2016 Group 2 Infrastructure Systems Day

  Overview: After the tour of the wastewater and drinking water facilities, we drove to Gallup park to learn about Infrastructure systems and hydraulic engineering. We had an introductory lesson from Brandon, Kevin, and Matt about water systems and what the latest technologies are used to measure data. Later in the afternoon, we did a very compelling and engaging activity with coding microcontrollers, connecting circuits, and seeing how the microcontroller boards communicate with each other. Brandon taught us how to write basic code to do simple tasks such as opening and closing a solenoid valve. He also taught us how to wire the circuit for the valve. He showed us what to do if the circuit is not working and what things to check first. At the end of the day we put all of the circuits together and the boards did their own work with opening the valve when the water was high and closing when the water was low.  A very enthralling day along with a great insight with what hydraulic engineers do.   How can you see this topic of civil engineering in your own daily life? During the hydraulic engineering session, we learned lots about not only retention ponds, but also coding. We were able to control the water levels of our model river by writing our own codes. For most of us this was a new experience so it was really cool to be able to type something into a computer and see it happen in real time. In Ann Arbor we have the Huron River as our source of drinking water as well as recreation, so when there is runoff into the river with dangerous chemicals and pollutants it could be harder for the drinking water treatment plant to purify the water. An excess of runoff can also destroy natural ecology that people like to observe and use for recreation. If there is too much rain, retention ponds can flood causing damage to private properties, if flooding persists over long periods of time it could cause major damage. By being able to control the waterflow we could prevent the pollution that comes with runoff as well as flooding. What was one thing you learned in this session about civil engineering that you previously did not know? One thing that we learned during this session was how much work and effort a civil engineer will put into an experimental system.  We learned that in order to automatically take samples in the field, and also to prevent water damage, the engineers were required to put together all of the equipment, code the software, and wire the hardware.  The system that exists for measuring water samples and then automatically reacting accordingly seems more difficult than we at first imagined; there is much more manual work taking place than we thought would occur when we heard the term “automatic sampler”.  We also learned about how a civil engineer can help the environment by not just keeping unnecessary amounts of nutrients out of the water, but that civil engineers are also able to control the water level and stop the water from affecting other areas of the environment where it could cause damage.  

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Events

Friday, November 4, 2016 - 9:30am
Location:

Duderstadt Center

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 9:00am
Janet Stout, Director and President, Special Pathogens Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA and Research Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Sudhir Murthy, Innovations Chief, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water)
Location:

Location to be announced.

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