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Research Facilities for Environmental, Water Resources, and Coastal Engineering

Environmental Engineering Laboratory

Research facilities in the Civil Engineering Department include over 6000 sq. ft. of laboratory space devoted to environmental chemistry and microbiology. The Environmental Engineering Laboratory has equipment for research on water and wastewater treatment, contaminant transport and site remediation, refuse decomposition, anaerobic microbiology, analytical chemistry, and applied molecular microbial ecology.

Hydraulics Laboratory

Students learn first-hand in the Hydraulics Laboratory (located in Mann Hall 108) about fluid viscosity, hydrostatics, and the conservation of mass, momentum, and energy for both pipe flows and flow in open channels. Recent acquisitions using student-supported educational technology funds have included equipment for investigating jet impingement and Reynolds number in fluids as well as a new lab-scale flume for exploration of uniform flow, hydraulic jumps, and flow controls. The lab enables small groups of students to work in teams. In the near term we are investigating the inclusion of computational modeling so that students will be able to: (1) validate models with experimental measurements; and (2) explore the effect of design changes in simple systems on fluid dynamics.

Portable Mobile Source Emissions Laboratory

Based primarily on funding from sponsored research projects, Dr. H. Christopher Frey and colleagues Dr. Nagui M. Rouphail and Dr. William Rasdorf have assembled a suite of portable instruments that have been employed in over 20 projects since 1999 for measurement of the activity, energy use, and emissions of a wide variety of vehicles. Measured vehicles include cars, trucks, school buses, construction equipment, and railroad locomotives.

The instruments include portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) that monitor pollutants in vehicle exhaust, engine sensors, engine electronic control unit data loggers, geographic positioning systems, and weather sensors. Data obtained with these instruments has been used, for example, to assess the effect of traffic control and congestion on highway vehicle energy use and emissions, to compare emissions for B20 biodiesel versus petroleum diesel, and to assess real-world duty cycles for dump trucks, cement mixers, construction equipment, and locomotives and their implications for emissions. With support from the National Science Foundation, these instruments are used in CE 476/576 Air Pollution Control and CE 479/579 Air Quality to introduce students to principles of field study design, data collection, and data analysis.

Computational Laboratory for Energy, Air, and Risk (CLEAR)

The mission of the Computational Laboratory for Energy, Air, and Risk (CLEAR) is to develop new methods and models for quantifying energy and environmental problems to improve public and private decision-making. CLEAR, under the direction of Dr. H. C. Frey, is comprised of computational facilities that support the Laboratory’s mission. These facilities include both hardware and software for: the simulation of process technologies, including process performance, emissions, and economics; quantification of variability and uncertainty in energy and environmental systems models; development of emission inventories; and exposure and risk assessment.

In recent projects, CLEAR has been utilized to: develop new performance, emissions, and cost models of advanced power generation and air pollution prevention and control technologies; develop probabilistic estimates of highway vehicle emission factors; quantify uncertainty in predictions of ozone levels based upon propagation of uncertainty in emissions and other air quality model inputs; and develop new methods for quantification of variability and uncertainty and propagation of both through models.

NCSU-Kenan Natural Hazards Mapping Program

The NCSU-Kenan Natural Hazards Mapping Program Lab focuses on research that generates knowledge about coastal processes (including landform change), coastal hazard identification, and response strategies to improve the resilience of the coastal environment. The laboratory has the hardware and software support to efficiently utilize state-of-the-art GIS-based techniques, geospatial tools, and numerical models to better understand, visualize, model, and develop solutions to coastal problems. Currently, NCSU-Kenan Natural Hazards Mapping Laboratory has projects focused on the effects of extreme events, sea level rise, beach nourishment, and beach and dune erosion on coastal landforms.

The Computing and Systems Engineering Distributed Computing Laboratory

Located in 320 Mann Hall, this laboratory includes state-of-the-art workstations that form part of the Eos distributed computing system within the College of Engineering. Eos uses technology developed for Project Athena at MIT, which provides a robust, centrally managed system of commercial and academic engineering software.

Engineering students have access to Eos labs, as well as to the Virtual Computing Lab, around the clock. Project Eos is operated by a professional support group that provides basic system and software services. Special consultation for faculty and students is also provided by the Eos support group.