Student Research

The SPTC believes in engaging students in transportation related research.

The following students are part of an undergraduate research program at The University of Oklahoma known as HERE, Honors Engineering Research Experience. In partnership with the College of Engineering, OU’s Honors College provides Honors students an opportunity to participate in laboratory research. The goal of the program is to promote research and increase awareness of graduate degrees.

Jackson Autrey Senior studying Mechanical Engineering

Jackson Autrey
Senior studying Mechanical Engineering

Title: Enhancing Green Paving in Oklahoma Using Recycled Asphalt Shingles
Faculty Lead: Professor Musharraf Zaman

Project Description: Each year, an estimated 11 million tons of old asphalt shingles from roofs are disposed of in the United States. In Oklahoma, it costs between $50 and $150 per ton, depending on size and kind of debris, to dispose of these materials in landfills. Recent studies have shown that recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) contain hard crushed aggregates, viscous binders, and fibers that are desirable for the production of hot mix asphalt (HMA) for paving applications. Using only 5% RAS in HMA can save $1 - $2.80 per ton and improve the quality of the mix. The proposed study will investigate the volumetric properties and performance (moisture damage potential, rutting and fatigue) characteristics of HMA mixes containing RAS. One commonly used asphalt shingle in Oklahoma and one commonly used aggregate and virgin binder will be used. The proposed study will enhance “green paving” in Oklahoma.

Casey Carlile Senior studying Industrial & Systems Engineering

Casey Carlile
Senior studying Industrial & Systems Engineering

Title: Developing a Metamodel for the Service Level of Electric Charging Stations for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Faculty Leads: Janet Allen, Professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Farrokh Mistree, Professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Project Description: Alternative energy sources are critically important for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a more independent energy economy. Plug-in hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEVs) are the most feasible approach towards significantly lowering the consumption of oil and improving fuel economy with today's existing technologies and are critically important for a fundamental transformation that shifts the transportation sector from traditional oil based fleets to electrical power vehicular technologies. Reliable access to charging infrastructures is one of the key barriers to achieve the spread of PHEVs, which demonstrates the necessitate of a method for designing a system of electric charging stations by considering different and conflicting system goals. In this project, we develop a discrete-event simulation model to simulate different behaviors by PHEV users at charging stations. Since designing a single charging station is dependent on the level of service for different design alternatives, we propose a metamodel based on Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) to estimate the level of service at charging stations for different design scenarios based on the results of the simulation model.

Alexander Guerra Senior studying Mechanical Engineering  

Alexander Guerra
Senior studying Mechanical Engineering

Title: Improved Design Guidelines for Reinforced Earthwork Structures
Faculty Lead: Kianoosh Hatami, Assoc. Prof. of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science

Project Description: Departments of Transportation across the U.S. are faced with the problem of landslides and slope failures along highways. Repairs and maintenance work associated with these failures cost these agencies millions of dollars annually. A potentially cost-effective solution for slope reconstruction and repair is to reinforce locally available soils with geosynthetic materials. However, locally available soils are often of marginal quality and their shear strength and interaction with the geosynthetic reinforcement is significantly dependent on their moisture content. Students in this research program help build, instrument and test large-scale model embankments on the OU south campus. The objective of this study is to develop design guidelines for reinforced soil slopes (RSS) to account for the influence of soil moisture content on the stability of RSS structures.

Daniel Velazquez Senior studying Civil Engineering

Daniel Velazquez
Senior studying Civil Engineering

Title: Internal Curing of Calcium Sulfoaluminate Cement Concrete Using Expanded Shale Aggregate
Faculty Lead: Royce Floyd, Asst. Professor in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science

Project Description: Calcium sulfoaluminate cements require more water for complete hydration than typically used portland cement. Wet curing is needed for proper performance of expansive calcium sulfoaluminate cements used to produce shrinkage compensating concrete, but the low permeability of shrinkage compensating concrete may limit the effectiveness of traditional curing methods. Internal curing using saturated lightweight aggregates has been shown effective for use in improving the cement hydration in low permeability concrete mixtures. The researcher will investigate the effects of internal curing using expanded shale aggregate on compressive strength, expansion, and permeability of calcium sulfoaluminate cement concrete.

Sarah Hyde Junior studying Chemical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering Pre-Medical

Sarah Hyde
Junior studying Chemical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering Pre-Medical

Title: Kinetics and Reaction Mechanisms in the Upgrading of Biofuels
Faculty Lead: Professor Daniel Resasco

Project Description: Bio-oil produced by fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass has attracted considerable attention as an intermediate liquid product towards the production of fuels. However its chemical instability, high viscosity, and corrosiveness limit their processability and storage. One of the greatest challenges in the upgrading of bio-oil is the accelerated degradation that occurs when the condensed liquid is subsequently heated for fractionation or other processing. Catalytic upgrading is an attractive strategy that can be used to optimize carbon efficiency and minimize hydrogen usage. Important reactions for this upgrading include:
(a) formation of C-C bonds to extend the carbon backbone of short oxygenates to the desired gasoline/diesel range via aldol condensation and ketonization in aqueous phase
(b) incorporation of short carbon fragments (C1-C3) into the aromatic ring of phenolic compounds via alkylation in biphasic systems;
(c) deoxygenation of the resulting products to monofunctional compounds or hydrocarbons in the liquid phase.