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Undergraduate Research: Civil Engineering

Click on the title for full description of SURE 2014 projects in the Department of Civil Engineering.

CIVIL-001: Geomechanical Properties of the Queenston Shale

Professor: Patrick Selvadurai
Email: patrick [dot] selvadurai [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Website: https://www.mcgill.ca/civil/people/selvadurai
Tel.: 514-398-6672

Research Area: Geomechanics and Applied Mechanics


DESCRIPTION: This project deals with the mechanical characterization of the Queenston shale which is a geological formation encountered in southern Ontario in a potential site for a Deep Ground Repository. Th einitial phase of the work will examine the elasticity properties and the failure characteristics of the limestone material. The project will also involve characteriztion of the tensile strength of the limestone usisn point load tests on cores recovered from boreholes and cuboidal samples recovered from surficial outcrops.

TASKS: Laboratory testing and documentation of the test procedures and results.

DELIVER: Technical Report and Poster

Positions Available: 1

CIVIL-002: Testing and Evaluation of Coped Steel Beams
Prodessor: Dimitrios Lignos
Email: dimitrios [dot] lignos [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Tel: 514-398-2198
Research Area: Structural Steel Research

DESCRIPTION: Coped beam-to-girder connections are commonly used in steel frame construction. The connection must exhibit a minimum resistance as well as rotation capacity such that gravity loads can be carried without sudden failure. The current CISC recommended design approach does not address the configurations typically used today in steel construction. 12 full-scale coped beam-to-girder connections are to be tested in order to obtain a better understanding of their resistance and ductility capacity.

TASKS: Both students will participate in the construction, instrumentation, testing and results evaluation of the test specimens. The students are also expected to work closely with the graduate student that will be in charge.

DELIVER: Completion of the coped beam testing programs.

Positions Available: 2

CIVIL-003: Simulated Earthquake Testing of Concrete Frame Structures
Professor: Denis Mitchell
Email: denis [dot] mitchell [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Research Area: Structural Engineering

DESCRIPTION:  Past research on the seismic performance of frame structures has concentrated on ductile frames. Research is needed on the performance of concrete frames exhibiting moderate and low ductility. These frame members are common in the moderate seismic regions (e.g., eastern and mid-western Canada). A series of experiments will be carried out to investigate the influence of different amounts of shear reinforcement in beam-column joints of concrete frames designed with lower ductility. Analytical models will be verified by carrying out reversed cyclic loading tests of beam-column-slab sub-assemblies with different amounts of shear reinforcement in the beam-column joints. These full-scale tests subjected to simulated earthquake effects will be heavily instrumented to enable the study of the effectiveness of the shear reinforcement and the reinforcement details that are so critical for seismic performance. The development of shear design and detailing requirements for frame members with lower ductility levels will result in enhanced performance and will influence the development of the next CSA Standard A23.3 for the Design of Concrete Structures.

TASKS: Each student will participate in the following: construction of reinforced concrete frame subassemblages, construction of formwork, instrumentation of reinforcing steel, casting of concrete, testing of reinforcing steel and concrete samples, testing of specimens with simulated earthquake loading.

DELIVER: Each student will be expected to create a poster describing the research.

Positions Avilable: 2

CIVIL-004: Field work and analyis for fault zone hydrogeology in Vermont
Professor: Tom Gleeson
Email: tom [dot] gleeson [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Website: http://www.mcgill.ca/civil/people/tom-gleeson
Tel: 514-398-5993
Research Area: Hydrology, water resources, hydrogeology, environmental engineering

DESCRIPTION: This SURE project will involve field work, data analysis and numerical modeling to help develop a world-class, field research laboratory for examining the complex relationships between geologic fault zones, groundwater and surface water in Burlington, Vermont. Understanding, protecting and sustaining groundwater flow is critical for sustainable urban development since many urban centers rely on groundwater. Geologic faults, which are effectively the earth’s plumbing system, often impact the flow of groundwater and other fluids. Over the winter a Master’s student is drilling five wells through the fault zone and the summer project would involve working with this student completing field work in Vermont as well as data analysis and numerical modeling of the fault zone. The field work would include both hydraulic testing of the wells as well as geological mapping of fault and fracture patterns. Requirements: -interest in hydrology and geology -comfort in the field work (heavy lifting and long hours in outdoor environments) -interest and aptitude for data analysis and numerical modeling (matlab, python etc) -ability to work independently -ability to travel and drive in both Canada and the United States

TASKS: The field work would include both hydraulic testing of the wells as well as geological mapping of fault and fracture patterns. The data analysis and numerical modeling would use data derived from the field to quantify groundwater flow at the site.

DELIVER: Summary report of field work, analysis and numerical modeling.

Positions Available: 1

CIVIL-005: Influence of floor diaphragms and non-structural components on the behaviour of cold-formed steel framed structures
Professor: Colin Rogers
Email: colin [dot] rogers [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Website: www.mcgill.ca/civil/people/rogers

Research Area: Structural Engineering

DESCRIPTION: Cold-formed steel (CFS) framed buildings are complex systems that under earthquake excitations experience the most severe demands of their life cycle. Improved design procedures will lead to a direct enhancement of life safety for building occupants and owners. New North American design standards to address the lateral loading demands on CFS structures are being developed. However, much of the existing research on which one can base the new lateral loading design standards is limited to tests of single-storey shear and braced walls under static or reversed cyclic displacement-based loading, approx. 20 dynamic tests of shear and braced walls, and a handful of CFS framed diaphragm tests. While informative, this existing research has not incorporated the influence of a building’s overall response to ground motions, which is dependent on; the diaphragms, the interconnectivity of the roof and floor diaphragms with the vertical walls and the presence of non-structural components. During the summer of 2014 it is planned to characterize by means of laboratory testing the typical floor diaphragm and wall force vs. deformation hysteretic response with and without non-structural components.

TASKS: The student will participate in the construction, instrumentation, testing and results evaluation of the diaphragm and shear wall test specimens. Construction related experience will be beneficial in carrying out the research tasks. The student is also expected to work closely with the graduate students that will be in charge of the projects.

DELIVER: Completion of the diaphragm and shear wall test programs.

Positions Available: 1

CIVIL-006: Use of Ozone to Reduce Waste Production in Wastewater Treatment Systems
Professor: Dominic Frigon
Email: dominic [dot] frigon [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Website: http://www.mcgill.ca/civil/people/frigon

Tel: 514-398-2475
Research Area: Environmental Engineering

DESCRIPTION:The cost of disposal of excess sludge from biological wastewater treatment systems has increased tremendously in the last few years. Consequently, treatment plants are looking for technologies to reduce sludge production. One of these technologies is the use of ozone to solubilize part of the produced sludge and increase carbon turnover. This technology may have adverse effects on some fragile biological processes such as nitrification which is a key process in ensuring the treatment system works efficiently. In this study, we will operate laboratory-scale activated sludge reactors treating synthetic wastewater to evaluate the performance of the ozone treatment and investigate its effects on nitrification under cold and warm weather conditions (5-20°C), and two different solids retention times (SRT). For each test condition, one of the two reactors will be subjected to ozone while the other will be the control reactor and the changes in the performance of the ozonated reactor will be monitored. The data collected will help model the ozonated activated sludge process, and evaluate nitrification performance under different treatment scenarios.

TASKS: Perform the daily maintenance and sampling of the laboratory-scale reactors. Perform laboratory analyses to determine physico-chemical characteristics of samples.

DELIVER: A compilation report of the trends observed during the experiment is expected at the end of the study.

Positions Available: 1