Previous Research News

CSU civil engineers conduct critical research on levee performance
in New Orleans and Jacksonville, Fla

Wave Overtopping Simulator from Colorado State University on Vimeo.

Research Proposal to Benefit City of Fort Collins

Mazdak Arabi

Mazdak Arabi, is proposing to establish a network of water-monitoring instruments along the Poudre River which could help the city of Fort Collins save money on its wastewater treatment costs and also spotlight new technology developed and produced by local companies.  This pilot project would reduce water utility costs by providing the city with a better idea of what’s coming downstream. "The goal is to understand the hydraulics regime of the water so utilities can adjust their operations on a daily basis.  In that way they don't treat the water more than they need to," Arabi said.

Arabi notes that the Poudre River  is a good laboratory for studying river flows and pinpointing sources of naturally occurring pollutants, such as phosphorous and nitrogen.  Currently the city does grab sample  testing of the river with field technicians collecting samples.  The new technology of having equipment monitoring the water on a constant basis would allow the city to realize subtle changes on a real-time basis.


The pilot project would go from eight monitoring locations up to 21, which would ultimately cost an estimated $350,000 to $400,000. Arabi claims that this investment could be repaid eight to 10 times over the next five years by reducing wastewater treatment costs.

Arabi  is hoping to start installing the monitors next month with the help of CSU engineering students and have the system in place by October.  This depends upon getting government support and financial and in-kind assistance from partners in the private sector.  Arabi has received tentative commitments from Hach Co. and In-Situ for the first eight water monitors.

Not only a benefit to the city, the project offers educational opportunities for CSU students. It would involve a significant number of engineering students and would provide a platform for CSU students to train and assess real-time data for building their dissertations.

This pilot project is part of the Water Innovation Network, a partnership Arabi  is developing with CSU, local government and the water cluster.  WIN's goal is to create a "truly integrated collaboration" that would seek to "advance the development, demonstration and commercialization of clean water technologies.  Arabi believes a successful WIN pilot project could help the region's economy in many ways.   “This is a great opportunity for the people of Colorado as it is focused on creating infrastructure that attracts new companies, lets existing companies spotlight their equipment and helps CSU students. And it really benefits government agencies to be good stewards of the environment and better manage their resources,” said Arabi.

Researchers Develop Unique Pressure Measurement System for Wind Tunnel Testing

Researchers at the Wind Engineering and Fluids Laboratory (WEFL) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU have been quite busy over the past months, finalizing the development of a unique pressure measurement instrument that allows high fidelity acquisition of aerodynamic pressures induced at up to 1024 locations.


As a result of a multi-year effort supported by the Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation, a research team headed by Dr. B. Bienkiewicz has developed unique instrumentation designed to enhance wind tunnel assessments of wind induced loading on buildings and other structures, and on renewable energy systems (e.g. photovoltaic installations, wind turbines).

Wind Tunnel Wind Tunnel
Fig. 1 Overall View of Pressure
Measurement System
Fig. 2 Wind Tunnel Testing

The developed system consists of two 512-channel subsystems controlled by a personal computer (PC). Each sub-system consists of eight 64-channel scanners. The synchronized acquisition of the pressure data from the 1024 channels is accomplished using the two subsystems simultaneously triggered by a command sent by the PC. The acquired data is buffered to a mass storage device of the PC, thus enabling acquisition of long data records. The pressures can be acquired (nearly simultaneously) at each of the 1024 channels, at a high sampling rate. As shown in Fig. 1, the scanners are tightly packaged in each sub-system. As a result, the 1024-channel system can be integrated with the supporting structure of the wind tunnel turntable, directly underneath a tested model, see Fig. 2.

The main pneumatic and electronic components of the system - the pressure scanners, control pressure modules and other hardware, and associated software - were provided by Scanivalve Corp. (SC), of Liberty Lake, WA. The overall integration of the system was developed by the researchers and students affiliated with WEFL. Assistance in these efforts was provided by the technical personnel from SC. This collaboration was invaluable in resolving a number of technical issues and ensuring optimized and reliable performance of the integrated system.

Preliminary testing of the system was carried out in December 2009, in a large boundary-layer wind tunnel the Meteorological Wind Tunnel at WEFL. The performed tests indicated an overall excellent performance of the system. The obtained unique datasets are currently being analyzed. As soon as the validation efforts are completed, an extensive wind tunnel testing program utilizing the developed system and focused on comprehensive evaluation of wind loading on buildings will be initiated.

Significant contributions to the above project were made by D. Boyajian (electronic technician) and M. Endo ( Ph.D. Candidate and WEFL Manager).

The efforts on the system integration led to development of Compact Packaging Scheme for Pressure Measurement Transducers. A provisional patent for this technology has been filed via CSUVentures (ID: CSURF 08-042).

Graywater irrigation: Potential water conservation tool

Sybil Sharvelle and Larry Roesner, professors with the Urban Water Center in Colorado State's College of Engineering, are in the first year of a three-year $370,000 graywater study awarded by the Water Environment Research Foundation to investigate the effects of using household graywater for residential landscape irrigation. They are sampling soil, plants, and water at homes with graywater systems in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado.

(Photo of the graywater research team: Prof. Sybil Sharvelle, graduate student Adam Jokerst, and Prof. Larry Roesner)


"We are assessing plant health, soil chemistry and microorganisms in graywater irrigation areas and comparing the findings with samples taken in the same yard where similar vegetation exists that is irrigated with city water," Sharvelle said. "You can't just assume that if a plant looks good now, that it has long-term viability. By applying scientific analyses of plant health, soil quality and microbial populations, we will be able to shed better light on whether it is safe to irrigate landscape for long periods with graywater."

To read the full article, click here.