers how risks impact the well-being of individuals and accounts for the moral significance of the source of a risk. This work has direct implications for public policy and could inform policy documents in the future. The proposed work will provide the foundation for future work on risk analysis, public policy, and resource allocation by changing the way we think about risks and risk management. Principle Investigator: P. Gardoni Funding: National Science Foundation. Key Publications: 1) Gardoni, P., C. Murphy. “A Capability Approach for Seismic Risk Analysis and Management.” Solomon Tesfamariam and Katsu Goda (Eds.) Seismic Risk Analysis and Management of Civil Infrastructure Systems, Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Cambridge, UK (2012). 2) Murphy, C., P. Gardoni. “The Capability Approach in Risk Analysis.” Sabine Roeser (Ed.), Handbook of Risk Theory, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany (2012). 3) Murphy, C., P. Gardoni. “Design, Risk and Capabilities.” Jeroen van den Hoven and Ilse Oosterlaken (Eds.), Human Capabilities, Technology, and Design, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany (2011).


Paolo Gardoni 25


istockphoto.com/Songquan Deng

Risk Management and Resilience

Contactless Ultrasonic Scanning to Inspect Large Concrete Structures Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and health monitoring test methods are important tools for the effort to address our nation’s deteriorating civil infrastructure. Ultrasound-based NDE methods are effective for characterizing material properties and locating internal damage in concrete. However conventional ultrasonic test configurations require sound physical contact between the ultrasonic sensors and the concrete, which poses a significant limitation with regard to practical implementation to large areas of test material because the tests are prohibitively slow to carry out. Contactless ultrasonic scanning on the other hand enables efficient and automated inspection of large concrete structures, and provides large volumes of high quality data that can be used to build diagnostic images. Objective: Establish an automated scanning platform that uses contactless ultrasonic sensors to enable rapid and accurate monitoring of concrete structures. Approach: Generate and detect surface-guided waves (Rayleigh waves) that can propagate relatively large distances without losing energy. Interpret the received wave behavior using wave speed, energy attenuation and signal dispersion analysis. Significant Results and Potential Impact: We are able to generate and receive high quality ultrasonic surface wave signals across large propagation paths in concrete in a fully contactless manner. Multiple images collected across a scan area can be used to build an image that characterizes the material along the wave propagation path. This capability enables exciting and new structural inspection potential using automated scanning robots. Principal Investigator: J.S. Popovics Funding: National Science Foundation, Association of American Railroads Key Publications: 1) Cetrangolo, G.P., J.S. Popovics. “Contact-Less Air-Coupled Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Measurements in Concrete.” ACI Materials Journal 107: 155-163 (2010). 2) Oh, T., J.S. Popovics, S. Ham, and S.W. Shin. “Improved Interpretation of Near-Surface Delamination Defect Vibration Using Air-Coupled Impact Resonance Tests.” Journal of Engineering Mechanics 139: 315-324 (2013). Award: American Society for Nondestructive Testing Research Fellowship Award 2012


Deployment concept for inspection of large structural systems (e.g. nuclear power plant containment systems). Inset shows contactless generation of surface waves.

John Popovics 27


Ultrasonic scan image built up from many time signals.

Real-Time Water Modeling and Decision Support Framework

Safe and Plentiful Water

Protecting U.S. food and energy supplies, as well as numerous other industries, requires rapid and informed decision making during water crises, particularly floods and droughts. Floods and droughts cause about $12 billion in damages annually in the U.S. alone, the highest among all types of natural disasters. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service provides flood and drought warnings across the nation, such operational systems currently have limitations in forecasting with the accuracy and real-time awareness needed to support effective disaster planning and response. With climate change causing more frequent extreme weather events, the need for improved real-time forecasting and decision support is pressing. This project focuses on realtime streamflow forecasting, a key capability for predicting and managing floods and droughts in the four million miles of rivers in the U.S., as well as rivers across the globe. Objective: Demonstrate the value of regional real-time river modeling services that perform fine-scale modeling and decision support in drought- or flood-stricken areas. Significant Results and Potential Impact: Figure 1 shows a conceptual view of the real-time river forecasting and decision support framework that is being demonstrated in this project. Real-time National Weather Service simulations and forecasts are being used to support RAPID, a large-scale river flow model developed at the University of Texas Austin, which then feeds into decision support services developed at University of Illinois. A web-based model visualization and scenario builder application has been created, shown on the right side of Figure 1 and available here. This will be linked with real-time optimization algorithms and water market tools to support decision makers during droughts. Real-time data and modeling services, as well as confidence intervals to provide uncertainty estimates, will be distributed through online data markets to enable widespread use of the services developed in this project. Principal Investigators: B. Minsker, J. Lee, D. Maidment, Z.-L. Yang Funding: Microsoft Research Inc., Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, ESRI Inc., Kisters Inc.


Barbara Minsker 29


Conceptual view of the real-time forecasting and decision support framework.

Runoff Predictions in Ungauged Basins

Safe and Plentiful Water

Predicting water runoff in the mostly ungauged water catchment areas of the world is vital to practical applications such as the design of drainage infrastructure and flooding defenses, runoff forecasting and catchment management tasks such as water allocation and climate impact analysis. A lack of understanding of climate and landscape controls on runoff prevents hydrologists and engineers from extrapolating information from places where there are runoff measurements to places where there are none, especially in semi-arid and economically poor regions. Objectives: The aim of this research was to carry out a synthesis of worldwide research on predictions of runoff in ungauged basins organized around processes, places and scales, as a response to the fragmentation one currently sees in terms of methods, theories and models currently used for predictions in catchment hydrology. Approach: We adopted a comparative approach to learning from the differences and similarities between catchments around the world. The work involved comprehensive review of climate and landscape controls on runoff processes at a range of time scales, and a comparative performance assessment of a wide range of methods that are being used for predictions in ungauged basins, interpreted in a hydrologically meaningful way. This assessment was carried out in more than 20,000 catchments around the world with the help of more than 130 researchers and practitioners. Significant Results and Potential Impact: The results of the synthesis are presented in a 500-page edited book published by Cambridge University Press. The results include new understanding of process controls on the runoff and recommendations to researchers and practitioners about what methods work and where, and what new research is needed in the future. This book is a culmination of 10 years of effort carried out under the Predictions in Ungauged Basins, a decadal (2003-2012) and global effort spearheaded by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. Principal Investigator: M. Sivapalan Funding: Australia, Austria, U.S. National Science Foundation and funding from several other countries. Key Publication: Blöschl, G., M. Sivapalan, T. Wagener, A. Viglione, H. H. G. Savenije (Editors), “Runoff Predictions in Ungauged Basins: Synthesis Across Processes, Places and Scales.” Cambridge University Press (2013).




Murugesu Sivapalan

Biocatalysts for Water Purification: Perchlorate Removal Biological approaches to water treatment are common. However, sometimes the priorities of the cells interfere with the desired treatment. To address such situations, we are investigating the potential of using catalysts derived from biology rather than whole cells. Objective: Assess the potential of perchlorate-reducing biocatalysts for use in water treatment. Approach: We use perchlorate-reducing bacteria as a source of biocatalysts and test their activity, specificity, and stability for comparison with whole-cell approaches and chemical catalysts. Significant Results and Potential Impact: These biocatalysts show good perchlorate-reducing activity and are less sensitive to the common co-contaminant nitrate than whole cells. This provides a promising way to remove perchlorate from drinking water containing nitrate. More generally, biocatalysts could facilitate removal of a wide range of chemical contaminants from drinking water.

Safe and Plentiful Water

Principal Investigators: J. Zilles, I. MacAllister

Funding: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Basic Research Program and the National Science Foundation Key Publication: Hutchison, J. M., S. K. Poust, M. Kumar, D. M. Cropek, I. E. MacAllister, C. M. Arnett, J. L. Zilles. 2013. Perchlorate Reduction Using Free and Encapsulated Azospira Oryzae enzymes. Environ. Sci. Technol. (Accepted, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es402081b). Conference presentations: 1) Hutchison, J. M., S. K. Poust, M. Kumar, D. M. Cropek, I. E. MacAllister, C. M. Arnett, J. L. Zilles. Poster. Perchlorate reduction using Azospira oryzae enzymes in vesicles. Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors meeting. Golden, CO. July 14-16, 2013. 2) Hutchison, J. M., S. K. Poust, M. Kumar, D. M. Cropek, I. E. MacAllister, C. M. Arnett, J. L. Zilles. 2013. Talk. Hybrid nanoreactors composed of biomimetic vesicles and biological enzymes for perchlorate treatment. 246th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Indianapolis, IN. September 8-12, 2013.


Julie Zilles 33


Biocatalysts for perchlorate removal. Image: Zilles research group

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory, MC-250 205 N. Mathews Ave. Urbana, Illinois 61801 217-333-8038 / FAX: 217-333-9464 civil@illinois.edu cee.illinois.edu

Researchhighlights2013 web  

A booklet highlighting a few of the many research projects being undertaken within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at...

Researchhighlights2013 web  

A booklet highlighting a few of the many research projects being undertaken within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at...


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