Civil Engineering


Faculty Mentors:   Dr. Claudio I. Meier, Associate Professor, Civil Engineering; Dr. Farjad Jazaei, Post-Doctoral Associate, CAESER

Department: Civil Engineering

Contact Information:  cimeier@memphis.edu, (901) 297-8855; fjazaei@memphis.edu 

Project Description:   River bars in gravel-bed rivers act as bioreactors, accelerating the degradation of organic matter and thus contributing to river self-depuration. In this project we attempt to better understand how river water flows into and under gravel bars, by using heat exchange: cold or hot water (depending on season of the year) will be injected into mini-piezometers (small observation wells made out of PVC conduit pipe) installed on a river bar. By placing hundreds of small temperature sensors at different locations (and depths) in the bar, we will be able to trace the motion of this injected water as it travels within the river bed, thus determining flow velocities and distributions of residence time within the bar.

Requirements for Applicants: Majoring in Civil Engineering or Geology, with a focus and interest in water resources. Able to analyze data in Excel. Interested in working in the field, and able to do so on a couple of weekends during the term, as about 50% of the time-involvement will be related to collecting data in the river.

Application Process: 1-page statement of interest, unofficial transcript

Hours per week: 10 hours per week, of which about 50% will be doing field work over a couple of weekends (Friday afternoon to Sunday evening) during the semester, and the other half will be data analysis.

Start date: TBD

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer


Faculty Mentor: David Arellano, Ph.D., P.E.

Faculty Mentor's Department: Civil Engineering

Contact Information: 901-678-3272, darellan@memphis.edu 

Project Description: The focus of the projects is to further evaluate the engineering properties of Memphis area loess soils. The general scope of work will include the following tasks: perform literature search, develop laboratory test program, perform lab testing, and summarize the literature search and lab test results in a paper summary.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Student with interest in civil engineering and/or earth science.

Application or Interview Process: Cover letter, a letter of reference from student's advisor or a faculty member familiar with student's academic work, and a copy of unofficial transcripts

Hours per week the student will work: Will vary throughout the semester depending on the lab testing program but will not exceed 20 hours per week. Methods of Compensation: Volunteer or Federal Work Study

Methods of Compensation: Volunteer

Start Date: Suggest that start date be early in the semester 

Faculty Mentor's name: Ricardo Taborda

Faculty Mentor's Department: Civil Engineering OR Center for Earthquake Research and Information

Telephone Number and/or Email Address: 901-678-1527; ricardo.taborda@memphis.edu

Project Description: Influence of the Built Environment on the Ground Motion and its Variability

In this study we investigate the extent to which the presence of buildings can modify ground motions during earthquakes. We use of three-dimensional wave propagation simulations, with and without the presence of building models, and analyze the potential correlations that exist between seismic waves and the collective characteristics of building clusters. We are interested in identifying parameters that could serve as proxies to characterize urban environments and measure the changes on the ground motion in terms of spatial distribution, amplitude, duration, and frequency content. The overall objective of this ongoing study is to arrive at conclusions relevant to urban planning and seismic hazard analysis. We are also interested in identifying some of the observations from our models in strong motion data from monitoring stations located within dense urban areas.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science students with knowledge of Matlab (Matlab scripting/programming language). Junior or Senior students with potential interest in graduate programs are preferred.

Application or Interview Process: Interview, and reference from UofM faculty.

Hours per week the student will work: Pending on UofM funding and the student's availability.

Starting Date: As soon as possible.

Methods of Compensation: Volunteer 

Faculty Mentor's name: Adel Abdelnaby

Faculty Mentor's Department: Civil Engineering 

Telephone Number and/or Email Address: 901-678-4633; bdelnaby@memphis.edu 

Project Description:

Study the degradation and deterioration of masonry due to aging, weathering, and saline water attack. In this research, masonry unit samples will be exposed to accelerated aging and deterioration conditions. A small-scale masonry wall will be built and tested in the lab under earthquake loads to determine the effects of masonry degradation on the structural performance of system. 

Requirements for Student Applicants: Civil engineering (senior or sophomore level), experience to work with brick and masonry, can work in the lab for extended hours

Application or Interview Process: Unofficial Transcript, Resume, Cover Letter, Interview

Hours per week the student will work: 10-20

Starting Date: As soon as possible.

Methods of Compensation: Volunteer