Skip to main content

Funded Research

TitleAgencyAmountStart DateEnd DateStatusInvestigatorsAbstract
BRITE Pivot: Growing Biological Methods to Improve Soil Behavior for Infrastructure ProtectionNational Science Foundation (NSF)5251812023-05-012026-04-30AwardedBrina MontoyaWithin the area of bio-mediated soil improvement, the majority of the research effort (both the community’s and my own) has been elucidating the change in the soil’s mechanical behavior and overall performance (i.e., “soil improvement”). The soil improvement has almost exclusively been achieved by using ureolytic bacteria that induce carbonate precipitation. My proposed pivot will be to expand the “bio-mediated” aspect of the research area by uncovering active soil microbial communities through advance molecular techniques, specifically metaproteomics. I plan to achieve this by specific training in metaproteomics in Dr. Manuel Kleiner’s lab, with complementary training in metagenomics through the Biotechnology program at NC State. The proposed activities meet the track goals by allowing the PI and graduate student to gain research fluency in advance molecular techniques that may lead to the discovery of more sustainable microbial
mechanisms that alter the soil’s behavior.

The overall research objective is to identify mechanisms capable of improving soil behavior by using state-of-the-art methods to assess the functions and interactions of the indigenous complex microbial communities. The improved soil behavior will enhance the resiliency of civil infrastructure. The collective skill set obtained through the proposed pivot will enable the research team to understand the composition and activity of soil microbial communities to be used for geotechnical purposes.

The proposed project will initially focus on training in metaproteomics through Dr. Kleiner’s lab, classes, and related seminar series in the Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities Cluster at NC State. The techniques developed in the first year of training will be used to investigate complex microbial communities in microcosms studied in the PIs past projects (e.g., surficial dune sand, subsurface/offshore saturated granular soil, ore mine tailings) with the anticipated outcomes of developing 1) a framework to incorporate metaproteomics into geotechnical site investigation and 2) preliminary results of potential communities of interest to explore further with the goal to utilize more sustainable biochemical reactions (potential examples in flowchart below). The following years of the project will expand the training in molecular microbiology and establish proof of concept to identify microbes via metaproteomics and utilizing them to change soil behavior. The anticipated contribution near the end of the project will be to establish more sustainable bio-mediated methods for byproduct stabilization (building upon CAREER results).

The outcomes of the proposed project will provide more sustainable and economical biologically-mediated methods to improve soil performance and protect infrastructure, and integrate advanced microbial background into geotechnical students’ knowledge.

A portion of the DEI activities will include developing a citizen scientist program with connection to communities effected by byproduct impoundments to provide alternative, sustainable soil improvement methods targeting site-specific microbes.
Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) Graduate Fellowship. (Adam Schmidt)Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)100002023-01-312023-08-31AwardedEleni BardakaWe study how investments in transit infrastructure can differently impact surrounding neighborhoods based on their socioeconomic characteristics. We use a social status index (SSI) to group neighborhoods based on their socioeconomic characteristics prior to the arrival of transit infrastructure, and use a quasi-experimental approach to study the impact of a new light rail transit (LRT) system in Charlotte, NC. We use a difference-in-differences model to study changes in educational attainment, the rate of individuals working in professional occupations, neighborhood racial mix, and household income for Census block groups within 1 kilometer of LRT stations. We compare changes in the neighborhoods near LRT stations to 2 other areas, one of which we identify using propensity score matching (PSM). We find that neighborhoods with a low and high SSI experience changes associated with gentrification, and see little effect in neighborhoods with a medium SSI. Our findings may encourage other researchers to challenge the assumption that the the effects of new transit systems are homogeneous across neighborhood typologies, and encourage researchers to further study the relationship between neighborhood change and underlying neighborhood characteristics.
Characterizing fecally-associated bacteria in tidal floodwaters and associated risks to pedestriansNCSU Sea Grant Program99992023-01-232023-12-31AwardedAngela Harris; Katherine Anarde; Natalie NelsonMicrobiological contaminants will be screened in floodwaters during high tide floods in Beaufort and Carolina Beach, NC.
Science of Safety TrainingUniversity of Colorado - Boulder500002023-01-092024-01-08AwardedAlex AlbertThe collaborative research effort will focus on understanding how safety training interventions can be designed to maximize work-related safety performance in the context of the construction industry. The effort is expected to involve the formulation of research questions, the development of research methods, the collection of data, and the analysis of relevant data. The results of the effort are expected to improve our understanding of the science of safety training. Such an understanding will inform efforts to design and deliver highly-effective safety training interventions that target the construction workforce.
Identifying Potential Targets for Vegetative Buffer and Wetlands EnhancementNC Department of Justice (NCDOJ)1937732023-01-012025-12-31AwardedAngela Harris; Helena Mitasova; Jay Levine; Stacy Nelson; William ShowersProject Summary: Effective riparian vegetative buffers and wetlands are carbon sinks, minimize nutrient input, soil erosion and related runoff into adjacent surface waters. They are an essential component of livestock environmental resource management and mitigate the movement of nitrogenous and fecal waste from livestock operations and manure management fields into waterways. Watersheds in the coastal plain of North Carolina include a mixture of homes, businesses, livestock operations and other forms of agriculture. Each is a potential source of nutrient and fecal waste in surface waters. Watershed contamination with nutrients or fecal waste are traditionally considered to be non-point sources of contamination. However, all fecal waste has a vertebrate animal origin, and the species of origin varies with adjacent land-use practices. All vertebrates release cells from their gastrointestinal tract in their feces. These cells contain mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), a routine aspect of forensic investigation that can be applied to identify the animal hosts associated with fecal waste. An mtDNA-based assay we have developed can now specifically attribute the source of fecal waste to humans, livestock (cattle, pigs, poultry, goats), companion animals (dog, cat) and wildlife (white-tailed deer and Canada goose). We propose a comprehensive cross-sectional study to identify locations contaminated by nitrate and fecal waste in mixed use livestock intensive areas of the lower Neuse and Cape Fear watersheds. The study will be conducted with the aim of identifying the presence of fecal contamination and attributing the source of fecal contamination to their species of origin. Water grab samples will be screened for Enterococcus spp. as an indicator of fecal contamination. Samples from positive locations will then be tested for vertebrate mtDNA to attribute the contamination to specific species. Additional sampling at positive sites will assess fecal waste input during storm events. Riparian areas adjacent to waterways testing positive will be visualized using satellite imagery to identify proximity to potential sources of contamination with the identified species. Samples will be assessed for the potential correlation of fecal sources with ammonium, nitrate, chloride, silicate, phosphate, dissolved organic nitrogen and dissolved organic nitrogen. We will conduct community design charettes with cooperating town environmental management personnel and residents, in cooperation with local extension agents and resource managers to identify opportunities for riparian vegetative buffer or wetlands enhancement. Specific objectives include: 1) Identifying locations in agricultural livestock intensive areas where water quality is being degraded by nitrogenous and fecal waste; 2) Identifying riparian locations that will benefit from buffer or wetlands development or refinement; and 3) Working with community stakeholders to develop a plan for buffer and wetland development or refinement. The studies reflect the ecosystem health-oriented objectives of the Environmental Enhancement Grant (EEG) program by facilitating efforts to identify locations that would benefit from either the introduction of vegetative buffers or wetlands or the potential refinement or restoration of existing buffers or wetlands.
A Life-Cycle Comparison of Landfilling and Waste-to-Energy Combustion in Montgomery County MarylandMontgomery County947692022-12-062023-12-05AwardedMorton Barlaz; Sanmugavadivel RanjithanThe overall objective of the proposed project is to evaluate the environmental impacts (including greenhouse gas emissions) for three options for managing Montgomery County’s residual municipal solid waste (MSW).
Option 1: Disposal at an out-of-state landfill, with transportation by truck, rail, or both.
Option 2: Disposal at a new in-county landfill to be constructed on the County’s Site 2 properties in Dickerson, MD with transportation by rail, truck, or both.
Option 3: Management at the County’s existing mass burn waste-to-energy (WtE) facility in Dickerson, Montgomery Count, Maryland with transport by rail.
Attributing The Source of Fecal Waste In Multi-use Livestock Intensive WatershedsNational Pork Board1100002022-12-012023-11-30AwardedAngela Harris; Jay Levine; William ShowersAll livestock operations generate fecal waste. Local and state regulations guide environmental management of farm operations. Responsible manure handling and field application that protects natural ecosystems and public health are an operational necessity for pork producers. However, each livestock enterprise and residential community in a multi-use livestock intensive watershed is a potential source of fecal waste in surface waters. Although fecal waste has traditionally been considered a non-point source pollutant, all fecal waste has a vertebrate animal origin, and the species of origin varies with adjacent land-use practices. Environmental monitoring for the presence of fecal waste routinely relies on the culture or detection of fecal coliforms, total coliforms, or Enterococcus spp. bacteria. These microbial indicators, however, are non-specific and a second assay is used to attribute the source of fecal waste to a specific species. The detection of host-specific enteric organisms, such as Bacteroidales spp. and genetic assays focused on detecting these microbial species are routinely used for species attribution. In contrast, our laboratory has refined the use of mitochondrial DNA testing using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction for identifying the host of origin of fecal waste detected in surface waters. This proposal focuses on clarifying the species of origin of fecal waste entering surface waters in selected watersheds in Indiana, Ohio and other midwestern states. Specific objectives include: 1) Attributing the source of fecal contamination in surface waters in selected watersheds in Indiana and Ohio; and 2) Attributing the source of fecal waste in other watersheds of concern identified by pork producers and/or local or state environmental agency staff.
Advancing the Technical Readiness of FeCrAl alloys and ODS Steels under Extreme Conditions for Fast Reactor Fuel CladdingUS Dept. of Energy (DOE)8000002022-10-012025-09-30AwardedJacob Eapen; Korukonda Murty; Tasnim HassanThe project team will perform several closely-knit tasks to probe the microstructural behavior and to evaluate their effects on the mechanical properties of two candidate cladding alloys – FeCrAl and ODS-14YWT. These alloys have been investigated for reactor use for a number of years and are widely considered to be radiation-tolerant materials that can withstand the extreme environment of a nuclear reactor. As mentioned previously, the behavior at extremely large doses and high temperatures is largely unknown. The project team, therefore, proposes ion irradiation with doses reaching to 400 dpa for temperatures ranging from 300 to 700°C on two alloys FeCrAl and ODS-14YWT. At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) – Ion Beam Materials Laboratory, co-PI Weber will conduct the irradiation tests with several types of ions. These experiments will generate a database on microstructure evolution and material degradation, with irradiation temperature and high dose as key variables. Separate gas implantation effects will be probed to investigate the effects of He concentration at high irradiation doses. Thus, the effects of void interactions and void swelling, which are critical to the technical readiness of these alloys, will be evaluated at high dpas and temperatures.
Leveraging the ongoing NEUP projects on miniature specimen testing, the project team will then perform in-situ thermo-mechanical experiments (tension, torsion, creep, and creep-fatigue) on the ion-irradiated samples up to a temperature of 700°C. The primary objective is to probe and characterize the microstructural changes in-situ using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The test rig is currently being installed as a user facility by PI/PD, and co-PIs Hassan and Eapen.
Center for Leadership in Environmental Awareness and Research (CLEAR)Wayne State University449742022-09-082023-06-30AwardedJacqueline GibsonProject E2 relates to the Center for Leadership in Environmental Awareness and Research (CLEAR) with a focus on the Superfund-relevant VOC contaminants in complex urban environments. The goal of Project E2 is to develop a robust platform that integrates an Internet of Things (IoT) sensing network and edge computing (IoTEC) with a Bayesian network model for exposure assessment and targeted remediation of VOC vapor intrusion (VI). We hypothesize that (1) integrated IoT sensing and edge computing (IoTEC), compared to conventional off-line sampling, provides a rapid-response and cost-efficient approach to monitor and screen for VI in complex urban matrices, (2) IoTEC sensing data supplemented with house survey, regional groundwater modeling, soil survey, and geospatial tools can be used to develop a Bayesian-based tool for exposure assessment of VI, and (3) a novel VOC adsorption approach for timely and targeted remediation of VI coupled with the products of (1) and (2) will complement conventional engineering remediation to reduce exposure risk of VI. This hypothesis will be tested by three specific research aims: (1) establish the IoTEC tool by integrating the IoT sensing technology with edge computing for cost-efficient and rapid screening and monitoring of VI and VOC exposure; (2) deploy a dynamic, machine-learned Bayesian network model integrated with a mechanistic model for exposure assessment and prioritized remediation; and (3) develop functionalized sorbents and remediation systems for integration with IoTEC monitoring for targeted remediation of VI risk pathways. This innovative work will transform the paradigm of VI assessment and remediation from conventional off-line methods to a new data-science driven approach, providing a first-of-its-kind platform with functionality ranging from VOC monitoring and data collection / analysis to data-based decision making and improved remediation outcomes. In addition, labscale micropilot treatment systems will be developed by integrating the IoTEC sensor network with the novel adsorption approach for rapid-response remediation of VOC to minimize exposure risks. Modifications to sorption materials including activated carbon, zeolite clay, and organosilica particles and foams will be investigated to address current air purifier performance concerns. This project addresses three important SRP mandates: SRP Mandate 2, methods to assess the risks to human health presented by hazardous substances; SRP Mandate 3, methods and technologies to detect hazardous substances in the environment; and SRP Mandate 4, basic biological, chemical, and physical methods to reduce the amount and toxicity of hazardous substances in the environment. In combination with other CLEAR projects / cores to reduce environmental risk to VOC exposure as well as improve public health outcomes, this work will provide improved methods and tools for risk characterization and optimization of remediation efforts. This research will leverage the investigators’ funded research projects in IoT sensing, edge computing, smart environmental monitoring, groundwater modeling, machine-learned Bayesian network modeling, and VOC adsorption as well as will benefit from well-established collaborations with partners such as the EGLE/MI Superfund office.
2022 Early-Career Research Fellowship: Environmental Protection and Stewardship (Track Two)National Academy of Sciences760002022-09-012024-08-31AwardedKatherine AnardeThe goal of the Early Career Research Fellowship – Environmental Protection and Stewardship track is to advance scientific knowledge and its application to predict and prepare for ecosystem changes in the Gulf of Mexico and its coastal zones as the region navigates a changing climate and energy transition.
CAS-Climate: The Effects of Chronic Flooding on Coastal MigrationUNC - UNC Chapel Hill242322022-09-012025-08-31AwardedKatherine AnardeThis project will provide new empirical insight regarding if and how coastal flooding influences migration decisions and community composition. We adopt an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the causes and consequences of chronic coastal flooding. Our research addresses two key knowledge gaps. First, we will deploy a novel, low-cost sensor system that will enable us to detect flooding where people live (rather than at tide gauges), at high temporal resolution. This approach ensures that we capture both “flash” and prolonged flood events, and the numerous drivers that contribute to them including rain, wind, groundwater, and local drainage infrastructure. Second, we will go beyond studying infrastructure impairment to investigate how people and communities experience and respond to chronic flooding through household surveys and large-scale administrative data.
CAS-Climate: Understanding the Changing Climatology, Organizing Patterns and Source Attribution of Hazards of Floods over the Southcentral and Southeast USNational Science Foundation (NSF)6734182022-09-012025-08-31AwardedAnantha Aiyyer; Carl Schreck III; Sankarasubraman ArumugamThe Southcentral and Southeast US, comprising six water resource regions, has been experiencing significant growth in population over the last three decades. Among different hazards the region faces, floods occur in all the four seasons accounting more than quarter of the economic losses. The region has faced several major hurricanes – Matthew (2016), Irma (2017), Harvey (2016), Florence (2018) – over the last three seasons resulting in catastrophic flooding and loss of life. The objective of this proposal is to improve the predictability of the hazards of hydrologic extremes of floods and droughts through better understanding of (a) quantifying the changes in climatology, (b) describing their organizational patterns and (c) attributing the sources/drivers – land surface, atmosphere and ocean – that modulate their spatio-temporal variability over the region. Given the continually increasing population over study region, a synthesis on the role of various drivers and their interactions in influencing the predictability of floods will provide related agencies additional insights on developing strategies to improve the community resilience.
Biocatalyst Interactions with Gases (BIG) CollaborationNovo Nordisk Foundation66418532022-09-012027-08-31AwardedAmy Grunden; Douglas Call; Fanxing Li; Flora Meilleur; Igor Bolotnov; Nathan Crook; Sonja Salmon; William Sagues; Yaroslava YinglingThis fundamental research is motivated by three major global challenges that directly involve the transformation of gas molecules: carbon dioxide (CO2) capture for greenhouse gas mitigation, CO2 conversion to fuels and chemicals, and nitrogen (N2) gas conversion to biologically available ammonia to meet growing fertilizer demand. The research focuses on creating and investigating multi-functional interfaces that durably immobilize enzymes near their gaseous substrates while simultaneously delivering essential chemical and electrical reducing equivalents and removing reaction products to achieve maximum catalytic rates. Biocatalytic systems to be explored are: conversion of CO2 to bicarbonate catalyzed by carbonic anhydrase, reduction of CO2 to formate catalyzed by formate dehydrogenase, and reduction of N2 to ammonia catalyzed by nitrogenase. We envision that minimization of reaction barriers near immobilized biocatalyst interfaces involving gas molecule conversions will lead to transformative innovations that help overcome global sustainability challenges.
Creations in Concrete: An Integrated Architecture and Civil Engineering Instructional Project in Precast ConcretePCI Foundation1000002022-08-162026-08-15AwardedDana Gulling; Gregory LucierJointly, the North Carolina State University School of Architecture (SOA) and Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering (CCEE) are seeking multi-year funding from the PCI Foundation to introduce architecture and civil engineering students to precast concrete systems and solutions. This proposal identifies existing courses in which precast concrete is minimally taught or mentioned and proposes an advanced architecture studio course integrated with a
civil engineering projects course. Both courses will be dedicated to precast concrete applications. They will begin in Spring 2023, continue for 4 years, and will significantly expand the instruction and knowledge of precast and prestressed concrete for NCSU students and faculty.
Shoreline Monitoring at Oregon Inlet Terminal GroinNC Department of Transportation5342532022-08-162025-08-15AwardedElizabeth SciaudoneIn August 2012, a new terminal groin permit associated with the new Basnight Bridge was signed. As with the original (1989) Oregon Inlet Terminal Groin permit, the new permit requires NC DOT to monitor the adjacent beach in order to determine whether or not there is adverse impact of the presence of the terminal groin, including a determination of whether sediment loss is greater than that predicted by the historical rates. In addition, NC DOT has proposed coastal and biological monitoring in support of the NC 12 Transportation Management Plan (NC 12 TMP) alternative (as discussed in the B-2500 ROD) and a review of the historical rate used for a basis comparison. The monitoring associated with the NC 12 TMP is needed in order to determine the location and extent of future phases of the B-2500 project. This study will gather and analyze the data that is needed to satisfy the requirements of both 1) the new terminal groin permit and 2) the coastal monitoring program component of the NC 12 TMP. The present proposal includes the following program elements: 1) data collection by NC DOT, 2) monitoring of the existing Oregon Inlet terminal groin, 3) mapping and modeling of coastal habitat changes, 4) TMP coastal monitoring, including development of vulnerability indicators related to the island morphology, and 5) integration of physical and biological monitoring data from NC DOT with the morphological indicators. An annual report will be developed detailing the program tasks and annual results, including a comparison with baseline conditions.
Characterization of Wood SamplesKodama Systems, Inc.55732022-08-152023-12-31AwardedMorton BarlazThe objective of the proposed project is to characterize the anaerobic biodegradability of wood samples. Characterization includes measurement of the total organic carbon, volatile solids (VS), moisture content and biochemical methane potential (BMP).
CAREER: Multiscale Probabilistic Characterization of Seismic Site Response in Highly Uncertain EnvironmentsNational Science Foundation (NSF)5661552022-08-012027-07-31AwardedAshly Cabas MijaresThis CAREER proposal will create a new multiscale probabilistic approach to quantify the response of sedimentary deposits to earthquake ground shaking (site response) in highly uncertain environments. Efforts toward improving resiliency of urban environments are challenged by variable seismic demands over large areas (e.g., the city of Los Angeles or along the alignment of distributed infrastructure such as pipelines), geohazards, and uncertainties associated with system-level performance (e.g., lifelines networks). Drinking water and wastewater utilities are critical lifelines after seismic events because of the potential impairment of the ability to fight fires, and negative effects of earthquake damage on public health, and the environment. Hence, this CAREER proposal focuses on water supply distribution systems (WSDS) and the challenges in incorporating multiscale modeling of site response into their seismic hazard assessments. Numerical modeling, geospatial analytics and uncertainty quantification will be used to develop the first conditional site amplification functions at local and regional scales that incorporate available data, spatial correlations, and uncertainty. Bayesian Networks (BN) and decision-support tools will enable the otherwise computationally costly system-level probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (multi-site PSHA) to be applied to WSDS. The proposed work is important because incorporating a robust regionalization of site effects into an optimized probabilistic approach that accounts for uncertainty has the potential to transform seismic hazard assessments of WSDS. This work is urgently needed in other highly uncertain environments (i.e., with scarcity of data) in the US (e.g., central and eastern US) and other earthquake-prone regions, such as mega-cities in Latin America. Thus, the educational and outreach goal of this work is to consolidate retention strategies for, and broaden participation from, women and Latin American students in STEM through a multifaceted educational plan that includes the launch of the Earthquake Engineering and Seismology Community Alliance in Latin America (E2SCALA) program.
Balanced Asphalt Mix Design for North CarolinaNC Department of Transportation3227862022-08-012024-07-31AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Cassandra Castorena; Youngsoo KimCurrent procedures for asphalt mixture design in North Carolina require contractors to conform to volumetric requirements on the air void content, voids in mineral aggregate, and other parameters at a fixed, traffic- and layer-specific compaction effort. The presumption in this case is that the mixtures produced under the same guidelines will have similar properties. However, recent findings by NCSU suggests that this presumption may be inaccurate and may have substantial implications in the design, performance, and management of roadways. This research study will address this issue by: i) identifying the most appropriate durability related testing protocol for incorporation into mix design and quality assurance/control operations; ii) establishing initial threshold limits for the test identified; iii) developing a draft balanced mix design (BMD) procedure for North Carolina, and iv) developing a draft protocol for integrating the identified performance tests into quality assurance and quality control operations. The primary outcome of the proposed research will be a test method and procedure that the NCDOT can deploy in asphalt mixture design and production to ensure that the mixtures delivered in the state have an acceptable level of performance.
Evaluation of RAP/RAS Stockpiles in North Carolina and Changes in these Stockpiles Over TimeNC Department of Transportation3074442022-08-012024-07-31AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Cassandra CastorenaThe vast majority of asphalt mixtures produced in North Carolina contain recycled materials, including Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) and/or Recycled Asphalt Shingles (RAS). This research project seeks to identify how asphalt plant processing and stockpiling variables affect the consistency of RAP and RAS materials with time in a given stockpile and across different plants in North Carolina. Furthermore, the project will assess how changes in recycled material properties affects asphalt mixture performance is needed to understand the practical implications of variability. Collectively, the results of this research will inform improved measures within the NCDOT specifications to mitigate variability of recycled material sources and, in turn, improve the reliability of asphalt mixture performance.
Evaluating Benefits and Drawbacks of Intersections with Three-Phase Traffic SignalsNC Department of Transportation2199832022-08-012024-07-31AwardedAli Hajbabaie; William RasdorfThe purpose of this research is to add new insights regarding the benefits and drawbacks of using intersections
with three-phase traffic signals compared to other intersection designs and to develop a technical guideline to help
designers and policymakers in transportation understand when and where to use three-phase designs.

At four-phase conventional intersections where traffic demand is near or above capacity, innovative intersections
may perform better. New designs with two-phase traffic signals such as reduced conflict intersections (RCI, also
called RCUT and superstreet) result in shorter travel times, fewer crashes, and better pedestrian service in North
Carolina (NC). However, retrofits to designs with two-phase signals may be impactful and unpopular. Higher
minor street demand, lack of precedent, and complaints (from neighbors, business owners, politicians, media, etc.)
are among the possible obstacles for constructing two-phase designs in many locations. In other words, while
two-phase intersections perform very well at many intersections, designers might not be able to select those
designs for some projects. On the other hand, intersections with three-phase signals might provide some of the
two-phase design advantages while also providing more direct movements and alleviating some public concerns.

This study seeks to answer the following questions: (1) At what locations are three-phase designs most well suited?
(2) How much do they cost, especially compared with other intersections like RCIs? (3) What kind of traffic
control devices (pavement markings, traffic signs, and traffic signals) are needed? (4) What movement restrictions
could cause motorist confusion and violations? (5) How could we minimize those violations? (6) What are the
considerations needed for pedestrian and bicyclist safety? (7) What kind of geometric and right-of-way (ROW)
limitations are faced during construction? (8) What movements are less impactful for redirecting in different
cases? (9) What designs would be most readily accepted by the public?

Current literature on innovative intersections with three-phase signals is limited. Excluding offset, partial
continuous-flow intersections (CFIs), and quadrant intersections, (three common three-phase designs in NC) little
information is available on the performance of other three-phase intersections. Reviewing the Crash Modification
Factors (CMF) Clearinghouse reveals that only a few studies have estimated CMFs for converting four-phase
conventional intersections to three-phase intersections. These studies focused on partial CFIs and partial median
U-turn intersections (MUTs). Other possible three-phase designs should also be evaluated to increase the
confidence level in selecting the most appropriate design.

A recent presentation by NCDOT’s Dr. Joseph Hummer introduced ten three-phase intersections as possible
candidates for future projects. Based on initial evaluations, the ten three-phase designs could show potential in
improving existing intersections. The research team also proposes another new three-phase design which could
be considered as a promising design. The proposed three-phase intersection redirects two left-turn and one
through movements. It is expected to experience higher capacity for the proposed design compared to
conventional intersection due to better signal progression and a lower volume to capacity (v/c) ratio. Also, the
proposed design has 19 conflict points. Only two of the existing three-phase designs (reverse RCI and offset
intersections) have fewer conflict points compared to the proposed design.

This proposed study focuses on the following three-phase designs: partial MUTs, partial CFIs, reverse RCIs, thru-
cuts, offset, quadrant, CFI/MUT combo, redirect one minor leg, redirect minor lefts, seven-phase signal, and
redirect two lefts and a through intersection (see Figure 1 in the body of the proposal). Also, the research team
will consider other new designs, especially where another proposed design might perf
North Carolina Wastewater Monitoring Network-Sequencing ProjectUNC - UNC Chapel Hill4043612022-08-012023-07-31AwardedAngela Harris; Siddhartha ThakurThe purpose of this contract is to conduct SARS-CoV-2 variant quantification and
sequence analysis on wastewater samples collected twice a week throughout the state of North Carolina as part of NCWMN. Results will be shared weekly with NCDHHS for submission to CDC NWSS. Additionally, these results will supplement other COVID-19 surveillance strategies for NCDHHS and be shared with academic partners of the NC WW Path for further development of predictive models and spatial applications for public health surveillance.
Methods for Concrete Crack SealantsNC Department of Transportation1254622022-08-012024-01-31AwardedMohammad Pour-GhazCracks are ubiquitous in concrete and reinforced concrete structures and are generally caused by the material volume instability (e.g., shrinkage), mechanical or environmental loading.
To mitigate the effects of cracks, they are commonly sealed using a sealant. A variety of sealants with different chemistry are commercially available; however, their relative performance against each other is largely unknown since field experience with some of them is limited. In addition, with the recent supply chain interruptions, there is a need for alternative sealants that can deliver satisfactory performance to avoid increased cost and delay of projects. The goal of the present proposal is to address these challenges. The objectives of the present study include: (i) Literature review and survey, (ii) Evaluation of NCDOT specification and (iii) Data synthesis and recommendations.

A product of this research will be an updated NCDOT specification for materials and methods of concrete crack sealant. We also envision that the product of this research will include a table (or Excel file) that provides a list of commercially available sealants with identifiers for appropriate type of application (horizontal, vertical, or overhead), their effectiveness for different crack width sealing, minimum cure time, best recommended use, their expected performance with respect to other products, and other relevant information that can help selecting the sealant.
Natural Hazards Vulnerability Assessment of the NCDOT Ferry Division AssetsNC Department of Transportation1978102022-08-012024-07-31AwardedDaniel Findley; Elizabeth SciaudoneThe North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Ferry Division has faced a number of environmental challenges in recent years, including Hurricane Dorian (2019) which caused extensive service disruptions as well as the need to use the ferry system to remove 9,000 truckloads of storm debris (totaling over 6,650 tons) from Ocracoke Island (Virginian-Pilot, 2020). Shoaling caused by inlet processes has also caused delays and interruptions and necessitated frequent dredging along the Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island route. Additionally, changes in channel depth and orientation have resulted in the Ferry Division having to re-direct ferry routes and implement structural stabilization measures.
Storms with extreme rainfall such as hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018) can cause extensive flooding and problems for facilities on the sound side shorelines. Sea level is currently rising and rates of rise are predicted to increase for the foreseeable future [IPCC 2021 projects sea level rise to 2100], which will amplify storm surge and wave impacts. There is a need to evaluate the vulnerability of the system’s facilities across the state, both now and as climate change progresses. This will enable the Division to plan for adaptation projects to ensure that the system operates successfully into the future.
As NCDOT plans for future transportation system resilience, there is a need for statewide assessment of current and future vulnerability of each of the transportation modes. The NCDOT Resilience Strategy Report (2021) describes NCDOT’s short-term strategies for resilience, including “address gaps in resilience planning and standards for ferry.” This is described as “assess ferry channels and conduct vulnerability and criticality assessments to address future impacts”. The proposed research will directly address this specific short-term strategy.
The aims and scope of the study will be (a) to assess the vulnerability of all of the Ferry Division’s infrastructure assets with respect to natural hazards (present and forecast to the 2040 and 2060 planning horizons); (b) to assess the condition of ferry channels at present as well as potential climate impacts (c) to prioritize assets for adaptation measures where needed; and (d) to provide recommendations on potential adaptation options as well as timeframes for implementation and ballpark cost estimates.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA's) Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Framework, 3rd Edition (FHWA-HEP-18-020), will serve to guide the proposed vulnerability assessment of ferry assets. This framework is designed to help transportation agencies and their partners to assess the vulnerability of transportation systems to extreme weather and climate effects. The five steps to conduct a vulnerability assessment include: 1) Set Objectives & Define Scope; 2) Compile Data; 3) Assess Vulnerability; 4) Analyze Adaptation Options and 5) Incorporate Results Into Decision-Making. These steps correspond to Tasks 3 through 7 in the proposed study. Tasks 1 and 8 are study project management tasks; the Kick-Off Meeting and Final Report and Deliverables, respectively. Task 2 is an expansion of the preliminary literature review that was conducted for the preparation of this proposal.
Harnessing (bio-)electrochemical Technologies as Sustainable Sources for on Demand Precision AgricultureGame-Changing Research Incentive Program for Plant Sciences (GRIP4PSI)6562502022-07-012023-06-30AwardedAmy Grunden; Chadi Sayde; Deepti Salvi; Douglas Call; Frank Louws; Garey Fox; John Mullahey; Jordan Kern; K. Sandeep; Katharina Stapelmann; Marcela Rojas-Pierce; Ricardo Hernandez; Robert Franks; Steven ShannonEnabling the next generation of sustainable farms requires a paradigm shift in resource management of the two most critical agricultural inputs for food production: water and nitrogen (N) - based fertilizer. Inefficient management of these resources increases food production costs, decreases productivity, and impacts the environment. An integrated approach is needed to improve the sustainability and efficiency throughout the production chain. Emerging (bio)electrochemical (BEC) technologies offer alternatives to conventional, fossil-fuel intensive N fertilizer production. Recently our team has demonstrated two game-changing BEC technologies: 1) microbial conversion of nitrogen gas into ammonium, and 2) plasma generation of N species (e.g., nitrate, nitrite) and other reactive species in water for fertilization and anti-pathogen benefits. We will integrate these technologies to produce BEC, N-based fertilizer, and with advanced sensor and delivery systems, we will precisely supply fertilizers for sustainable precision agriculture. Our proposed approach focuses on the development of a novel “BEC fertigation on demand system” by using sensor-driven data and molecular analyses to investigate BEC fertigation impact on the plants’ growth, adaptation, and microbiome; its impact on food safety and quality, and its economic feasibility for on-farm deployment.
Improving Predictions of Estuarine Flooding and Circulation during StormsNCSU Sea Grant Program1193702022-07-012022-09-30AwardedJoel DietrichThis project will address the problem of storm-driven circulation and flooding in estuaries. The research plan will have two components. First, the existing modeling system will be enhanced for the NC estuaries, and then numerical experiments will explore the sensitivities of estuarine flooding to the main drivers during storms. By varying systematically the atmospheric forcing, bottom friction, incoming river flows, and other parameters, we will improve our understanding of how storm surge is developed in these regions. Second, the modeling system will be extended to consider density-driven circulation and salinity transport, by leveraging earlier work for estuarine circulation in the northern Gulf. It is known that horizontal salinity transport during storms can devastate marine life and vegetation, but there is not currently a modeling system that can predict both transport and overland flooding. This project will combine those processes and explore questions about stratification during storms. This research will produce modeling technologies that will benefit coastal communities in NC, and we will share these technologies and findings with stakeholders.
North Carolina Wastewater Monitoring Network-Expansion ProjectUNC - UNC Chapel Hill1600002022-07-012023-06-30AwardedAngela Harris; Helena MitasovaNorth Carolina (NC) has launched the NC Wastewater Monitoring Network as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS). This system provides information on the presence and persistence of SARS-CoV-2-like viruses in wastewater systems as a metric of community COVID-19 prevalence. This approach provides a relatively low-cost way to measure both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 infections in a community-wide sample. Wastewater surveillance can demonstrate trends in COVID-19 prevalence, direct action to protect public health, and allay concerns about the burden of disease when SARS-CoV-2 concentrations are low. The NC Wastewater Monitoring Network builds on an existing collaboration between NCDHHS and the NC Wastewater Pathogen Research Network (NC WW PATH) led by Dr. Rachel Noble in collaboration with University of North Carolina (UNC) system researchers including those from North Carolina State University, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, and East Carolina University. NC WW PATH has developed laboratory methods for measuring the SARS- CoV-2 virus in samples from wastewater treatment plant influent wastewater and primary solids and completed weekly sampling at 20 wastewater treatment plants representative of urban, semi-urban, and rural wastewater sources across nine counties in 2020. NC WW PATH continues to compare wastewater and solids concentrations with data from NCDHHS and other community prevalence studies while applying epidemiological and geospatial tools to develop statewide interactive mapping to better inform public health decisions.
Projecting Flood Frequency Curves Under a Changing Climate Using Spatial Extreme Value AnalysisNational Science Foundation (NSF)820592022-06-012025-05-31AwardedBrian Reich; Emily Hector; Sankarasubraman ArumugamBudget reduced 23.94%, resulting in reduction of GRA effort and travel.

In response to the budget reduction, we propose the following reduction in scope: To limit the technical scope of the work, we will postpone the study of max-infinitely-divisible processes to future work outside this funded project. Focusing only on max-stable processes will allow us to complete the work on time with the reduced budget.
Development Of A Fast-open Source Model To Assess Heat Generation From Alternative Landfill Disposal StrategiesEnvironmental Research & Education Foundation1439192022-06-012024-05-31AwardedJoel Ducoste; Morton BarlazIn North America, temperatures nearing 100 ℃ have been reported in a few municipal solid waste landfills. Elevated temperature landfills (ETLFs) have unique characteristics and challenges including substantial changes in the composition and quantity of landfill gas (LFG) and leachate, rapid waste subsidence, and, in some cases, elevated liquid and gas pressures. In an effort to understand the key chemical and microbial processes that lead to heat accumulation, we developed a batch reactor model (BRM) which describes all sources of heat input, generation and loss in a typical Subtitle D landfill. While the BRM can generate temperature predictions in a matter of seconds, it cannot predict spatial variations in temperatures that would be essential in assessing disposal strategies that mitigate heat accumulation. Recently, we developed a transient 3-dimensional finite element model to incorporate spatially-dependent waste composition, heat generation and transfer processes, waste disposal strategy, landfill geometry and operating conditions to address the limitations of the BRM. Although this 3D model was effective in demonstrating the propagation of heat through a landfill, the model’s solution time is ~4 days on desktop computers using a licensed software (COMSOL) and it is impractical for use on portable devices. To facilitate the need for landfill owners to predict waste temperatures as a function of waste composition and operating strategies, a simplified 3D modeling tool is needed that can rapidly generate results on multiple computing devices. The objectives of the proposed research are to (1) develop an open source compartmental landfill reactor heat (CLRHeat) model to describe spatial heat generation, transfer and accumulation, (2) verify the CLRHeat model using field and/or 3D finite element model data, and (3) develop a graphical user interface (GUI) to simplify the required data to describe a landfill and ease of use of a 3D predictive tool.
Interdisciplinary Energy Data Analytics Ph.D. Fellows Program Phase II: Training the Next Generation of Energy Data ScholarsDuke University127562022-05-012023-04-30AwardedJeremiah JohnsonRevamping the electric grid to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has become an important international goal to avoid life-threatening environmental damage. The wide scale deployment of variable renewable energy technologies (VREs) offers a pathway to decarbonize the electric grid. The contribution of VRE to resource adequacy as a function of VRE penetration across several technologies is discussed using the effective load carrying capability (ELCC) method to calculate CC values for regions of the contiguous United States. As the deployment of VRE increases, we show that its marginal contribution to meeting peak load does not stay constant as assumed in the past by many resource planners in the energy industry. The correlations of plant outages due to events such as extreme temperature, drought, and fuel supply restrictions are also explored, thus yielding more realistic resource adequacy results that can cultivate more economical long-term resource planning for deep-decarbonization.
Comparative Assessment of Total Water Levels for Coastal Military Facility Readiness and Resilience Using Numerical ModelsUniversity of Delaware810892022-04-132026-04-12AwardedJoel DietrichThe overall project is a comparative assessment of total water levels for coastal military facility readiness and resilience using numerical models. NCSU will lead the development of models for storm waves and coastal flooding, both for direct predictions at the military facilities and for use as boundary conditions to nearshore models.
Studying the Fate of PFAS through Sewage Sludge IncineratorsHampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD)750002022-03-282023-06-30AwardedDetlef KnappeIncineration can destroy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but the conditions required for destruction are not known. This research aims to elucidate the fate of these compounds through sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs), and thereby provide utilities and decision makers with an indication regarding the extent SSIs can reduce PFAS discharges to the environment which is important for informing PFAS handling strategies.
Transferring Artificial Intelligence (AI) Model to CLEAR Program for enhanced Lessons Learned/Best Practice SelectionNC Department of Transportation572982022-03-152023-05-14AwardedArnav Jhala; Edward JaselskisThe North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) created a new knowledge repository called Communicate Lessons, Exchange Advice, Record (CLEAR) as an official platform to store and retrieve knowledge. We will transfer a construction domain language model to improve the search capabilities of CLEAR database. A construction language inference model has already been developed as a prototype that can make meaningful connections between lessons learned and best practices within the construction domain vocabulary. A proof of concept will be validated by project managers on a set of pre-selected projects by the NCDOT Value Management Office.
Towards Real-Time Fecal Indicator Bacteria Monitoring in Coastal WatersUS Army - Corps of Engineers2907832022-03-042025-03-04AwardedAngela Harris; Christopher Osburn; Natalie NelsonThe ability to continuously monitor fecal bacteria concentrations in nearshore waters through field sensing has the potential to transform the way in which bacteria-driven public health risks are anticipated, mitigated, and managed by allowing for near real-time detection and the creation of high-quality datasets from which forecast models can be developed. Advances in freshwater monitoring reveal that fecal contamination can be predicted using data collected via high-frequency water quality sondes, but additional research is needed to extend these frameworks to coastal waters. We propose to observe water quality conditions every 15 minutes in Bald Head Creek, North Carolina, a tributary of the Cape Fear River, using a multiparameter sonde (YSI EXO2). The sonde will include sensors to monitor conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, total algae (phycocyanin, phycoerythrin, and chlorophyll), fluorescent dissolved organic matter, tryptophan-like fluorescence, and water depth. In addition to observing water quality variables, we will analyze creek water samples for fecal indicator bacteria, antibiotic resistant bacteria, amino acids, and particulate and dissolved organic carbon isotopic signatures across four intensive field campaigns. Data collected via this project will be used to develop an innovative observation and machine learning modeling framework for predicting fecal contamination at high frequencies. Insights gained through the project will be shared with local and federal partners (e.g., Village of Bald Head Island, NC Coastal Federation, FDA Division of Seafood Science).
Comparison of Field Measurements to Methane Emissions Models at Municipal Solid Waste LandfillsEnvironmental Research & Education Foundation460002022-03-012023-03-01AwardedFlorentino Delacruz; Morton BarlazLandfills are the dominant disposal alternative for municipal solid waste (MSW) in the U.S. It is estimated that about 50% of the 292 million tons of MSW generated in the U.S. were landfilled in 2018. Decomposition of organic matter in landfill generates CH4 and CO2 in a series of biochemical reactions. Methane represents a source of energy and when recovered, methane can offset the use of non-renewable fossil fuels. While landfills represent an energy source, they also represent a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as some methane is released prior to gas collection system installation, and some methane is not captured due to imperfect gas collection. In 2018, U.S. landfills were estimated to emit 180 Tg (million metric tons) CO2 equivalents (CO2e), making landfills rank as the third and fourth largest sources of anthropogenic methane in the U.S. and globally, respectively. We expect that there will be additional scrutiny of landfill methane emissions in the next few years as a result of increased emphasis on the control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given the cost and effort required to make direct measurements, it is likely that state and federal regulators and policymakers will depend on models. It is thus essential for the waste industry to have a good understanding of the relationship between actual measurements and the predictive models that are currently used. The overall objective of the proposed research is to quantitatively evaluate the relationship between measured and modeled methane emissions for at least 4 landfills. In the proposed work, we will extend the 2016 analysis from one young (<3 years old) landfill without gas collection to a set of at least 4 landfills that are more typical (i.e., waste of varying ages and gas collection installed).
Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) Graduate Fellowship (Adam Schmidt)Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)315002022-02-182022-08-31AwardedEleni BardakaThe Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP) provides funding for students to pursue advanced degrees in transportation-related disciplines. The program objectives are to: 1) attract the nation's brightest minds to the field of transportation, 2) enhance the careers of
transportation professionals by encouraging them to seek advanced degrees, and 3) retain top talent in the transportation industry of the United States. The DDETFP is intended to enhance the breadth and scope of knowledge of the entire transportation community in the United States. The DDETFP encompasses all modes of transportation. The purpose of this Grant Agreement (“Agreement”) is to prepare the DDETFP Fellow (“Student Designee”) for a career in transportation.
Identifying the Drivers of Chronic Coastal Flooding: A Community-centric ApproachNCSU Sea Grant Program595512022-02-012024-01-31AwardedJoel Dietrich; Katherine AnardeThis project will address the problem of recurrent, shallow flooding in low-lying coastal communities. As local sea-level rise (SLR), land subsidence, and heavy rainfall events increase, so does the frequency of flooding in low-lying coastal areas. The tidal cycle now takes place on higher average sea levels, resulting in “sunny-day” flooding of roadways during high tides. Sea water also infiltrates stormwater drainage systems at low tidal levels, such that ordinary rainstorms lead to flooding. While these minor floods draw less attention than catastrophic storms, their high frequency imposes a chronic stress on coastal communities and economies by disrupting critical infrastructure services. The proposed work integrates outreach and research activities over the two-year project period to improve our prediction and communication of chronic flood hazards. First, we will couple an existing high-resolution hydrodynamic model used for prediction of estuarine flooding in the region (SWAN+ADCIRC) with a stormwater management model (SWMM5) to hindcast and identify the drivers of unexpected flood events in Carolina Beach, a community plagued by chronic flooding. In parallel, we will co-develop potential flood-mitigation actions with Carolina Beach’s Flood Working Group to inform future work using the coupled model framework. Second, we will deploy a real-time flood sensor network (in development by PIs Anarde, Hino, and Gold) in Carolina Beach to fill data gaps on the incidence and causes of chronic flooding. These data will inform an early-warning system, designed with local officials and community members, for real-time communication of flood hazard.
Air and Water Quality Impacts of TiO2 Coated AsphaltTown of Cary1590732022-02-012024-12-31AwardedAndrew Grieshop; Tarek AzizThe manufacturers of an asphalt rejuvenator product including titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles for use on road pavements claims the product decreases the net NOx released to the atmosphere from vehicle emissions through an on-road photocatalytic reaction and mitigates the urban heat island (UHI) effect by reflecting solar radiation. The Town of Cary is interested in the potential beneficial aspect of this treatment but would like to explore: (a) the effectiveness of the treatment in reducing NOx emissions,(b) the potential impacts the treatment may have on stormwater runoff from treated pavements, and (c) the potential impacts on ambient air temperature from treated pavements. To address these concerns, we will conduct field research over a year and a half to address the following research questions: 1) Does TiO2 coating of secondary asphalt roads impact near-road NOx concentrations and net emissions from vehicles? 2) Do reactions of NOx from emissions have an appreciable impact on runoff water quality? 3) How does treatment effectiveness vary with environmental conditions (e.g. solar radiation, temperature, humidity) and over time (with repeated measurements)? 4) How does the treatment influence near-road ambient air temperature?
Center for Environmental and Health Effects of PFASNational Institutes of Health (NIH)54278842022-02-012025-01-31AwardedAllison Dickey; Antonio Planchart; Carolyn Mattingly; Christopher Smith; David Buchwalter; David Muddiman; David Reif; Denis Fourches; Detlef Knappe; Elizabeth Scholl; Emily Griffith; Erin Baker; Jane Hoppin; Jeffrey Yoder; Katlyn May; Lisa Wilkinson; Morton Barlaz; Nadine Kotlarz; Robert Smart; Sanmugavadivel Ranjithan; Scott Belcher; Seth KullmanPer- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging as a major public health problem in North Carolina and across the United States. PFAS comprise a class of over 5,000 compounds. Their unique chemical properties have been harnessed to make consumer and industrial products more water, stain, and grease resistant; they are found in products as diverse as cosmetics and flame-retardants. PFAS are resistant to degradation, move easily through the environment, and accumulate in living organisms. Exposure to PFAS has been associated with
health effects including cancer and toxicity to the liver, reproductive development, and thyroid and immune systems. Despite widespread detection in the environment and evidence of increasing human exposure, understanding about PFAS toxicity, its bioaccumulative potential in dietary sources such as aquatic organisms, and effective remediation remain notably understudied.

The recent discovery by this proposed Center’s Deputy Director, Dr. Detlef Knappe, of widespread PFAS contamination in the Cape Fear River watershed in NC underscores that these compounds are in need of immediate investigation.. The goal of our Center is to advance understanding about the environmental and health impacts of PFAS. To meet this goal we are employing a highly trans-disciplinary approach that will integrate leaders in diverse fields (epidemiology, environmental science and engineering, biology, toxicology, immunology, data science, and advanced analytics); all levels of biological organization (biomolecule, pathway, cell, tissue, organ, model organism, human, and human population); state-of-the-art analytical technologies; cutting-edge data science approaches; a recognized track record in interdisciplinary, environmental health science (EHS) training; and well-established partnerships with government and community stakeholders.
Mechanistic-Based Evaluation of Performance Thresholds for Engineered Surface Asphalt MixturesVirginia Transportation Research Council2573012022-02-012024-06-29AwardedBenjamin UnderwoodIn 2018, an initial effort was undertaken by Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) to provide benchmark indications of performance for a number of “typical / everyday” asphalt surface mixtures produced and sampled in 2015 in anticipation of this new approach. Three fast, simple, practical, but empirical performance tests addressing different modes of distresses were selected for use as part of the BMD method. The selected tests were Cantabro test, the Indirect Tensile cracking test (IDT-CT), and the Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA) rut test for assessing durability, cracking and rutting potentials of asphalt mixtures, respectively.
VDOT has been so far extensively building upon its BMD initiative based on Approach I, the empirical tests (for rutting and cracking) and associated thresholds have never been verified through the use of Approach II. This study would provide an opportunity to:
• Establish links between laboratory performance-related asphalt mixtures empirical and fundamental properties (on one hand) and M-E structural pavement design (on the other hand). This is a vital step to a practical integration of mixture design and structural design.
• Verify (or refine) the performance thresholds on the basis of mechanistic approach, rather than empirical approach.
• Establish and verify initial traffic-based performance thresholds for the empirical tests tied /correlated to the fundamental tests and mechanistic analyses.
In order to fulfill the objectives of this research study, the following six primary tasks are proposed. First, the existing literature on similar efforts by other state agencies will be summarized and reported. Then, the research team will conduct a laboratory experimental program with three major parts: material selection (18 different mixtures), performance testing on reheated mixtures, and performance testing on extracted and recovered binder. NCSU researchers will assist in all three tasks, but take the primary lead in the performance testing on asphalt mixtures and binders. Third, the laboratory measured engineering and performance properties will be coupled in a full mechanistic analysis framework. This is a vital step to quantify and effectively evaluate the impact of using BMD asphalt surface mixture on the overall performance of pavements. This will include the use of AASHTOWare® Pavement ME and FlexPaveTM. The mechanistic-based simulations will be executed using real existing and most commonly encountered pavement structures in Virginia (referred to herein as pseud-hypothetical pavement structures). NCSU researchers will lead the analysis of this task and carry out the requisite simulations. Fourth, links and correlations between BMD and mechanistic-based fundamental tests. In Task 5, NCSU researchers will VDOT personnel at the VTRC (or other approved site in Virginia) to perform AASHTO TP 132 (dynamic modulus), AASHTO TP 133 (cyclic fatigue) and AASHTO TP 134 (stress sweep rutting). In Task 6, a final report will be developed. VTRC personnel will lead this effort, but NCSU researchers will support the task.
Rapid Post-Earthquake Displacement-Based Assessment Methodology for BridgesState of Alaska, Department of Transportation2912292022-01-102025-06-30AwardedAshly Cabas Mijares; Mervyn KowalskyThis proposal aims to develop a rapid seismic bridge assessment method that can be used for planning (via scenarios), and for post-earthquake assessment (inspection prioritization). Unlike existing methods which are largely probabilistic, and focused on high level assessment, the proposed methodology is sufficiently versatile that it can provide a range of information, spanning from deterministic bridge specific performance, to broader assessments of bridge vulnerability. The procedure relies upon the Direct Displacement-Based Design approach as the analysis engine, and has three components: (1) Bridge metadata; (2) Bridge limit state parameters; and (3) Seismic Hazard characterization. Given any 2 of the above, the third may be determined. While the approach will function with very course data (i.e. basic metadata such as span lengths, column diameter, and height; basic limit state parameters, such as limit state displacement; and course hazard definition (such as a 3 point code-based spectra), with more detailed information, the fidelity of the outcome increases significantly.
The work described in this proposal will define limit state parameters for Alaska bridges and characterize the seismic hazard. The framework for the rapid assessment approach will also be developed and applied to a series of bridges. The final outcome will be detailed plans for development of a rapid assessment application which would be developed in a future phase of the research.

Multi-Decadal Decarbonization Pathways for U.S. Freight RailUS Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)15300002022-01-072023-07-06AwardedEleni Bardaka; George List; Jeremiah Johnson; Joseph DeCarolisWe will develop a full roll-out model, based on validated planning and simulation tools, that is able to model the deployment of a wide range of propulsion and energy storage technologies in the Class 1 Rail Freight sector and that determines associated lifecycle GHG emissions and levelized cost of Mt-km (LCOTKM) values over various time scales (e.g., 10, 20, 30 years). Our work will include: (1) microscale train simulation; (2) network train simulation; (3) identification and characterization of infrastructure requirements; (4) identification and characterization of decarbonized energy pathways; (5) probabilistic cost modeling; (6) freight demand scenarios; (7) technology transfer and outreach; and (8) integrated assessment. The latter will include case studies based on application of the developed, detailed case studies of specific lines, settings, and situations, with extrapolations to the whole network, inclusive of coupling with infrastructure, decarbonized energy pathways, demand scenarios, and cost. We will appoint an advisory board to facilitate technology transfer and outreach.
Condition Dependent Performance-Based Seismic Design – Phase 1State of Alaska, Department of Transportation1754492022-01-052025-06-30AwardedMervyn Kowalsky; Mohammad Pour-GhazThis proposal addresses the impact of bridge condition on behavior within the context of performance-based seismic design. Bridge engineers design structures assuming that their properties on day one remain constant throughout the life of the bridge. However, due to material degradation and lifetime transient loadings (including those from small earthquakes), the response of a structure to an extreme event such as an earthquake at some point in the future may be different from what the engineer calculates during the design phase. The research described in this proposal will assess the sensitivity of condition-dependent bridge response to inputs described below. There are five components to this research question. The interactions between these components are shown in Fig. 1 and described further to set the stage for the research that will be conducted in this multi-phase program.
Evaluation of Tampa Bay Water’s Water Supply System Under Different Changing Hydroclimatic and Demand ScenariosTampa Bay Water799992022-01-012023-06-30AwardedSankarasubraman ArumugamThe objective of this project is to a) develop streamflow scenarios based on the precipitation and temperature scenarios under stationary conditions as well as under changing precipitation and temperature scenarios; b) run those scenarios with the rainfall-runoff model from TBW and develop streamflow scenarios for the considered precip and temp scenarios; c) use the current synthetic climate generation model and develop streamflow generation scenarios for stationary and potentially changing conditions and d) run the TBW system with the above streamflow generation scenarios (from (b) and (c)) along with current and potential demand scenarios to assess the system performance.
Public Microtransit Pilots in the State of North Carolina: Benefits, Costs, and Lessons LearnedNC Department of Transportation828082022-01-012022-11-30AwardedEleni Bardaka; Karl MonastThe objective of this research aims to help NCDOT and other public agencies in NC gain an improved understanding of public microtransit (benefits, costs, equity assessment, implementation challenges) and, through dissemination of results and lessons learned, help other regions in NC to explore this public transportation solution for suburban and rural areas. The project will address the following research questions: (1) How much does it cost to meet the unmet transit need using microtransit and how does this cost differ by population density, rural/urban geography, and other factors? (2) What are the overall benefits and costs of this new service that are important for policy decisions? (3) How are special populations impacted by microtransit and the potential, concurrent changes in fixed route transit due to the addition of microtransit? (4) Are microtransit users satisfied with the quality of the service offered and how does microtransit service compare to the experience of solo driving? (5) Is microtransit practical and efficient for low-density areas? What is the minimum density requirement?
Anaerobic Decomposition of Cotton Fabric Under Simulated Landfill ConditionsCotton, Inc.2458742022-01-012022-12-31AwardedFlorentino Delacruz; Morton BarlazThe objectives of the proposed study are to (1) evaluate the rate and extent of anaerobic decomposition of four types of cotton fabric under simulated landfill conditions and (2) compare the decomposition behavior of cotton fiber with a synthetic polyester. Four types of cotton will be tested including a bleached cotton fabric, dyed cotton, and cotton fabric with softener and durable press finishes. In addition, a synthetic fabric polyester will be tested.
Does the Disposal of PFAS-containing Special Wastes Impact Leachate PFAS Concentrations?Environmental Research & Education Foundation2619922022-01-012023-12-31AwardedMorton BarlazThe presence of PFAS in landfill leachate is well established and expected given the wide array of consumer products in which PFAS has been used. In addition to municipal solid waste (MSW), Subtitle D landfills receive a range of other non-hazardous solid wastes including, for example, biosolids, auto shredder residue (ASR), PFAS contaminated soil, industrial sludges, and solidified RO concentrate and spent activated carbon from treating PFAS-containing water. The presence of PFAS in municipal wastewater and therefore biosolids is well-established and recently, we detected PFAS in ASR. Despite some understanding of PFAS sources, questions remain: (1) What might a landfill owner do to reduce or minimize the presence of PFAS in leachate? (2) Does the acceptance of PFAS-containing special wastes impact leachate PFAS concentrations given that MSW has been shown to release PFAS to leachate?
Digital Engineering Solutions in Construction Engineering and Integration with Structural Design and Risk Assessment - CNEFS Core ProjectNCSU Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS)1057732022-01-012022-12-31AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Kook Han; SARAN BODDAThere have been and will continue to be rapid advances in 3D scanning and augmented/virtual reality technologies to improve construction costs and schedules, especially in the nuclear energy industry that has suffered from construction cost escalation and delays. A key challenge faced in the implementation of these modern technologies relates to changes needed in the regulatory practice and approvals. It is vital for regulatory agencies like USNRC to understand the fundamental basis of these technologies and characterize the accuracy and consistency in them. This project is aimed at conducting the research needed to support this effort which would eventually be needed in the near future. More specifically, it is proposed to: (i) characterize technical specifications and the associated parameters that govern the accuracy of virtual inspections, and (ii) identify items at a construction or manufacturing site that are conducive to virtual inspections and the items that are not.
Coastal Plain Amplification and Hazard Model for the National Seismic Hazard Maps: Collaborative Research with University of Memphis and Merrimack CollegeUS Geological Survey (USGS)715232022-01-012022-12-31AwardedAshly Cabas MijaresPrevious research on earthquake ground motions along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains show significant frequency-dependent deviations in site response relative to other areas in the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS). For instance, amplitudes and durations of ground motions are shown to be strongly correlated with sediment thickness. Even though regional site response models are available for the region, the ones that account for sediment thickness only capture linear amplifications and fail to constrain the uncertainty in velocity models. This project addresses this gap by incorporating nonlinear soil behavior at a regional scale and fully incorporating it into a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis. This work will have a significant impact on the next National Seismic Hazard Maps.
Membership in Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS), Full MemberKorea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP)3000002022-01-012024-12-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaFull Membership
Membership in the Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS), Full MemberKorea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)2500002022-01-012024-12-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaFull Membership - CNEFS

The Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities & Structures, has been established and is administered by North Carolina State University to conduct research in the areas of structural engineering, mechanics, risk assessment, hazard mitigation, and construction engineering and to promote research, education, and training in the Research Area. The CENTER has developed core research, non-core research, and technology transfer activities.
Probabilistic and AI/ML Approaches in Structural Engineering, CNEFS Core ProjectNCSU Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS)1029252022-01-012022-12-31AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Xu WuOver the past decade, the use of artificial intelligence techniques in the field of health-monitoring has gained significant interest, especially for structures such as building and bridges. This project proposes development of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) framework for the data-driven condition monitoring of nuclear structural systems and equipment, where the vibration response is governed by multiple localized modes unlike that in buildings and bridges. Hence, techniques such as signal processing and pattern recognition will be employed to extract degradation-sensitive features. Degraded locations can potentially exhibit damage such as localized yielding, cyclic fatigue, or initiation of cracking. Moreover, such locations can at times go undetected by current inspection techniques. Therefore, this research proposes a framework, which utilizes sensor response to generate an AI database for predicting degraded locations and severity in nuclear structural systems and equipment. Degradation severity will be classified as minor, moderate, and severe, along with incorporation of uncertainty.
Groundwater Model Review and Technical SupportNC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)1141442022-01-012023-06-30AwardedGnanamanikam MahinthakumarThe Department, in conjunction with Dr. Kumar Mahinthakumar acting in the capacity of a modeling advisor, will conduct a review of six groundwater flow and transport (F-T) models that are being developed by Dr. Falta at Clemson University to help select basin-closure options and evaluate groundwater remediation alternatives.
The Division of Water Resources (DWR) will lead a small review team (probably two representatives from DWR and a representative from the Division of Waste Management [DWM]) that will: 1) work with Dr. Mahinthakumar to review the models, 2) request information from Dr. Falta as/if needed, and 3) make recommendations to the Department regarding the quality of the models for their intended use. Both Dr. Mahinthakumar and the Department’s review team will have the capability to run the models and conduct sensitivity analyses. After initial discussions associated with each model, the groundwater model advisor will provide the Department/review team with a technical memorandum for that model.

Assistance may be requested from Dr. Falta to initiate model runs so that the Department’s time is spent on the review process itself rather than dealing with software.
Phase II: Development of a Fit-for-Purpose Handbook for the Upstream, Midstream, and Mining (UMM) SectorConstruction Industry Institute149582021-12-312022-12-31AwardedAlex Albert; Edward JaselskisPhase II continues the development of the fit-for-purpose handbook that can assist owners and contractors with improving the predictability of project outcomes by establishing a project delivery approach that is specifically tailored for upstream, midstream, and mining (UMM) projects and expand the utilization of CII tools. It may be that our product can be applied more universally applied to other CII sectors as well. This phase will continue refining the complexity categories and attributes identified in Phase I. It will also investigate various ways to provide relevant CII best practices and tools to the end users (the “golden nuggets”) and will leverage, to the extent possible, the efforts of RT-392 (Concierge research team) to identify relevant tools. The goal of Phase II is to focus on the complexity model product for more mature PMOs by finalizing the complexity criteria along with their definitions, and pilot testing various concepts for developing the “golden nuggets”. The pilot tests may involve developing a standard template for capturing the key information, leveraging the expertise of the CBAs, and using academics and/or consultants to assist with the summarization process. Furthermore, we plan to work closely with CII in developing the best information technology platform for hosting this information.
EAGER: AI-driven Probabilistic Technique, Quantile Regression Based Artificial Neural Network Model, for Bias Correction and Downscaling of CMIP6 ProjectionsNational Science Foundation (NSF)2995432021-12-152023-11-30AwardedBrian Reich; Sankarasubraman ArumugamRecently released the Sixth assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights the role of humans in warming the climate and also attribute it to the increase in the frequency of occurrence of hydroclimatic extremes. To obtain these future projections of hydroclimatic extremes, Global Climate Models (GCMs), with coarser resolutions, are typically used to develop climate projections until the end of the century. Due to continually increasing computational power, spatial resolution of GCM projections have improved a lot (around 1ï‚°), but still they are inadequate for watershed-scale (e.g., HUC8) applications. Further, historical projections of GCMs inherently have bias with observed climate. Hence, they have been bias-corrected and statistically downscaled (BCSD) and such products are available for the past CMIP runs. Existing BCSD methods (e.g., asynchronous regression) have been shown not to preserve the spatio-temporal dependency across variables due to the high dimensionality in the data. But, Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques are highly equipped to handle high dimensional data and can preserve spatio-temporal dependency across the variables. Hence, we propose an innovative, high risk and high reward, AI-based probabilistic approach that uses Quantile Regression based Artificial Neural Network (ANN) (QR-AI) model for BCSD CMIP6 projections. The main objective of this EAGER proposal is to develop a BCSD methodology using QR-AI and apply them for recently issued CMIP6 projections to facilitate the rapid uptake of the AI methodology and BCSD products. Specifically, we will develop three BCSD data products of CMIP6 projections over the CONUS: 1) Historical simulations (1950-2014) of precipitation and temperature of GCMs; 2) Near-term (30 year) hindcasts of precipitation and temperature from relevant GCMs and 3) Near-term (30 year) projections of precipitation and temperature for four different Shared Socioeconomic Pathways.
Life-Cycle Assessment of the EKAMOR Refuse-Derived-Fuel SystemEKAMOR, Inc.500002021-12-012022-08-31AwardedJames LevisThe objective of the proposed work is to develop a comprehensive life-cycle assessment (LCA) of the EKAMOR refuse-derived fuel (RDF) system. To complete this objective, we will develop and/or adapt existing life-cycle process models for waste collection, separation, material recycling, reject disposal, RDF production, and avoided landfill emissions. The avoided landfill emissions will be estimated for both a site-specific landfill without gas collection and for a typical US municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill that includes gas collection and electricity generation from the collected gas.
ETIPP Island and Remote Community Stakeholder Engagement Regional Project PartnersUNC - East Carolina University1109202021-11-192023-11-18AwardedGeorge Bonner IVBonner will lead project management in conjunction with Co-PI Linda D’Anna; serve as primary point of contact for coordination of CSI’s role with NREL; lead CSI team in Community Selection and application review; lead development of regionally specific training material; lead technical assistance workplan development for Community Stakeholder Engagement; attend in person and virtual training sessions; participate in network meeting and provide lessons learned and feedback on program to NREL as part of Knowledge Sharing Network.
BMD+ and PEM+ Advances Mixture Performance Comparison and Next Generation Pavement DesignApplied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA)7164442021-11-112023-05-29AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Youngsoo KimThe Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has fully supported Quality Assurance (QA) and advancing components of QA for many years. One of those components is Performance-Related Specifications (PRS). As the PRS efforts have advanced additional needs have been identified in order to complete an further advance the research further. This project will serve to further develop, improve, and validate the developed relationships for the PRS. A number of tasks will be completed in order to meet the following specific objectives:

• Development of Level 1 Performance Engineered Mix Design (PEMD) method and threshold values for Level 2 PEMD index parameters
• Performance testing for transfer functions to support PEMD for PRS
• Comparison of Balance Mix Design (BMD) and PEMD testing for PRS
• Advance in a collaborative approach for FLEXPave™ PRS models utilizing existing calibrations for AASHTOware Pavement ME™.
• PRS training and shadow projects.
• Coordination with existing PRS research for the development of a comprehensive written marketing plan.
• Interim stakeholders PRS Status Meeting.
• Under this task, the team shall create a system of tools including guidelines and sample specifications for agencies to transition from the traditional QA standard specifications to standard PRS.
Impact of Response Spectra Definitions and Direct Displacement-Based Design Simplification for Multi-Span BridgesState of Alaska, Department of Transportation2256312021-10-212025-06-30AwardedMervyn KowalskyThis proposal addresses the impact of response spectra definitions on the design of multi-span bridges by conducting computational research to develop recommendations for hazard levels that are founded on non-linear bi-directional dynamic analysis. The research proposal also aims to develop simplifications to the direct displacement-based design approach for multi-span bridges that will facilitate implementation into bridge design practice.
This will be accomplished by designing a series of bridge configurations to multiple hazard definitions. The resulting designs are then subjected to bi-directional non-linear dynamic analysis to assess the range of possible deformation demands that are then correlated to the assumptions made in selection of the seismic hazard for each design. By considering the instances that result in deformation demands exceeding the target for each hazard definitions across all rotation angles, it will be possible to select a seismic hazard definition that provides a known probability of exceedance for the design limit state.
The data generated from the computational models will also facilitate simplifications to the direct displacement based design approach. The simplifications aim to reduce the effort to define the equivalent viscous damping, target displaced shape (and corresponding system displacement), and strength allocation to abutments vs. columns.
SCC-PG: Empathy and AI: Towards Equitable MicrotransitNational Science Foundation (NSF)1500002021-10-012023-09-30AwardedChristopher Mayhorn; Crystal Chen; Eleni Bardaka; Leila Hajibabai Dizaji; Munindar SinghThe overarching goal of the proposed research is to identify, test, and evaluate technologically enabled and community-supported solutions for temporally distributing travel demand for on-demand public transportation services in an equitable manner, without the use of traditional pricing incentives. We are specifically interested in understanding whether enabling and incentivizing prosocial behavior, such as volunteering to shift one’s trip time to accommodate others, share a ride, and cooperate with other users to improve outcomes for the user community or to prioritize a transportation disadvantaged user, is a potential solution that is feasible and desirable for communities. If our preliminary analysis during the proposed planning grant (PG) supports the case of cooperative adaptive ride planning, we will investigate how prosocial behavior can be enabled in a trip scheduling environment and be facilitated through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and we will test and evaluate the efficacy of this approach in improving service during an integrative research grant (IRG). No previous research has explored empathy and prosocial behavior in the context of traveler choices and decision-making.
AI-Enabled Hyperspectral Imaging Augmented with Multi-Sensory Information for Rapid/Real-time Analysis of Non-Recyclable Heterogeneous MSW for Conversion to EnergyUS Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)10015312021-10-012024-12-31AwardedHasan Jameel; James Levis; Lokendra Pal; Lucian Lucia; Morton Barlaz; Richard VendittiThis project will focus on rapid/real-time analysis of domestic heterogeneous municipal biomass waste utilizing AI-Enabled Hyperspectral Imaging for developing conversion ready feedstock into cost effective and sustainable biofuel for selling price under $2.50 per gallon gasoline equivalent (GGE) by 2030. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is considered as an abundant potential source for biomass. This biomass, if used as a feedstock for fuel conversion operation will promote the sustainable fuel production and lower the prices. The heterogeneity of the MSW based on locations and time period can affect the biofuels or bioproducts. Therefore, the characterization of the MSW feedstock at macro and microlevel in terms of chemical and physical composition, at different speeds of conveyor system, at different times and collection sites will be studied.
Collaborative Research: FMitF: Track-1: Correctness at Both Ends: Rigorous ML Meets Efficient Sparse ImplementationsNational Science Foundation (NSF)3000002021-10-012024-09-30AwardedJohn BaughIt takes a delicate balancing act plus a significant amount of new research to develop advanced machine learning based systems that are correct at the user level (e.g., fair treatment of the images they classify) and run reliably and efficiently on modern hardware (consume less energy and do not contain software defects). The dependency chain is a balancing act between what exists and what will be researched and developed in this project.

First, higher level correctness often calls for advanced network structures such as transformers. There is significant amount of ongoing research one can draw upon.

Second, such network structures cannot be implemented as such, and must be suitably sparsified (or compressed to remove unimportant weights). This is because all fully trained "original" networks are, by nature, overparameterized (finding the minima of loss functions is ideally done a higher dimensional space with more weights). Keeping the redundant weights exacerbates FLOP as well as memory requirements, and therefore one must discard unimportant weights before deployment. There are many excellent compression systems—including our own system—one can use or extend.

Third, pruning merely to achieve metrics such as top-1% classification accuracy are insufficiently incisive to guarantee semantic goals (e.g., fairness). New research is needed to prune in such a way that higher level semantic goals are also met.

Fourth, when sparsified in interesting ways, networks exhibit sparsity patterns that are completely data driven. One cannot find these sparse structures in existing libraries or in familiar forms such as compressed sparse row (CSR), coordinate list (COO), or ELLPACK (ELL) formats. Therefore, new research is needed in mapping these "data driven" sparsity patterns efficiently onto state-of-the-art-and fast-moving software/hardware combinations.

Fifth, the sparsity patterns desired (or demanded) by top-down analysis very often does not meet what can be efficiently realized in software/hardware. Finding these efficient patterns is something for which significant expertise is needed. We find that recommendations coming from "bottom-up" analysis are often accepted without question, as ML experts working at higher levels do not have the wherewithal to deviate.

So finally, there must be mechanisms to formally describe these patterns either with the view of mapping them onto the best available patterns to available or to provide the starting specifications for correctly and efficiently realizing these patterns (say in custom CUDA code or hardware). By ensuring that the top-down-desired and the bottom-up-provided "meet in the middle," the proposed research will enable the development of advanced machine learning based systems that are correct at the user level and run reliably and efficiently on modern hardware.
Water Distribution Systems Management Under COVID-XUS-Israel Binational Science Foundation699242021-10-012025-09-30AwardedEmily BerglundRecent research has shown that water demands have significantly changed during the pandemic. New patterns are emerging both in diurnal patterns and in the volume of demands exerted at residential vs. non-residential nodes, and these changes can affect the operation and management of water infrastructure. Changes in water demands are caused by social distancing that individuals adopt in response to the pandemic, as community members make decisions to comply with shelter-in-place orders or choose to self-quarantine. Decisions about social distancing are driven by perceptions of risk and assessment of coping capacity, based on the Protection-Motivation Theory. In this research, we propose to develop a coupled agent-based model and hydraulic framework to capture how the interactions among individuals lead to community compliance with shelter-in-place orders, changes in water demands, and impacts on water infrastructure performance. The agent-based model will simulate households as individual entities with rules encoded to represent that households share and receive information through social networks; assess risk and appraise coping strategies; make decisions about working remotely and visiting places of business; and use water based on their decisions to comply with shelter-in-place orders. The agent-based model will be coupled with hydraulic simulation of the water infrastructure to evaluate changes in hydraulic performance and explore needed changes in operations. The agent-based model that is developed through this research will simulate how the spread of information affects compliance with social distancing directives and the pattern and location of water demands. Changes in daily patterns of behaviour translate to changes in consumption of infrastructure services and natural resources, which has broad applications for management of infrastructure systems, including water distribution systems.
STC: Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) CenterNational Science Foundation (NSF)100291462021-10-012026-09-30AwardedAshleigh Wright; Aziz Amoozegar; Christopher Gorman; Cranos Williams; Daniel Obenour; Dean Hesterberg; Detlef Knappe; Douglas Call; Jacob Jones; James Levis; Jan Genzer; John Classen; Jordan Kern; Justin Baker; Khara Grieger; Luciano Colpo Gatiboni; Maude Cuchiara; Melissa Jones; Natalie Nelson; Owen Duckworth; Rada Chirkova; Ranga Vatsavai; Rosangela Sozzani ; Ruben Rellan Alvarez; Wei Gao; Yaroslava Yingling; Yuan YaoThe Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research hub for addressing the fundamental challenges associated with phosphorus sustainability. The vision of STEPS is to develop new scientific and technological solutions to regulating, recovering and reusing phosphorus that can readily be adopted by society through fundamental research conducted by a broad, highly interdisciplinary team. Key outcomes include new atomic-level knowledge of phosphorus interactions with engineered and natural materials, new understanding of phosphorus mobility at industrial, farm, and landscape scales, and prioritization of best management practices and strategies drawn from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Ultimately, STEPS will provide new scientific understanding, enabling new technologies, and transformative improvements in phosphorus sustainability.
A Practical Method to Determine Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Binder AvailabilityNational Academy of Sciences1349952021-10-012023-03-31AwardedCassandra CastorenaThis project will explore an innovative method to determine Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) binder availability. RAP binder availability refers to the percentage of total RAP binder that is released and available to blend with virgin asphalt during asphalt mixture production. Research has shown that the primary source of unavailable recycled binder is agglomerations of adhered RAP particles. The binder bound within the agglomerations is prohibited from coming contacting and therefore, blending with virgin asphalt. The proposed innovation determines the extent of RAP agglomeration and, in turn, RAP binder availability by comparing the gradation of recovered RAP aggregates to that of the RAP itself. Quantifying the inactive recycled binder content of RAP sources using the proposed innovation offers a means to discredit unavailable recycled binder within design practices. It is expected that discrediting unavailable recycled binder will improve the design and performance of high RAP content mixtures, consequently increasing pavement service life and reducing life cycle costs. The research products may also enable the design of satisfactory asphalt mixtures with higher RAP contents, resulting in environmental and cost benefits. Preliminary results of the proposed innovation are promising. This project will rigorously optimize the innovation, evaluate the performance implications of discrediting inactive recycled binder within design procedures, and develop a provisional AASHTO standard procedure.
An Open Source, Parallel, and Distributed Web-Based Probabilistic Risk Assessment Platform to Support Real Time Nuclear Power Plant Risk-Informed Operational DecisionsUS Dept. of Energy (DOE)8463372021-10-012024-09-30AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Mihai DiaconeasaThe main objective of the proposed work is to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate a probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) software platform needed to address the major challenges of the current legacy PRA tools, such as better quantification speed, integration of multi-hazard models into traditional PRAs, and model modification simplification and documentation automation. To achieve the main objective, we will first perform benchmarking and profiling of current PRA tools, such as SCRAM and SAPHIRE, to investigate the current bottlenecks in the quantification speed and memory requirements. Secondly, we will design, implement, and benchmark a PRA software platform based on a web-based stack using the latest technologies available to overcome the mentioned challenges. Finally, we will evaluate the performance gains of this framework by modeling and quantifying large PRA models that would have been too expensive to run using the legacy PRA tools.
SCC: Serving Households in AReas with food Insecurity with a Network for Good: SHARINGNational Science Foundation (NSF)20180002021-10-012025-09-30AwardedAli Hajbabaie; Julie Ivy; Leila Hajibabai Dizaji; Munindar SinghHow can we create “community food security”? This project aims to develop a community-based socially intelligent nonprofit food rescue and distribution infrastructure to fairly serve vulnerable communities experiencing food insecurity. This infrastructure will have a loop mechanism that continuously learns consumer preferences and provides feedback to upstream stages of the supply chain and also learns about the food availability at the local food sources and feeds that information to the downstream stages. The main objective of this research is to minimize food waste along different stages of the supply chain while maximizing equitable access to safe food given consumer preferences. Food banks are nonprofit organizations that provide a framework for the non-profit food supply chain by collecting donations from multiple sources such as local grocers, growers, and the community (e.g., food drives) and distributing the donations to food-insecure households through a network of community-based partner agencies (e.g., food pantries, homeless shelters, schools). The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly strained this network as demand has surged, the volunteer-based workforce has waned, and supply uncertainty has increased highlighting both the network’s strengths and limitations and the need to strengthen the community-based infrastructure and create solutions that are self-reliant and robust for communities that are affected by such events.
Attributing the Source of Fecal Waste in Surface WatersNC Pork Council570002021-10-012023-06-30AwardedAngela Harris; Christopher Osburn; Jay Levine; William ShowersLivestock operations generate fecal waste and manure management is an essential aspect of livestock production. Local and state regulations mandate permitting, training, design specifications, and stream vegetation buffers between livestock operations and surface waters.
The scale of pork production has increased to meet consumer demand and as production facilities have grown, communities have heightened their concern about the environmental impact of pork operations. Pork producers have worked effectively to reduce their overall water usage, land use, and the carbon footprint of farming operations (National Pork Board, 2018, Thoma et al. 2011). Responsible environmental farm management has become a business necessity for pork producers in the US and producers have affirmed their obligation to manage pork production operations in a manner that protects natural ecosystems and public health. Watersheds, however, generally support multiple types of livestock operations and human dwellings. Each livestock enterprise and residential community is a potential source of fecal waste in surface waters.

Fecal waste in surface waters is generally referred to as non-point source contamination. In reality, all fecal waste has a vertebrate animal origin and the species of origin varies with adjacent land-use practices. Monitoring programs established to protect public health have traditionally relied on the culture or detection of fecal coliforms, total coliforms or Enterococcus bacteria in water samples as indicators of fecal contamination in surface waters. These enteric organisms are non-specific indicators of the presence of fecal waste but do not attribute contamination to specific animal hosts. The detection of host-specific enteric organisms, such as Bacteroidales spp. and genetic assays focused on detecting these microbial species have been developed as alternatives to non-host specific indicator organism detection methods (Harwood et al. 2009).

All vertebrates release cells from their gastrointestinal tract in their feces. These cells contain mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), a routine aspect of forensic investigation that can be applied to identify the animal hosts associated with fecal waste (Caldwell et al. 2007). The detection of mtDNA is highly host specific. If mtDNA is detected in a water sample, the vertebrate animal associated with that mtDNA can be determined. Initial studies, however, lacked sensitivity (Caldwell et al. 2009). When we initially developed and tested these assays, at times, fecal waste was present in a stream but not detected. In studies supported by the National Pork Board, we refined these initial mtDNA assays by adapting the use of new Droplet digital PCR technology (BioRad Inc., California, USA), which markedly enhanced the sensitivity of the assay for identifying the presence of host mtDNA in surface waters. New primers and probes were designed, and the assay proved both sensitive and specific. Our studies confirmed the presence of fecal contamination in Stockinghead Creek in Duplin County, NC and documented that the fecal contamination in the creek originates from at least four species, cattle, humans, poultry and swine. This proposal focuses on addressing concerns about the origin of fecal waste in surface waters in other North Carolina livestock intensive watersheds. Specific objectives include: 1) Attributing the source of fecal contamination in NC surface waters in Duplin and Sampson County, NC watersheds ; and 2) Responding to concerns about fecal contamination.
Economic and Environmental Comparison of Emerging Plastic Waste Management TechnologiesEnvironmental Research & Education Foundation1099822021-10-012023-04-01AwardedJames Levis; Jeremiah JohnsonThe global demand for plastics is 400 million metric tons and is projected to triple by 2050. However, only 8.4% of plastics are recovered in the U.S., and the current supply of reprocessed plastics only meets 6% of the demand for plastic products. Improved plastics recycling is an important part of building a more circular economy due to the increasing demand for plastic products. However, cost-effective recovery of plastics is limited by separation efficiency, contamination, available markets, and quality degradation during collection, separation, and conventional mechanical reprocessing. Given these issues, there is a need for cost-effective technologies to efficiently recover plastics in municipal solid waste. Chemical recycling is an emerging and potentially scalable alternative to convert all types of waste plastics into virgin-quality resins. However, little is known about the economic and environmental implications of chemical recycling because it is newer and less developed than conventional mechanical recycling.
The goal of the proposed project is to comprehensively assess new strategies and technologies for plastic recycling. The proposed project aims to provide practical recommendations for the solid waste industry to cost-effectively improve the plastics recycling rate and associated material quality while reducing environmental burdens. The research objectives are:
1. To develop and implement life-cycle process models to quantify the costs and life-cycle environmental impacts of various plastics recycling technologies
2. To assess and compare the environmental and economic trade-offs associated with alternative plastic waste management strategies
3. To evaluate the potential for scale-up of emerging technologies at multiple stages of plastic waste management strategy planning
The objectives will be achieved using life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) methodologies to quantify and compare the cost and environmental impacts of plastic recycling alternatives. Strategies to be considered will include conventional mechanical recycling, polymer recycling (glycolysis and methanolysis), monomer recycling (pyrolysis/gasification), and plastics-to-fuel for energy recovery.
Asphalt Pavement Reflective Cracking Model to Better Address RehabilitationFederal Highway Administration (FHWA)2562792021-09-272023-07-26AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Ern-Yeong Song; Murthy Guddati; Youngsoo KimThe Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed mechanistically based performance comparison models to evaluate the cracking and rutting performance of asphalt pavement mixtures. These models form the basis of an asphalt performance comparison development effort and are being implemented into a FlexPAVETM software program for analyzing pavements and predicting distress. In this research study, NCSU will assess current asphalt pavement cracking models that can be applied to reflective cracking and further research, develop, calibrate, train, and validate a mechanistically based asphalt pavement reflective cracking model that is consistent with existing FlexPAVETM methodology and performance tests; incorporate it into the FlexPAVETM software and the FlexMATTM and FlexMIXTM data analysis tools, and assess and incorporate run time improvements to the model, software, and analysis tools.
Highly Fluorinated Compounds – Social and Scientific Discovery: 3rd Annual MeetingNational Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)367592021-09-022022-08-31AwardedCarolyn Mattingly; Detlef KnappeThis three-day conference on “Highly Fluorinated Compounds – Social and Scientific Discovery” will examine the complex set of social, scientific, political, and environmental health issues raised by the recent discoveries of water contamination with high levels of highly fluorinated compounds. By bringing together scientists, government officials, activists, lay people, journalists, and lawyers, the conference can build on the diverse experiences and perspectives in order to better understand issues of science, regulation, remediation, prevention, and community engagement.
A Citizen Science Internship Program to Quantify Racial and Economic Disparities in Lead Levels in Drinking Water Across North CarolinaNCSU Water Resources Research Institute356002021-09-012023-08-31AwardedCaren Cooper; Emily BerglundNinety-seven of the one hundred counties in North Carolina have at least one community water system with leaded infrastructure. Collectively, these systems serve 10 million people. In 20 counties, 80% or more of the water systems reported leaded infrastructure, serving a total of over one million North Carolinians. Unfortunately, water systems do not have records with sufficient detail to identify highest risk areas at finer spatial scales. Furthermore, there is virtually no data, at any scale, about the privately owned portions of the water transportation systems, namely the privately owned portion of the service line and the household premise plumbing. This proposal addresses the problem that leaded drinking water infrastructure poses a significant health risk across NC. Water utilities cannot properly manage water lead levels without sufficient data about leaded premise plumbing and lead in tap water at households. The EPA funded a project to create Crowd the Tap, a citizen science project in which households share information about their drinking water infrastructure. We propose a Citizen Science Internship program at Shaw University in which student interns function as ambassadors for Crowd the Tap, carrying out direct outreach (in accordance with COVID safety protocols) to priority communities in order to fill data gaps particularly for the DEQs Needs Assessment, NGO/CBO lead mitigation programs, and a statistical model to reliably predict household risk of lead.
A Citizen Science Internship Program to Quantify Racial and Economic Disparities in Lead Levels in Drinking Water Across North CarolinaNCSU Water Resources Research Institute843692021-09-012023-08-31AwardedCaren Cooper; Emily BerglundNinety-seven of the one hundred counties in North Carolina have at least one community water system with leaded infrastructure. Collectively, these systems serve 10 million people. In 20 counties, 80% or more of the water systems reported leaded infrastructure, serving a total of over one million North Carolinians. Unfortunately, water systems do not have records with sufficient detail to identify highest risk areas at finer spatial scales. Furthermore, there is virtually no data, at any scale, about the privately owned portions of the water transportation systems, namely the privately owned portion of the service line and the household premise plumbing. This proposal addresses the problem that leaded drinking water infrastructure poses a significant health risk across NC. Water utilities cannot properly manage water lead levels without sufficient data about leaded premise plumbing and lead in tap water at households. The EPA funded a project to create Crowd the Tap, a citizen science project in which households share information about their drinking water infrastructure. We propose a Citizen Science Internship program at Shaw University in which student interns function as ambassadors for Crowd the Tap, carrying out direct outreach (in accordance with COVID safety protocols) to priority communities in order to fill data gaps particularly for the DEQs Needs Assessment, NGO/CBO lead mitigation programs, and a statistical model to reliably predict household risk of lead.
Converting Textile Waste to Pumpable Slurry for Biogas ProductionEnvironmental Research & Education Foundation1350002021-09-012023-08-31AwardedDouglas Call; Nelson Vinueza Benitez; Sonja SalmonAround 10 million tons of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) are disposed of in U.S. landfills annually, 8% of all municipal solid waste. PCTW is landfilled because it contains complex blends of natural and synthetic fibers that are not easy to recycle as well as dyes and other chemicals that interfere with reuse. Microbial communities in anaerobic digesters (AD) have the potential to convert natural fibers in PCTW to a useful biofuel, biomethane, as well as degrade associated dyes and chemicals. By gently deconstructing and separating PCTW into less complex material streams, it will be possible to recover valuable non-degraded fibers, generate co-products and efficiently treat residuals to divert PCTW from landfills. The goal of this project is to use mild enzymatic methods to convert PCTW from large heavy solids to pumpable slurries with compositions that are compatible with microbial growth in AD, while recovering non-degraded fractions for recycling.
Fecal contamination source tracking and forecasting to support recreational and cultural development in the Black River watershedNCSU Water Resources Research Institute1200002021-09-012023-08-31AwardedAngela Harris; Daniel Obenour; Ryan EmanuelThe Great Coharie River (AKA Great Coharie Creek) is a culturally and environmentally significant water body in Eastern North Carolina. The river has exhibited elevated levels of nutrients and microbial contamination, even after extreme flooding events, and community groups, particularly the Coharie Tribe, are eager to develop a more nuanced understanding of the temporal and spatial dynamics of contamination in the river to ensure human safety during cultural and recreational activities on the river. We propose to conduct high temporal resolution sampling at 4 sites along the river during different seasons and rainfall conditions. Water samples will be analyzed for nutrients, E. coli (fecal indicator bacteria) and source-specific molecular markers of fecal contamination (e.g., human, swine, and poultry). Forecast models will be develop to predict contamination with environmental covariates (e.g., temperature, rainfall, discharge). Working with Coharie Tribe leaders and other community members and applying insights from this research, we will support the development of long-term monitoring plans and decision-making tools for protecting and using the river.
Optimization of Self-healing Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites via Convolutional Neural NetworksUS Army - Corps of Engineers4326682021-08-192024-02-11AwardedJames Levis; Jason PatrickInternal delamination damage in fiber-reinforced composites is difficult to detect and nearly impossible to repair by conventional methods. To date, this failure mechanism remains one of the most significant factors limiting the reliability and leads to wasteful design of composites for lightweight structures [1]. Drawing upon inspiration from biology, self-healing polymers and composites have emerged to combat inevitable degradation from in-service operation and/or unavoidable damage from unexpected overload [2,3]. We propose to develop a sustainable self-healing composite system capable of complete restoration in interlaminar fracture resistance without compromising in-plane mechanical properties. Our project takes a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach by combining polymer mechanics/chemistry, emergent manufacturing, advanced computing and deep learning to accelerate the development of such self-repairing structural composites. This synergistic experimental-computational strategy relies on: (1) a newly realized in situ self-healing platform in thermoset composites via thermal remending of an environmentally inert 3D printed thermoplastic interlayer; and (2) novel microstructural material optimization using automated finite element (FE) simulations and deep learning. The envisioned self-repairing composite and complementary computational design platform will eliminate the need for costly inspection, reduce overall maintenance/replacement, and provide enhanced safety, resilience, and reliability in order to preserve DoD competitive advantage.
Digital Engineering and Predictive Capability Maturity ModelTerraPower12000062021-08-162024-06-30AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Kook Han; Nam DinhThe nuclear construction industry has experienced huge escalations in overnight construction cost and schedule delays due to (i) lack of digital engineering to integrate analysis, design, fabrication, construction, and operation, (ii) inappropriate management of nuclear safety and quality assurance (QA) standards, particularly in the context of deviations that occur during construction and manufacturing compared to the design specifications, (iii) inexperience in managing these deviations, and (iv) supply chain delays due to rework. Improvements in all phases of a project warrant improvement to reduce risk and drive competitiveness, including:
• Concept Development & Licensing
• Design
• Procurement/Fabrication
• Erection, Testing, and Inspection
• Operation (to improve return on investment)
Environmental Surveillance of Microbial ContaminantsWake County12244622021-08-162023-06-30AwardedAngela HarrisTSA: Environmental Surveillance of Microbial Contaminants
Collaborative Research: Multiscale Simulations and Imaging of Viscoelastic Media in Reduced Order Model FrameworkNational Science Foundation (NSF)1068932021-08-152024-07-31AwardedMurthy GuddatiThis collaborative project is with Professor Vladimir Druskin or WPI and Elena Cherkaev of University of Utah. Following is the TENTATIVE combined abstract:

Krylov subspace algorithms are well established tools for matrix function computations. The solution of fractional PDEs plays prominent role among numerous applications of the these algorithms thanks to their algebraic elegance and computational efficiency. They reduce the solution of fractional PDEs to the discretization of standard second order problems and consecutive application of well developed linear algebraic methods. However, the matrix function approach has two major drawbacks. It does not allow space dependence of fractional power and does not scale well for very large problems. If the former is rather specific for fractional derivative PDEs, the latter is generic for the most of large scale matrix function computations.

The foundation of the proposed research program is recent multiscale reduced order (ROM) approach for massive wave propagation problems. Similarly to many multiscale methods the computational domain discretized on a fine grid is split into coarse cells. The novelty is to use sparse network ROM realizations to approximate the DtN maps of the coarse cells, resulting in sparse compressed graph-Laplacian type of approximation of the entire problem. The sparse realization is obtained with the help of matrix-valued Stieltjes continuous fractions, hence the name `Multiscale Stieltjes fraction reduced order model (MSSFROM). The sparse structure of the MSSFROM allows scalable implementation on modern high-performance platforms without significant limitations on the problem complexity that was in particular critical for elastic wave propagation problems in heterogeneous anisotropic media.
IGE: Learning the Entire Pipeline: Analyzing and Improving Graduate Engineering Education through Communities of PracticeNational Science Foundation (NSF)3321842021-08-152023-07-31AwardedCesar Delgado; Collin Lynch; Kook HanRecent policy documents for graduate STEM education note that engineering programs do not adequately help students develop abilities to work in collaborative and team settings, to communicate to diverse
audiences, and to deal with diverse opinions, ideas, and backgrounds. Additionally, the emergence of new fields at the interface of two or more disciplines requires a workforce with the ability to work
collaboratively with people from different disciplines. Moreover, most engineering problems in the field involve multiple heterogeneous teams working on subsystems that need to be integrated as a working system. Students need to learn how to work within and across teams - and disciplines. In this project we seek to improve graduate engineering education by studying students’ interactions and learning within
and across collaborative groups, when integrating into professional engineering endeavors, and when engaged in interdisciplinary projects, in order to identify promising approaches, identify obstacles, and
generate theory for the effective preparation for the workforce of graduate engineering students. We are guided by the theoretical framework of communities of practice (CoP), which has a strong emphasis on collaboration, diverse groups and audiences, and the need to communicate across disciplinary and cultural backgrounds. The CoP framework also provides mechanisms for the enculturation of novices into
disciplinary groups, as well as for the dissemination of ideas across such groups. We have selected three courses from three different departments to foster and study this CoP approach. The selected classes
afford CoP-guided studies of different grain sizes, using diverse concepts from the CoP framework, and in a variety of disciplines. Through this approach that involves various settings and granularities, we seek to develop a broader view of CoPs in engineering that can build theory for this field and guide implementation across subfields of engineering education.
Southeastern Populations Impacted by Smoke: Recent Patterns and Possible Shifts Under Climate ChangeBureau of Land Management249992021-08-042023-12-31AwardedFernando MenendezSmoke from wildland fire (wildfire and prescribed fire) is one of the largest sources of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) in the United States. PM2.5 is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular morbidities and premature mortality. In the Southeastern region of the country, prescribed fire is used extensively as a method to reduce wildfire risk and provide beneficial ecosystem services. However, this practice generates non-negligible amounts of smoke which must be managed acceptably to prevent impacts on human health and visibility. populations experiencing wildland fire and smoke in the Southeast are not well identified, using readily accessible indices, especially when considering the distinction between wildfire and prescribed fire. Further, climate change will likely affect the timing and application frequency of prescribed fire in the future which may alter impacts and risks for nearby communities.
In this work, we characterize the populations impacted by PM2.5 from wildland fires in the Southeast. Using National Weather Service smoke forecasts and MODIS and/or VIIRS satellite fire detections from the years 2012 – 2017, U.S. Census demographic data, and U.S. EPA EJSCREEN environmental justice indices, we characterize the populations most frequently experiencing wildland fire smoke during this time period. To understand how wildfire and prescribed fire impacts populations differently, we model PM2.5 concentrations resulting from wild- and prescribed fires in North Carolina using the chemical transport model CMAQ and emissions provided by the U.S. EPA National Emissions Inventory for the years 2014 and 2017. Finally, we consider how recent prescribed burning activity and the identified impacted populations align with possible future changes in prescribed burning windows due to climate change. Recent analyses of meteorological conditions favorable for prescribed burning in the southeast under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 are used to identify possible areas of future land management change and populations that may subsequently be impacted. Based on the characterization of the populations, specific considerations will be recommended.
This work will help to identify whether there are particularly vulnerable groups that are disproportionately impacted by wildland fire smoke in the Southeast. Further, this work is novel in that it will delineate wildfire impacts from prescribed fire impacts which will help to identify whether there is a difference in populations that are aided or ailed by wildland fire and smoke. Finally, by juxtaposing future possible changes in favorable prescribed burning conditions with recent burning activity and impacted populations, this work will help land managers to identify vulnerable future populations and appropriate land management practices.
Sustained-Petascale in Action: Blue Waters Enabling Transformative Science and Engineering (Lucas Ford)University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign500002021-08-012022-12-31AwardedSankarasubraman ArumugamLucas Ford will develop a geospatial model to improve stream flow prediction in ungauged and controlled basins. He will also attend the mandatory workshops/seminars at NCSA- UIUC as part of his fellowship.
An Atlantic Marine Energy Center (AMEC) for Advancing the Marine Renewable Energy Industry and Powering the Blue EconomyUNC - East Carolina University523772021-08-012025-07-31AwardedGeorge Bonner IVCoastal Studies Institute (CSI) is included in a University Constortium led by University of New Hampshire to establish the Atlantic Marine Energy Center (AMEC). AMEC will serve as a National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NMREC) to complement three existing NMRECs. The AMEC focus is to advance the commercial availability and application of marine energy technologies in the Atlantic region of the U.S. and support WPTO’s goal to grow and expand university involvement in the marine energy industry.
Development of Friction Performance ModelsNC Department of Transportation3981712021-08-012023-07-31AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Cassandra CastorenaVehicle collisions and increases in collisions rates during wet conditions are one of the major safety concerns for the NCDOT. Collision rates increase when the surface is wet because skid resistance reduces under these conditions. The precise amount of loss is dependent on many factors, but the consensus among experts is that pavement friction and macrotexture are important factors that affect the skid resistance and changes in this resistance under wet conditions. This research will achieve three objectives; 1) characterize friction and texture performance models, 2) develop friction and texture performance thresholds, and 3) identify asphalt mixture compositional factors (gradation, asphalt content, presence of modified versus non-modified asphalt, etc.) that affect the as-constructed macrotexture and friction.

The primary outcome of the proposed research will be an initial set of performance models that can be used to assess immediate and potentially long-term friction/macrotexture issues. The research will also produce a set of threshold limits for friction/macrotexture where investigatory and intervention steps need to be taken to control for safety. Finally, the research will produce information on the mixture design factors that contribute to higher or lower friction/macrotexture. These outcomes can be used by the Traffic Safety and Materials and Test Units of the North Carolina DOT to predict and manage friction and texture performance on roadways and to understand when measurements represent a potential hazard exists. It will also be used to help identify asphalt mixtures with potential friction and macrotexture issues and develop better guidelines, specifications, and operational controls (if necessary) for recently overlaid pavements. This could lead to reduced collision rates on these pavements. Thus, this research will result in overall improved procedures for flexible pavement overlay operations.
Integration of Repair and Remediation Methods into Pipe Material Selection ApproachNC Department of Transportation3011462021-08-012023-07-31AwardedGregory Lucier; Mohammad Pour-Ghaz; Mohammed GabrIn a recent research project a pipe material selection software was developed. This software enables estimation of the service life of pipes made from different materials based on their anticipated exposure conditions. The linked GIS database is used to automatically compute the anticipated exposure condition corresponding with GPS coordinates input by the user for a given project. The culvert pipe materials commonly used by NCDOT have been included in the software: reinforced concrete, galvanized steel, aluminized steel, cast iron, mild steel, aluminum alloy, and polymeric pipes. Based on conversations with NCDOT, additional scope for the software is desired and identified as follows:
i. The developed software selection guide only considers material type and exposure condition in the selection process. It is desirable to integrate NCDOT’s structural requirements into the selection process such that NCDOT engineers can use a single software to select pipe materials based on both durability and structural requirements.
ii. The current software does not provide an estimate of how service life can be extended by repair and rehabilitation. It is desirable to upgrade the software to account for the additional service life expected from various rehabilitation measures, and to develop a comparative analysis of possible repair methods in terms of expected impact on service life.
iii. The current software does not account for the effects of approaches to mitigate adverse subsurface exposure on the service life of installed pipes. Addressing the effects of mitigation is desirable since in many projects, backfill soil is different from native soil.
The work proposed herein aims to update the current software to include: (i) An upgraded pipe selection guide software that integrates structural requirements, repair and rehabilitation methods, and mitigation strategies into a unified pipe selection guide, and (ii) provisions accounting for the effects of various repair and rehabilitation methods on the service life of the pipe materials.
Performance Evaluation of HWY-2017-29 Project Asphalt Mixtures and PavementNC Department of Transportation3512672021-08-012023-07-31AwardedYoungsoo KimThis proposed research plan aims to complete the Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester (AMPT) tests and performance analysis that were started in the HWY-2017-29 project, evaluate the effects of construction variability on pavement performance using the AMPT tests, IDEAL-CT, and Hamburg wheel-tracking (HWT) test, and verify and potentially improve the acceptance limits and pay factor formulas in the NCDOT’s Quality Management System (QMS) manual.
Developing Vehicle Weight Monitoring Program Design Guidelines Based on Advanced Data Analytics (2022-061)UNC - Fayetteville State University414232021-08-012022-12-30AwardedGeorge List; Richard Chase JrAs part of traffic monitoring programs, state transportation departments are required to provide information about the status of their transportation infrastructure based on traffic data collected through sensors. The Traffic Monitoring Guide (FHWA, 2016) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO, 2009) provide general guidance about how to collect traffic volumes, vehicle classification information, and weight data. Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) systems are the technology most commonly used to collect the datasets used in assessing the impact of vehicles on the infrastructure; increasing the safety of the systems; and assessing road damage and facility lifetimes.

The goal of this research is to help NCDOT identify and adopt a new freight monitoring system. To that end, we will document the current and future perceived use of WIM data by different stakeholders in the agency, elsewhere in state, in the country and in global companies. We will build a knowledge base that aids with these deliberations.
Harkers Island Bridge Replacement: Material Characterization and Structural PerformanceNC Department of Transportation3650742021-08-012024-07-31AwardedGiorgio Proestos; Mohammad Pour-Ghaz; Rudolf SeracinoThe NCDOT has previously funded FRP related research projects through NC State University. RP2014-09 consisted of material characterization of Glass FRP reinforcing bars and Carbon FRP prestressing strand (of the same type to be used in the Harkers Island Bridge replacement), and the design, construction and destructive testing of full-scale 45 ft. long hollow core slabs commonly used throughout North Carolina. The design was consistent with the then current ACI440 and AASHTO design guide documents. The test results demonstrated that the flexural and shear performance of the all FRP-reinforced cored slabs was “equivalent” to that of traditional steel-reinforced cored slabs designed to current NCDOT standards. More recently, RP2018-16 developed an innovative rapid repair solution suitable for common prestressed concrete bridge elements, including cored-slabs and C-channel beams. The system is comprised of a prestressed mechanically-fastened FRP plate that restores lost prestress force in deteriorated bridge beams such that inventory and operating load rating restrictions may be removed enabling the bridge to remain in service until replacement is scheduled. In April 2019 this repair system was implemented on Bridge No. 380080 in Franklin County, and a second application was installed on Bridge No. 810003 in Sampson County in November 2020. While there are applications of FRP materials and systems in the repair or strengthening of existing concrete bridges in North Carolina, the Harkers Island Bridge replacement will be the first to fully replace all internal reinforcing and prestressing steel with FRP alternatives in a new construction. The Harkers Island Bridge will be among the largest applications of FRP in a fully FRP-reinforced new concrete bridge in the United States. The experience and long-term performance data collected from this bridge will contribute to the validation and future editions of ASTM standards, material and construction specifications, and design codes including those from AASHTO and ACI. Ultimately, the outcomes of this research project will lead to improved NCDOT design and construction of durable bridge infrastructure resulting in reduced maintenance and repair, longer service life, and cost-savings.
Strut-and-Tie Design and Evaluation of Reinforced Concrete Bridge Bent CapsNC Department of Transportation2089282021-08-012023-07-31AwardedGiorgio ProestosIn the design and analysis of reinforced concrete deep beams, such as bridge bent caps, the use of sectional design methods may result in unnecessarily conservative structures. The application of strut-and-tie procedures can result in more efficient structural designs that also better represent the load carrying mechanisms of the members. The research needing investigation, is to identify typical bridge bent caps for North Carolinian bridges and develop specific strut-and-tie design procedures for these members. The investigation will examine how the Department’s current design practices compare with the proposed procedures. The research also consists of conducting large-scale experiments of reinforced concrete deep beams monitored with full field of view digital image correlation (DIC) equipment.
Groundwork for the Second Edition of the Alternative Intersection and Interchange Informational Report (2022-011)NC Department of Transportation998752021-08-012023-05-31AwardedAli Hajbabaie; Christopher Cunningham; William RasdorfAlternative Intersection and Interchange (AII) designs are those which provide an innovative approach to the geometric or control features which may improve operations and/or safety for different road users. In 2010, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published the first edition of “Alternative Intersection and Interchange Informational Report” (AIIR), which provided information on six alternative treatments including displaced left-turn (DLT) intersections, restricted crossing U-turn (RCUT) intersections, median U-turn (MUT) intersections, quadrant roadway (QR) intersections, double crossover diamond (DCD) interchanges, and DLT interchanges. For each treatment, AIIR presented detailed information in a standardized format, including salient geometric design features, operational and safety issues, access management, costs, construction sequencing, environmental benefits, and applicability.
The AIIR first edition has been employed by various agencies as a valuable resource for planning and designing AIIs, there are still unconventional design concepts that have not been fully explored and some of the current ones could use updates. During the past decade, there have been an increasing number of AIIs installed in the United States, and more new AII designs that are not documented in AIIR first edition have emerged since 2010, such as Reverse RCUTs, Partial Median U-turns, and Grade-Separated Alternative Intersections, etc. These new AII designs may involve different traffic organization patterns, which may introduce confusion and create safety hazards for drivers.
NCDOT is a national leader in AII implementation, which provides safe, efficient, and cost-effective travel solutions for North Carolina drivers. Therefore, the primary objective of this research is to start the process of compiling the AIIR Second Edition. Specifically, this research will provide a state-of-the-practice literature review and expert interviews on AII designs, draft an annotated outline for the AIIR second edition. Finally, this research will provide practical recommendations for planners and engineers to select site-specific AII designs during project processes.
CORVASEQ (Coronavirus Variant Sequencing)UNC - UNC Chapel Hill7800002021-07-012023-06-30AwardedAngela Harris; David Rasmussen; Megan Jacob; Siddhartha ThakurThe project is to support the state of North Carolina in surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants in the population. We will sequence SARS-CoV-2 from clinical specimens collected as part of the NCSU surveillance lab (surveillance lab director Megan Jacob is a co-PI) and partner WakeMed hospitals. We estimate to sequence 3700 samples over the course of the project.
Understanding the Climate and Environmental Impacts of Transitioning to LPGStockholm Environmental Institute603922021-06-012022-12-31AwardedAndrew GrieshopFor this project, we will assess the climate and environmental benefits and tradeoffs of large-scale transitions from the current “baseline” household fuels to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). To do this, we will look at the impacts arising from current residential stove and fuel choices, extend these out to the future in a “business-as-usual” scenario, and compare that to scenarios in which we will conduct the following assessments.

Global - this will provide a rough sketch of impacts resulting from transitions to LPG in all countries where polluting fuels are currently used (based on recent estimates). Two paths will be explored:

Full transitions - an unrealistic scenario that provides an upper bound of possible impacts.

Partial transitions - more realistic, but still ambitious scenarios in which countries are differentiated based on current levels of access to LPG and other development indicators. The exact specifications of these scenarios will be decided in the early stage of the project.

Four “priority” countries - this will provide more detailed analyses of impacts resulting from transitions to LPG in Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Haiti. These assessments will mirror the global assessment by exploring both full and partial transition pathways.

Transitions will be examined over a timeframe to be determined in consultation with the Alliance. We recommend that we follow examples set by similar analyses such as the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, which explores scenarios out to 2040. Examples of potential pathways include scenarios developed for the 2018 World Energy Outlook which include a business-as-usual pathway following stated policies and Sustainable Development Scenarios, which meet SDG7.
RAPID: Collection and Archiving of Vital Data on COVID-19 Vaccine DistributionNational Science Foundation (NSF)1000002021-06-012023-05-31AwardedAli Hajbabaie; Julie Swann; Leila Hajibabai DizajiThe objective of this RAPID project is to identify and document possible issues of the existing COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration systems and propose solutions through collecting national vaccine distribution and administration data and quantifying lead times and various performance measures.
We plan to collect day-to-day vaccine allocation and shipment data (to track the supply over time) and vaccine administration data from CDC and States. More information on data elements is available in the research plan section. While this data is available at CDC now, it is not available to the public and it is not archived for a long time (as is the case for N1H1 vaccination data) and will be lost if not collected now. We will work with reporters that have collaborated with us before to create a freedom of information act (FOIA) request to access and archive the data.
State record this data as well; however, they do not follow a consistent way of reporting the data, and the majority of them only report cumulative data. It is not certain whether they record the daily data, and if so, how long they keep it. As such, the daily data is at great risk of being lost if not collected as soon as possible and many important vaccination data and trends will be lost if the day-to-day data is not available.
Energy Data Analytics Ph.D. Fellows Program Phase II: Training the Next Generation of Energy Data Scholars (Qian Luo)Duke University242542021-05-012022-08-31AwardedFernando Menendez; Jeremiah JohnsonChina has started a new round of power market reform, introducing a dispatch approach that minimize the electricity generation costs to its current power sector. Although several studies have investigated the carbon emission impacts of adopting this economic dispatch in China, none have estimated the human health impacts brought by this transition. Comprehensively understanding the impacts of the power market reform will provide insights on how to make better regulations to protect the public health. This project will estimate the health impacts by integrating power system models and air quality models, and also explore how to cost-effectively reduce these health impacts by internalizing real-time health costs in plant dispatch decisions and re-optimizing the unit commitment and economic dispatch in light of these impacts.
Forecasting Coastal Impacts from Tropical Cyclones along the US East and Gulf Coasts using the ADCIRC Prediction SystemUNC - UNC Chapel Hill900002021-04-062025-04-05AwardedJoel DietrichIn this project, one-way coupling from a one-way coupling from ADCIRC+SWAN to XBeach following a two-scale approach will be attempted. One-dimensional (1D) transects will be used as the storm is far from landfall, switching to two-dimensional (2D) models for known hot-spots as the storm approaches land. For 1D, we will start with FEMA NFIP transects, because they already exist for the entire U.S. coast and have been well-validated in the development of coastal flood maps.
Assessment of Pesticide Stability in Water and Analysis of Pesticide Degradates in Private Wells in North CarolinaNCSU Water Resources Research Institute100002021-03-012022-08-31AwardedDetlef KnappeApproximately 30% of North Carolinians rely on private wells as their primary source of drinking water. Because private wells fall outside of the purview of the Safe Drinking Water Act, occurrence data are lacking for compounds such as pesticides. Furthermore, currently available analytical methods for pesticides target only a limited number of pesticides and do not keep up with the ever-evolving list of pesticides in use. Additionally, many pesticides partially degrade in the environment (e.g. via hydrolysis) and evidence of pesticide impact requires analysis for degradates in such cases. In order to more fully understand the impact that pesticides have on private well water quality, it is vital that we understand current use patterns for pesticides and the stability of these pesticides in water. To address this information gap, the proposed project aims to 1) assess the stability of the ten most widely used pesticides in NC and identify possible hydrolysis products and 2) investigate the occurrence of these pesticides and their degradates in NC private wells known to contain pesticides.
Seismic Behavior of High Strength Reinforcing Steel at Low TemperaturesState of Alaska, Department of Transportation3200002021-02-242024-12-31AwardedMervyn KowalskyAlaska is subjected to the highest seismic hazards within the US. The state is also home to some of the most extreme climate in the country. Past studies have shown that low temperatures alter the behavior of reinforced concrete structures sufficiently that it must be considered in design to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Over the last several years, high strength steel reinforcement has become common in the market, with strengths as much as 50% higher than that typically deployed for seismic applications. It is well established that higher strength is not always desirable, especially if it results in a loss of energy dissipation capacity. Previous research has shown that high strength steel, even when meeting the requirements of appropriate ASTM designations, has reduced ability to deform compared to typical ‘seismic steel’. Through the use of material and structure level tests at low temperatures, as well as computational modelling, the impact of low temperatures on high strength steel is explored in this research project. The concern stems from the well established impact of reduced fracture toughness at low temperatures, and the recent observation that the stress concentrations at the base of reinforcing bar ribs impacts the strain capacity of the bars (and hence ductility of the reinforced concrete member). This research aims to determine if low temperatures further impacts the performance of columns reinforced with high strength steel.
High Strength T-Headed Reinforcing Bars for Use as Shear Reinforcement in Shear Critical Reinforced Concrete Deep BeamsConcrete Reinforcing Steel Institute300002021-01-112022-07-11AwardedGiorgio ProestosReinforced concrete deep beams are members that have a relatively small shear span with respect to their depth. When the shear span to depth ratio (a/d) of such members becomes less than about 2.5, the members are governed by shear deformations and plane sections do not remain plane. Reinforced concrete transfer girders, bridge pier caps, and corbels are all examples of deep beams. These members are often heavily stressed and contain large quantities of reinforcement. The proposal is to conduct six large scale tests to investigate the performance of high strength T-headed reinforcing bars for use as shear reinforcement in shear critical deep beams. The large-scale experiments will be heavily instrumented with three-dimensional LED Optotrak targets as well as large field of view three-dimensional digital image correlation systems. In addition to experimental investigations, the research will be complimented with analytical evaluation of deep beams. These analytical methods will be used to predict the effect of using high strength T-headed reinforcing bars on material stresses, failure mechanisms, crack widths, crack slips and global member response.
Modifying Existing Asphalt Mix Design Procedures for RAP/RAS Surface MixturesNC Department of Transportation3703632021-01-012023-08-15AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Cassandra Castorena; Youngsoo KimThe use of high Recycled Binder Replacement Percentages (RBRs%) in asphalt surface mixtures is increasing. The asphalt binders in recycled materials are generally hardened and embrittled from oxidization and may not fully mobilize and blend with virgin materials. Consequently, high recycled content mixtures may be prone to cracking if appropriate measures to consider this effect are not taken during the mixture design process. The objectives of the proposed research project are to: (1) modify the NCDOT’s procedures for the design of surface mixtures containing RAP and RAS to improve performance and (2) modify the NCDOT’s specifications to improve the consistency within and across RAP and RAS stockpiles within North Carolina. 1. To achieve these objectives, an operational review will be conducted to identify how contractors process, stockpile, characterize and use RAP and RAS under the current NCDOT guidelines. In addition, relationships between asphalt content and performance will be developed for recycled mixtures sourced from North Carolina. These relationships will be used to identify the maximum virgin binder content allowable and to maximize cracking performance without having the rutting performance fall below a critical performance threshold for each mixture. The collective results will be used to identify appropriate revisions to the NCDOT’s current recycled mixture design procedure to ensure reliable performance. The research results will lead improved specifications that will facilitate the design of better-performing surface mixtures containing recycled materials. These specifications will improve the durability of NCDOT pavements and consequently decrease life-cycle costs.
Measuring Arterial Material Properties Using Wave-Based Approaches With Ultrasound and Computational ModelsMayo Clinic5891822021-01-012022-12-31AwardedMurthy GuddatiThe proposed five-year effort involves collaborating with Mayo Clinic and Duke University to develop new methodologies to estimate arterial stiffness using ultrasound measurements from acoustic radiation force (ARF) excitation of carotid artery. NCSU's portion of the effort would be to develop efficient forward algorithms to computationally simulate wave propagation in the artery and inverse modeling techniques to estimate the arterial properties from ultrasound measurements. In addition, NCSU would work closely with Mayo Clinic to optimize the data acquisition geometry and procedure.
Membership in the Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS), Full MemberElectricite de France (EDF/DER)3000002021-01-012023-12-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaFull Membership
Guidelines to Enhance the Constructability of Diverse, Modern, and Unconventional Intersections and Interchanges (DMUII)NC Department of Transportation2240052021-01-012023-08-14AwardedKook Han; Nagui Rouphail; Rudolf Seracino; William RasdorfThe purpose of this research is to assist the NCDOT Traffic Management Unit (TMU) and the Value Management Office (VMO) in assessing issues regarding the construction of Diverse, Modern, and Unconventional Intersections and Interchanges (DMUII). Assessing the constructability of these emerging DMUII is a new area of study that has not yet been previously explored. Therefore, this research will identify factors affecting construction projects prior to construction and develop a schedule and cost payout model (based on prior NCDOT projects) that identifies problems related to expenditure, schedule, and obstruction of traffic during construction.
Expanding the NCDOT's Current Risk Management ProgramNC Department of Transportation1601002021-01-012023-05-31AwardedEdward JaselskisThis project investigate improvements and additions to the current risk assessment program of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) through the NCDOT’s Value Management Office (VMO). NCDOT’s present risk assessment program is applied for certain projects on a provisional basis using ad hoc guidelines that pertain to risk planning, risk identification, risk assessment, risk response, and monitoring and control. This research project will identify improvements to and the expansion of NCDOT’s current program within the VMO and incorporate it as a component of the new Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Process at the Planning/Scoping, 30% complete, and 60% complete design phases for all transportation projects and modes (e.g., highway, aviation, rail, bike/pedestrian, public transit, and ferry). The NCDOT will greatly benefit from being able to be more proactive in identifying and responding to project risks and thus meeting intended project goals.
Field Evaluation of Interlayer-Reinforced Asphalt Overlay PerformanceNC Department of Transportation4077422021-01-012023-07-31AwardedYoungsoo KimThis proposed research plan supports the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division 5 Maintenance field study of geosynthetic pavement interlayer performance. It includes designing and orchestrating field experiments with NCDOT engineers, performing laboratory tests using samples obtained from field test sections, analyzing the test results to assess the performance of different interlayer products, and verifying/calibrating/refining the recommendations that are based on laboratory tests of different interlayer systems conducted in previous and ongoing NCDOT projects. The research plan is designed to use the test procedures employed in the ongoing NCDOT project, RP 2019-19 Development of Geosynthetic Pavement Interlayer Improvements, which focuses on the laboratory evaluation of various geosynthetic interlayer products, including their resistance to reflective cracking and debonding failure. The candidate roadway for this proposed field study is NC 96 in Youngsville, Franklin County between Jack Jones Road in Wake Forest and Oak Grove Church Road in Youngsville. Geosynthetic interlayers that are included in the RP 2019-19 project will be installed prior to construction of the asphalt overlay. These geosynthetic product types are HaTelit G50 paving composite interlayer by Heusker, Mirafi MPG100 paving composite interlayer by Tencate, Tensar GlasPave 50 geotextile paving mat interlayer, GlasGrid 8511 (25 mm) paving grid interlayer by Tensar, and Petromat 4598 paving fabric interlayer by Propex/Tencate. In addition, chip seal and FiberMat Type B interlayers will be included in the experimental design for the field study as well as a control section with no interlayer. The location of the project will be selected to avoid a significant grade and major intersections. Cracks in the existing pavement will be mapped before placement of the interlayers. The tack coat application rates will follow the geosynthetic manufacturers’ recommendations. The pavement conditions will be monitored by the North Carolina State University research team until the end of this proposed project and then by NCDOT personnel after this project is completed. Two 18-inch diameter cores will be taken from the center of the lane in each test section using the specially designed coring and sample extraction methods. Each core will produce two beam specimens and four 100-mm diameter cylindrical specimens. In addition, the asphalt mixtures, interlayer products, and tack coat materials used in the construction will be obtained from the field for the laboratory fabrication of performance test specimens. Shear strength tests and four-point bending notched beam fatigue tests will be conducted using both the field and laboratory-fabricated specimens to evaluate the debonding and reflective cracking mitigation potential of the different interlayer systems, respectively. The shear strength and reflective cracking performance of the specimens will be compared between the specimens obtained from the field cores and laboratory-fabricated specimens in the proposed study and the laboratory-fabricated specimens tested in the RP 2019-19 project. Pavement condition survey data and the performance test results will be used to verify/calibrate the results obtained from the NCDOT RP 2019-19 project. The experience gathered from the field construction of the geosynthetic interlayers will be used to develop construction guidelines for the different geosynthetic interlayer products. This research will also produce field-verified performance thresholds and project selection guidelines and long-term condition survey guidelines for interlayer-reinforced asphalt overlays. These products will be used to incorporate best practice techniques in the effort to make informed decisions when using interlayers as a maintenance application in the State of North Carolina.
Occurrence and Fate of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in North Carolina Agricultural SystemsNC Department of Justice (NCDOJ)2420212021-01-012024-12-31AwardedAziz Amoozegar; Detlef Knappe; Owen Duckworth; Stephanie KuleszaThe overall goal of this project is to identify the frequency of PFAS occurrence within swine sludge and biosolids to understand the risk of PFAS movement when these byproducts are applied to agricultural fields in the Cape Fear Watershed and other areas.
Evaluation of the Bonner Bridge Girders: Assessing Residual Capacity, Prestressing Losses and Degradation of the 56 Year Old MembersNC Department of Transportation2557642021-01-012023-12-31AwardedGiorgio Proestos; Gregory Lucier; Rudolf SeracinoThe NCDOT is in the process of deconstructing the 56 year old Bonner Bridge. This deconstruction provides an opportunity to evaluate the aged girders of the bridge and to compare their performance to load rating calculations. Such a comparison will provide a better understanding of the accuracy and assumptions associated with prestressing losses and will allow for refinements to the load rating procedures. This project focuses on a complete performance evaluation of the Bonner Bridge girders including full-scale load testing of 9 of the 61 ft. by 45 in. deep AASHTO Type III girders. The load testing will be conducted in the Constructed Facilities Lab (CFL) located at North Carolina State University. The research will provide recommendations for updates to the NCDOT Structures Management’s Manual guidelines. These assessments will also include directly evaluating the current amount of stress (after losses) in the girder prestressing steel; the condition, strength and stiffness of the concrete materials; and the location and extent of damage and repair of the girders.
Evaluation, Design, and Repair of Precast Concrete Dapped End Beams - CICI Core ProjectCenter for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (CICI) - NCSU Research Site1000002021-01-012022-12-31AwardedGiorgio Proestos; Gregory Lucier; Rudolf SeracinoPrecast double tees with thin stems are a widely used and highly successful floor member in parking structures and other buildings. Frequently, the end supports are dapped such that the bottom of the double tee is level with the bottom of the inverted tee or ledger beam on which it is supported. The dapped connection detail is especially important at crossovers between spans in parking structures because the overall structural depth and floor-to-floor height need not be increased where the double tee is supported by an inverted tee beam. Double tees with dapped ends are typically 24” to 30” deep and often carry
parking loads, however, much deeper tees (48”) are becoming more common due to the heavier loads and longer spans needed in data centers and other specialty structures.
Improving Resilience of Transportation Infrastructure to Hurricane DamageNC Department of Transportation2502972021-01-012023-08-31AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Brina MontoyaInfrastructure resilience has become an important topic for North Carolina. Recent hurricanes and other extreme events have caused more than $450 million in damage to the States’s transportation infrastructure. In addition to the cost of the infrastructure, the NCDOT spent considerable resources to redesign and repair many elements after each event. A review of the NCDOT records following Hurricane Florence indicates that more than 3,000 disruptions resulted from that event alone. Some of these locations were identical to those damaged during Hurricane Matthew but, the amount of damage was different between the two events, suggesting that DOT strategies were effective. However, detailed quantification of the performance differences have not been completed and thus NCDOT engineers must rely on qualitative and anecdotal evidence as to the effectiveness of various strategies.
Though many agencies have studied the topic of infrastructure resilience to extreme events, the literature suggests that the generalizability of their findings is limited because of the contextual sensitivity of the available strategies. In this case, data on the effectiveness of design and repair strategies within the context of North Carolina is required. Thus, research is needed to identify and evaluate the specific elements of the new infrastructure that positively contributed to the improved performance during Hurricane Florence and those that did not positively contribute.
With respect to this need, the proposed research plan will achieve four objectives; 1) evaluate the design process for roadway infrastructure that was repaired following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, 2) identify the specific elements of the new infrastructure that positively contributed to improved performance during Hurricane Florence, and 3) develop recommendations on design elements that improve the resilience of NCDOT roadways. These objectives will be met with five tasks.
1. The relevant literature on resilient infrastructure and practices for ensuring transportation infrastructure resilience to extreme events will be reviewed and documented.
2. Locations where roadway infrastructure failed during Hurricanes Matthew and Florence will be identified, mapped, and compared.
3. The performance of different maintenance, repair, and reconstruction strategies deployed in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew will be evaluated and quantitatively assessed.
4. A series of detailed case studies will be performed to identify the design factors and repair/maintenance decisions that led to better performance during Hurricane Florence.
5. A final report summarizing the methodology, results, and recommendations will be prepared
The primary outcome of the proposed research will be data on the effectiveness of design strategies used to repair infrastructure following hurricanes specifically and extreme events in general. This knowledge can be helpful to improve the design and repair methodologies to be more robust and resilient against future extreme events. The research will also produce a set of guidelines and recommendations for hydraulic design, repair, and reconstruction that may improve the resiliency of roadway design in North Carolina. The guidelines that results from this research will allow NCDOT engineers to deploy design strategies that are proven to be cost effective in the long run. For example, the primary focus of engineers after the event is restoring mobility. For some cases, once this mobility is restored it may be cost effective to redesign or reconstruct a more robust design so that future events do also cause disruptions. This work will provide evidence as to when and how such major repairs can be effective. The proposed work is significant because it will provide quantified evidence as to the efficacy of existing strategies to provide this long-term effectiveness. Ultimately, the deployment of these strategies can reduce agency costs while also improving roadway resilience to extreme events.
LED Traffic Signal Lifespan and Replacement AssessmentNC Department of Transportation2234582021-01-012023-08-14AwardedFrederick Kish; William RasdorfThe purpose of this research is to assess NCDOT traffic signal maintenance procedures and signal replacement cycle to benchmark their costs so that signal performance is maintained or enhanced and to develop a model for LED powered signal life span. This study answers the question “what is the threshold at which an acceptable working LED traffic signal is in need of replacement?” This study will explore whether or not a systematic signal replacement strategy could be developed and used by any division within NC to enhance performance, reduce waste, reduce cost, and be realistically and efficiently implemented.
Evaluating Hydraulic Spread Calculations and Closed Drainage System PerformanceUNC - East Carolina University400002021-01-012022-12-31AwardedRudolf SeracinoHydraulic spread calculations dictate the number and spacing of deck drains and closed drainage system locations. Closed drainage systems require routine maintenance to function properly, but typically maintenance is not performed until the drainage system has failed, and problems become apparent. Current procedures for calculating hydraulic spread results in closely spaced bridge deck drains which present a construction challenge and requires regular maintenance during the life span of the bridge. Current drainage systems adopted by North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) routinely fail and are difficult to maintain.

The main objective of this research is to update NCDOT’s guidelines for bridge deck drains design and investigate potential alternative drainage systems to be used by NCDOT in future bridge construction projects. Upon the completion of this research project, the research findings will provide NCDOT personnel with improved hydraulic spread calculations to reduce the number of bridge deck drains, which will reduce the initial construction cost, minimize maintenance expenditure, and improve the life cycle cost of the bridge drainage system.
Thermal Reactivation of Spent GAC from PFAS Remediation SitesStrategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)2494982020-12-162023-12-16AwardedDetlef KnappeThe overarching goal of this research is to determine the fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) during thermal reactivation of granular activated carbon (GAC) that had treated PFAS-laden water. Bench-scale studies will be conducted to determine reactivation conditions that release PFAS from spent GAC and lead to PFAS mineralization. To close the fluorine mass balance, this study will focus on laboratory-loaded GAC with known PFAS loadings. Limited experiments will be conducted with spent GAC from remediation sites with high PFAS levels.
Correctly Classifying the Source of Fecal Waste in Surface WatersNational Pork Board1347952020-12-012022-12-01AwardedAngela Harris; Christopher Osburn; Jay Levine; William ShowersAll livestock operations generate fecal waste and manure management is an essential aspect of pork production. Regulations mandate permitting, training, design specifications, soil testing and livestock operation stream vegetation buffers. As the scale of pork production has increased to meet consumer demand communities have heightened their concern about the environmental impact of pork operations. Pork producers are actively working to reduce their overall water usage, land use and the carbon foot-print of their farming operations. Responsible environmental farm management has become an inherent necessity to maintain the sustainability of the pork industry and pork producers in the US have affirmed their obligation to safeguard our natural resources and manage pork production operations in a manner that protects natural environments and public health. The proposed studies support environmental management of pork production and address community concerns by facilitating accurate detection and effective attribution of the origin of fecal waste in surface waters and groundwater.
Distributed Wireless Sensors for Real-time Measurement of Waves and Water Levels During Hurricane ImpactNCSU Sea Grant Program11002020-10-012022-11-30AwardedKatherine AnardeHurricanes, with their strong wind, large waves, and storm surge, can profoundly reshape coastal landforms and damage near-coast structures. Mutual resilience of coastal communities, ecosystems, and landscapes to future storm impacts requires a clear understanding of the hydrodynamic forces impacting coastal systems during storms and accurate representation of these processes in numerical models. Previous efforts to collect coastal data during storm impact have relied on the “deploy and retrieve” model wherein successful data acquisition hinges on post-storm retrieval of data loggers. Inevitably under this paradigm, instrument damage and loss has resulted in sparse data sets with limited spatial and temporal resolution. Recent technological advancements in wireless monitoring and distributed sensor networks have the potential to catalyze a shift away from the “deploy and retrieve” framework toward “real-time monitoring” of storm impacts. Leveraging this potential, we propose to design and test a new low-cost wireless pressure sensor network for real-time measurement of waves and water levels during hurricane impact. The distributed wireless network will consist of multiple pressure sensor “nodes” that transmit data via short-range radio to a central “gateway”, and thereafter to the cloud via a cellular modem. While the sensor in the proposed project records pressure, distributed wireless networks are inherently modular and future work will add utility to the instrument array by incorporating additional sensors (e.g., accelerometers). The proposed project will utilize existing infrastructure and expertise for laboratory (flume) and field-based testing of the prototype sensor network at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington (Dr. Mieras) and North Carolina State University (Dr. Anarde), as well cultivate new research collaborations among institutions and with a North Carolina-based startup, Agrinik Technologies, LLC. Once optimized, the new distributed wireless network will be used to address a myriad of data and knowledge gaps related to storm processes, including infrastructure fragility, feedbacks between structures and flow routing, and wave transformation during island overwash.
Developing Potential Scenarios of Changes in Hydroclimatic Variables for analyzing the Impacts on the Tampa Bay Water Supply SystemTampa Bay Water799622020-10-012022-07-31AwardedSankarasubraman ArumugamTampa Bay Water, the largest wholesale water provider in the southeast United States, provides drinking water to its six-member governments; three cities including New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa and three counties including Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas. Total service population is about 2.5 million residents. Tampa Bay Water, the operating agency, has built an integrated water supply system which includes a surface water system, groundwater wells, and a seawater desalination plant. This has enabled the Tampa Bay to shift from being 100 percent reliant on groundwater to a mixture of sources with an increasing reliance on surface waters. Close monitoring of hydroclimatic variables is thus important for the agency to rotate different supply sources to meet regional demands. Examining the impact of potential hydroclimatic changes, e.g., changes in precipitation, temperature, and streamflow, on Tampa Bay water supply system (TBWSS) is critical to understand the system vulnerability and reliability under potential climate change.
Collaborative Research: Improving Undergraduate Education in Civil & Building Engineering through Student-centric Cyber-Physical Systems and Real-world ProblemsNational Science Foundation (NSF)1999992020-10-012023-09-30AwardedJason Patrick; Kook Han; Tamecia JonesDue to the nature of Civil Engineering problems, students have had limited hands-on experiences in classrooms (e.g., learning concepts of structural behaviors of a bridge on a piece of paper if not on a computer screen). The proposed work aims to bring real-world problems in Civil Engineering into classrooms. The main goal of this proposal is to validate the proposed interactive learning tools that promote physical interaction among students and instructors can improve students’ understanding of Civil Engineering concepts. Moreover, there are no traditional courses in Civil Engineering that introduces emerging technologies to undergraduate students and students simply have limited chances to learn about them, according to the research team’s observation at their three institutions – North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Texas A&M. Increasing engagement and interaction through emerging technologies in classes has a significant potential to address such educational challenges and prepare our future Civil Engineers for the emerging and non-traditional Civil Engineering career opportunities, in addition to the traditional opportunities.
The proposed work is driven by the hypotheses that 1) undergraduate students will better understand Civil Engineering concepts through physical interactions that provide engaged student learning, and 2) they will be better prepared for leveraging advanced technologies that will shape their field of Civil Engineering in their near future. The research team foresees the potential for increasing awareness and interest in Civil Engineering among freshman engineering students before declaring their majors, which will help them make informed career decisions.
The proposed work focuses on developing and evaluating two Student-centric Cyber-Physical Systems (SCPS) research prototypes and implementing them in one Engineering and four Civil Engineering undergraduate courses at various levels – freshmen to senior. Two Civil Engineering concepts of structural engineering and building science will be taught in these five undergraduate courses.
(20-21572) Development of an In-Situ Testing Laboratory for Research and Education of Very High Temperature Reactor MaterialsUS Dept. of Energy (DOE)2611752020-10-012022-09-30AwardedDjamel Kaoumi; Farhan Rahman; Ge Yang; Gracious Ngaile; Jacob Eapen; Jacob Jones; Korukonda Murty; Tasnim Hassan; Yong ZhuA novel thermo-mechanical fatigue (TMF) testing system, referred by miniature TMF (MTMF) system has been developed at NCSU for in-situ testing of miniature specimens within Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM). The MTMF is capable of prescribing axial-torsional loading to solid specimen and axial-torsional-internal pressure loading to tubular specimen of 1 mm diameter at elevated temperatures (up to 1000oC) to investigate deformation of microstructure and failure mechanism in real time. Currently, in-situ SEM testing with the MTMF is performed at the Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) at NCSU. This poses a serious restriction to investigate failure mechanisms of very high temperature reactor (VHTRs) materials primarily because with a user facility, such as AIF, we can only perform short-term tests that span over few days. However, fatigue, creep and creep-fatigue tests for VHTR materials may span from few days to several weeks. Hence, existing SEMs on campus are not available for long-term in-situ testing of VHTR materials. Currently, fatigue, creep and creep-fatigue failure mechanisms of new and existing alloys are mostly investigated through ex-situ testing or short duration in-situ uniaxial testing within SEM. Consequently, initiation and propagation of many failure mechanisms, especially interactions between creep and fatigue mechanisms in reducing high temperature component lives remain unknown. Hence, developing a shared in-situ testing laboratory (ISTL) is essential to allow NCSU researchers to perform novel research on nuclear materials addressing issues of fatigue, creep and creep-fatigue failure mechanisms.
The proposed ISTL dedicated to performing long-term fatigue, creep and creep-fatigue tests is in critical need to develop design criteria of VHTR materials for ASME Code Sec III Div 5. However, existing facilities at NCSU or any other universities or national labs in the nation do not have a facility dedicated to perform long term tests representing realistic loading conditions of VHTR. Therefore, a suitable SEM compatible with the MTMF system at NCSU is proposed to be acquired to develop an ISTL to address high temperature nuclear materials and ASME Code issues. With the availability of such a ISTL, uniaxial and multiaxial cyclic experiments prescribing realistic thermo-mechanical fatigue (TMF), creep and creep-fatigue loading can be performed on specimens of VHTR materials, such as Alloy 617, 316H, 800H, Grade 91 steel, for addressing the high temperature component design and development issues. Finally, because of the size of commercially available TMF systems, these cannot be used for in-situ SEM testing, which is essential for investigating existing alloys and developing new alloy for VHTRs. Hence, acquisition of a SEM will give the NCSU research community unprecedented capability to perform fundamental research and educate next generation scientists in studying real-time long-term microstructure evolution of nuclear materials under uniaxial and multiaxial loading. In addition, the proposed equipment will allow training undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs in performing material characterization using advanced techniques and provide hands on experiences to students in various undergraduate and graduate courses.
A1: The Urban Flooding Open Knowledge Network (UF-OKN): Delivering Flood Information to AnyOne, AnyTime, AnyWhereUniversity of Cincinnati4148842020-09-012023-08-31AwardedAngela Harris; Sankarasubraman Arumugam; Sanmugavadivel RanjithanFloods impact a series of interconnected urban systems (referred to in this project as the Urban Multiplex) that include the power grid and transportation networks, surface water and groundwater, sewerage and drinking water systems, inland navigation and dams, and other system, all of which are intertwined with the socioeconomic and public health sectors. This project uses a convergent approach to integrate these multiple interconnected systems and merges state-of-the-art practices in hydrologic and hydraulic engineering; systems analysis, optimization and control; machine learning, data and computer science; epidemiology; socioeconomics; and transportation and electrical engineering to develop an Urban Flood Open Knowledge Network (UF-OKN). The UF-OKN will be built by bringing together academic and non-academic researchers from engineering, computer science, social science, and economics. The UF-OKN is envisioned to empower decision makers and the general public by providing information not just on how much flooding may occur from a future event, but also to show the cascading impact of a flood event on natural and engineered infrastructure of an urban area, so that more effective planning and decision-making can occur.
Collaborative Research: GCR: Common Pool Resource Theory as a Scalable Framework for Catalyzing Stakeholder-Driven Solutions to the Freshwater Salinization SyndromeNational Science Foundation (NSF)4944212020-09-012025-08-31AwardedEmily Berglund; Thomas BirklandDr. Birkland will contribute his expertise on environmental policy and on key theories of the public policy-making process, with a focus on operationalization of the Institutional Analysis and Development-Socio-Ecological Systems (IAD-SES) framework.
Seasonal Effects due to Moisture Variation and Investigation of Cyclic Fatigue Temperature and End Failure on Pavement PerformanceApplied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA)1722732020-08-122023-02-10AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Youngsoo KimIn this research study, NCSU will conduct experiments and analysis to improve the AASHTO TP 133 protocol by incorporating more scientifically based temperature selection guide and providing guidance on the maximum air void content for specimens that are subjected to this standard test method. In addition, NCSU will update the FlexPAVETM software to incorporate seasonal effects into the base layer and the user guides for improved usability. This research supports ongoing FHWA efforts as part of a performance-related specification framework which seeks to increase pavement life through fundamental testing and predictive relationships. Recent developments in these performance tests, adoption of standards, FlexMATTM, FlexMIXTM, and FlexPAVETM provide highway agencies and asphalt paving community with a unique opportunity to use performance tests and mechanistic models for asphalt PEMD, asphalt pavement design, and performance related specifications to integrate these different phases in pavement construction using the same test methods and mechanistic principles. These tools help link material characteristics from testing with mechanistic models to predict performance; and ultimately identify how to best design, construct, and accept a pavement.
NCSU will carry out the following tasks.
Task 1 – Develop final research plans and project schedule – The proposed plan will be revised based on feedback from the FHWA.
Task 2 – Kickoff meeting – NCSU will meet with the project panel to review the statement of work and work plans.
Task 3 – Perform work plan and document efforts – NCSU will carry out the approved work plan by following the appropriate ASTM standard test methods to develop a rugged test method.
Task 4 – Draft Final Revised FlexPAVETM Software, Installation, and User Guides – NCSU will update the user interface, installation guide, and user guide for the FlexPAVETM software.
Task 5 –Presentation and webinar – NCSU will present their findings to targeted stakeholders.
Task 6 – Publication ready final deliverables – the reports will be revised and finalized and AASHTO standards will be revised into a final form.
Development of Updated Seismic Hazard DefinitionModjeski and Masters 175242020-07-312022-12-31AwardedMervyn KowalskyThe objective of this work is to develop an updated seismic hazard definition for use in the design of bridges nationwide. Previous efforts, including the work of NCHRP 12-106, have resulted in 1000-year return period uniform-hazard design spectra based on the USGS 2018 hazard model. A risk-targeted approach will be used to develop alternative nationwide design spectra, still based on the 2018 hazard model. This will be compared to the 1000-year motions. Based on direction from the T-3 chair, a web-based portal will be created and hosted by the USGS that will provide the selected design spectrum, in both acceleration and displacement formats, for a given latitude-longitude and site class pairing.
Seismic Development of Anchorage Port Access Bridge #0455: Phase IIState of Alaska, Department of Transportation4983012020-07-232023-12-31AwardedJames Nau; Mervyn KowalskyBased upon a seismic analysis performed in 2013, the Anchorage Port Access bridge (Bridge number 0455) requires a seismic retrofit to safely accommodate the design earthquake. The bridge, shown in Figure 1, has several deficiencies including steel column-to-cap beam connections that were determined to perform poorly under seismic loading during the first phase of this study. The objective of this study is to develop retrofit recommendations through large scale testing, modelling, and analysis.
During phase one of the work, a global computational model (using lumped plasticity frame elements) was developed to assess bridge deformation demands. As part of that work, hysteretic response of the components was represented through consideration of results of a local FEM model and experimental tests. Also included in that model was the impact of damping model choices, soil-structure interaction, and ground motion directionality. The local FEM model considered the details of the individual connections to assess stress concentrations, and was calibrated through the experimental tests. Lastly, the experiments that were conducted included half scale models of two representative bridge bents that were subjected to reversed cyclic loading. Details of each of these components of the first phase of work are described next.
CAREER: Leveraging the Multifunctional Redox Properties of Pyrogenic Materials to Enable Biological Transformations of Aqueous Organic ContaminantsNational Science Foundation (NSF)3926902020-07-012025-06-30AwardedDouglas CallThere is an urgent need to develop solutions to treat legacy and emerging organic contaminants in water. The objective of this proposal is to investigate the ability of a new class of electrically conductive, biocompatible materials that can quickly and selectively mediate the degradation of mixtures of organic contaminants. The results will lay the foundation for strategies to remediate contaminated environments and degrade contaminants in water/wastewater.
Evaluating Recycling Agents' Acceptance for Virginia: Test Protocols and Performance-Based Threshold CriteriaVirginia Transportation Research Council2481132020-07-012023-05-31AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Cassandra CastorenaIn 2007, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) introduced specifications to allow higher percentages of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) (i.e., up to 30%) in hot-mix asphalt (HMA) surface mixtures without adjustment of the virgin binder grade. The increased use of RAP was expected to result in a lower cost of produced asphalt mixtures given the continuous rising cost of oil and thus asphalt binders and fuel needed to produce asphalt pavements. By 2013, VDOT had begun to consider the feasibility of allowing the use of surface mixtures containing up to 45% of RAP material. Several trial sections were constructed containing mixtures with 20%, 30%, 40%, and 45% RAP for evaluation (Nair et al., 2019). In general, those trials found that mixtures containing up to 45% RAP could be designed, produced, and constructed if proper procedures are followed. In 2019, the research team at Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) initiated another study to evaluate field trials of high RAP asphalt mixtures (i.e., more than 40%) designed following the Balanced Mix Design (BMD) special provision for VDOT’s surface mixtures. The primary concern with such mixtures has been that the use of high percentage of RAP will
overly stiffen mixtures; making them more brittle and prone to premature cracking. The use of high percentage of RAP can lead to numerous construction and performance issues including, but not limited to, compactibility and workability in cool weather, low-temperature cracking with accumulation of thermally induced stresses, fatigue cracking and micro damage accumulation leading to crack initiation and propagation with repeated loading, reflection cracking with repeated loading and daily / seasonal thermal stresses, and raveling with subsequent aging or moisture damage. The challenges arising from the use of high RAP content mixtures can be addressed through the use of softer binders or additives such as recycling agents (RAs). These additives were utilized in HMA in the early period of widespread recycling in the 1970s and 1980s for the purpose of realizing three types of benefits: environmental, economic, and engineering. The use of RAs holds promise as long as there is a proper understanding of how effectively they restore binder rheology and how that effectiveness evolves with aging of mixtures in the laboratory, making them proper additives to be incorporated in mixtures to be placed in field. Hence, there is a need
for an engineered framework to evaluate RAs in terms of their stiffness and cracking resistance when incorporated into the binder blends of corresponding mixtures. Currently, there are no unique and / or detailed handy guides or specifications that outline a framework to evaluate acceptability of RAs in the state of Virginia. Therefore, this study aims to identify and / or develop a testing protocol to evaluate the effectiveness of RAs in alleviating the brittleness of high RAP asphalt mixtures. In addition, a performance-based parameter(s) with its threshold limits / criteria will be identified or developed to accept or reject a certain product (i.e., recycling agents). Both objectives will facilitate responsible use of innovative materials as part of Virginia’s Balanced Mix Design (BMD) initiative. In this study, NCSU researchers will conduct experiments on asphalt binder, asphalt from reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), rejuvenator agents, mortars, and asphalt mixture.
Training for Innovation in Smart and Sustainable Infrastructure (TISSI)VentureWell (formerly know as National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance)100002020-06-302022-08-31AwardedAndrew GrieshopThe goal of this program is to create a new design elective, 'Innovation in Smart and Sustainable Infrastructure' that will be incorporated in the Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering curriculum. The course will be facilitated by PI Grieshop and Co-PI Berglund, who will lead teams of students in course projects. Course projects will be developed in cooperation with faculty who will provide guidance throughout the semester in technical content and design. We will develop course projects around new technologies in water quality sensors, pavement materials, and water treatment that have clear market pathways. We will work with the Entrepreneurial Program at NC State to develop the technologies and connections that are needed to bring new inventions to the market. We plan to offer Innovation in Smart and Sustainable Infrastructure as an elective special topics course, with a long-term goal to develop this into a senior design course. The Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Program recently adopted a new sophomore-level course, Introduction to Sustainable Infrastructure, that is designed to introduce students to principles in problem solving, environmental sustainability, and engineering economics, along with social sustainability. The proposed course will build on principles that are developed at the sophomore level and will provide new training opportunities in entrepreneurship, sustainability, and state-of-the-art smart technologies. We expect that this will add a new dimension to our degrees to attract strong, passionate, and creative students to NC State. We hope to enable a new passion for innovation, smart technologies, and sustainable solutions in the up-coming generation of civil and environmental engineers.
Collaborative Research: Multiscalar Approaches to Understanding Syndemic Water InsecurityNational Science Foundation (NSF)851392020-05-012023-04-30AwardedAngela HarrisSocial scientists have turned to phenomenological, subjective measures of resource insecurity and have cogently demonstrated importance of water insecurity in predicting psycho-emotional and physical health outcomes (Hadley and Wutich 2009; Stevenson et al. 2012; Workman and Urkesoy 2017; Wutich 2006; Wutich and Ragsdale 2008). However, there remains a need to compare these experiential subjective measures with objective measures of water scarcity to better understand the predictive capacity of each and to fully understand the interrelationship between co-occurring stressors. This proposed research combines ethnographic methods with anthropometric assessments and quantitative measures of household water and food insecurity and community-level hydrological data. The objectives of this research are four-fold, Objective 1: ethnographically explore the lived experience of water insecurity in Morogoro, Tanzania, Objective 2: compare objective and subjective measures of water insecurity to understand how these factors predict psycho-emotional and physical health outcomes, Objective 3: assess syndemicity of water insecurity, Objective 4: synthesize political ecology and syndemic theory to expand our understanding and measurement of complex social phenomena.

Development of Optimized Decked Bulb-Tee Girders for AlaskaState of Alaska, Department of Transportation2393262020-04-222023-12-31AwardedGiorgio Proestos; Mervyn Kowalsky; Sanmugavadivel RanjithanBridge girder cross-sections continue to become regional in nature, with many state DOTs adopting their own unique sections at either the state or regional level. Typically, girders are developed without consideration of a formal ‘optimization’ of cross-section shape, or when any optimization was employed, the process of optimization and hence its outcome posed several limitations. For example, in many cases, the optimization focused on a single girder without considering any deck on it, whereas the lateral spacing of girders and thickness of the overhead deck are design variables which should be considered while optimizing the girder. Also, such optimization was often based on local search algorithms that do not guarantee global optimality, especially when the solution space is multi-dimensional and highly nonlinear. In most instances, optimization process only included ‘quantifiable’ factors like material cost, volume or weight, labor cost, and formwork cost, etc. But solutions that are mathematically optimal with respect to the quantified factors are not necessarily and readily acceptable when considering non-quantifiable factors and preferences pertaining to practical and field implementation issues. Hence, it is important to extend the optimization procedure to enable outcomes from a formal optimization to be integrated with important subjective considerations.

The objective of this research is to develop and apply contemporary meta-heuristic global search procedures for optimizing pre-tensioned decked bulb-tee girders for systematically identifying new optimized cross-section shapes. It is envisioned that, for a specific girder span length and a number of lateral girders, several maximally different alternative cross-sections with competitive structural and cost performance will be first identified; this will be repeated for different combinations of girder spans and numbers of girders to analyze and develop structural and cost performance characteristics variation with girder span length. Then in consultation with AKDOT and precast manufacturers, the alternative optimized cross-section shapes will be screened and fine-tuned based on practical considerations to identify a small set of ‘best feasible’ cross-section shapes. The cross sections to be explored here will be compared for structural performance and material savings against existing ‘optimized’ sections as well as various legacy sections used by Alaska DOT (existing decked-bulb-tee section), and sections employed elsewhere around the US (i.e., AASHTO girders, PCI Bulb-Tees).

Preliminary exploratory analysis will be conducted to study the effects of optimized cross-section shapes on extending the girder spans and reducing the number of spans, and therefore the approximate (empirically estimated) net life-cycle cost savings of the bridge system considering the number of piers, foundations, abutments, etc. We expect the outcomes of this project will potentially benefit the AKDOT in improving the ability to span longer distances, reducing overall bridge construction cost, and using resources more efficiently.
Quality Assurance (QA) Aspects of Performance Related Specifications (PRS)Auburn University3757842020-04-152022-08-13AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Youngsoo KimThe objective of this research is to develop guidance to integrate the performance predictive capabilities of the PASSFlexTM software and its suite of tools (FlexPAVETM version 2.0, FlexMATTM, and FlexMIXTM) within a statistically sound QA system in a PRS framework. The research shall address:

(a) the use of the cyclic fatigue Sapp and SSR allowable traffic for rutting (ATR) index test parameters, index thresholds, and acceptance limits in support of performance engineered mixture design (PEMD) approaches and to facilitate further implementation of the tests and performance predictions,

(b) material selection and mixture design changes that can impact the test results (cyclic fatigue, SSR, and their index parameters) and trends associated with owner agency specified performance thresholds, and

(c) the major elements of a QA system (per TRB E-Circular 235, Glossary of Transportation Construction Quality Assurance Terms ( and associated buyer/seller and payment risks.
CO2 Utilization for Geothermal Energy Production and Renewable Energy StorageUniversity of Michigan1169282020-04-012023-03-31AwardedJeremiah JohnsonThe University of Michigan and partners at North Carolina State University and Ohio State University propose the research project “CO2 Utilization for Geothermal Energy Production and Renewable Energy Storage” to address the need to develop and deploy carbon negative energy technologies. The research team led by Brian Ellis (PI) includes Co-PIs Jeffrey Bielicki (Ohio State University) and Jeremiah Johnson (North Carolina State University), and industrial collaborator, TerraCOH. The PIs will combine their complementary expertise in the geochemistry of geologic carbon dioxide (CO2 ) storage (GCS), geothermal reservoir engineering, systems-scale techno-economic modeling and optimization, and power systems modeling to provide technical advancements that will enable the deployment of novel CO2-based geo-energy systems.
The Use of Bio-cementation to Dewater Mine Tailings and SlimeNewFields327772020-04-012025-06-30AwardedBrina MontoyaBio-cementation is a novel approach to improve the stability of the byproduct materials by using natural, biological processes to cement the particles together and induce flocculation. The objective of the proposed work is to demonstrate proof-of-concept results that bio-cementation can be used as a dewatering technique for iron ore tailings and slime and to develop a treatment protocol with guidance towards upscaling the treatment process. There are some similarities between the proposed iron ore tailings and slime and the previously tested MFT (e.g., high water content, similar particle size distribution); however, the geochemistry of the tailings and slime may be different which may influence the bio-cementation process.
Occurrence of PFAS in US Wastewater Treatment PlantsCDM Smith466002020-03-262022-07-01AwardedDetlef KnappeThe overall goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive, methodologically consistent dataset regarding PFAS occurrence, fate, and mass distribution in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). This dataset will provide the scientific justification to develop appropriate guidance for site managers that benchmarks typical PFAS mass flows from WWTPs, sampling procedures and analytical methods, as well as potential mitigation strategies specific to WWTP unit processes. Specific objectives include: i) assessing the occurrence of a wide range of PFAS (32 target analytes and 325 precursors) and their fate in solid and liquid streams, ii) applying statistical tools to identify potential geographical or seasonal variables that impact WWTP susceptibility to PFAS, iii) determining the impacts of various treatment processes, including advanced treatment processes, on PFAS fate and partitioning, particularly PFAA precursor transformation, and iv) identifying key elements or data gaps in PFAS occurrence and fate in
WWTPs to develop guidelines and mitigation/management strategies for PFAS.
Ruggedness and Interlaboratory Studies for Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester (AMPT) Small Scale Dynamic ModulusApplied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA)3815792020-03-112023-06-23AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Cassandra Castorena; Youngsoo KimIn this research study, NCSU will design, conduct, and provide recommendations relating to a two-phase ruggedness and interlaboratory study on a test method that has been identified as critical to asphalt pavement performance and design practice. AASHTO TP 132 (2019) Standard Method of Test for Determining the Dynamic Modulus for Asphalt Mixtures Using Small Specimens in the Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester (AMPT) has been developed, refined, and recently published as an AASHTO provisional standard; a statistically sound refinement procedure is needed to facilitate widespread adoption and implementation. Not only can this standard be used to obtain inputs to the AASHTO PavementME pavement structural analysis software, the standard is being used in ongoing FHWA efforts as part of a performance-related specification framework which seeks to increase pavement life through fundamental testing and predictive relationships. AASHTO TP 132 is of interest because of its fundamental nature, determination via the AMPT standardized equipment, and its ability to model and predict material performance over a wide range of loading and climate conditions a pavement may experience; resulting in better performing, safe, quiet, durable, long lasting asphalt roadways. Additionally, a draft practice for preparing small-scale specimens has been developed and published as AASHTO PP 99 (2019) Standard Method of Practice for Preparation of Small Cylindrical Performance Test Specimens Using the Superpave Gyratory Compactor (SGC) and Field Cores. This draft practice is of significant interest to the asphalt materials community due to anticipated materials, time, and cost savings associated with preparing and evaluating smaller performance test.
NCSU will carry out the following tasks.
Task 1 – Develop final research plans and project schedule – The proposed plan will be revised based on feedback from the FHWA.
Task 2 – Kickoff meeting – NCSU will meet with the project panel to review the statement of work and work plans.
Task 3 – Perform work plan and document efforts – NCSU will carry out the approved work plan by following the appropriate ASTM standard test methods to develop a rugged test method.
Task 4 – Ruggedness study presentations and webinar – NCSU will present the findings to targeted stakeholders.
Task 5 – Publication ready final deliverables – the AASHTO standards will be revised into a final form.
Task 6 – Revise work ILS work plan – NCSU will revise the original work plan from Task 1 based on findings from Tasks 3-5 for conducting the ILS study.
Task 7 – Perform work plan and document efforts – NCSU will coordinate the ILS according to the approved work plan. This will include identifying participants, sending materials, and analyzing their results statistically.
Task 8 – ILS study presentation and webinar – NCSU will present their findings to targeted stakeholders.
Task 9 – Publication ready final deliverables – the AASHTO standards revised in Task 5 will be modified to include repeatability and reproducibility statements.
Probabilistic Risk-Informed Approaches in Structural and Earthquake Engineering, CNEFS Core ProjectNCSU Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS)889102020-03-012022-12-31AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Giorgio ProestosIn recent years, flooding at nuclear power plants (NPP) has increased emphasis on using high fidelity simulations to evaluate the vulnerability of nuclear plants. One of the key limitations in the use of high fidelity simulations is related to a lack of verification and validation (V&V) of such simulations. One outcome of incomplete and insufficient V&V relates to a large degree of uncertainty in the simulation results which in turn leads to conservative assumptions by the decision makers. Past experience has shown that such conservative assumptions in the context of safety assessment for other external hazards such as seismic have resulted in highly overdesigned NPP systems and excessively high costs. Therefore, it is quite important that various uncertainties in this process are appropriately identified and included through formal uncertainty quantification (UQ). A robust framework for verification and validation is needed to not only include uncertainties but also to formalize the confidence in predictions of system level validation that are based on component level data using Bayesian Network. In addition, the framework has to identify the basic events that are critical in the perspective of overall validation. This process helps in allocating the resources efficiently thereby reducing the effort to conduct high fidelity simulations and large-scale experiments.
Repair Strategies for Waste Transfer Station Concrete OverlaysEnvironmental Research & Education Foundation1950002020-03-012023-07-31AwardedGiorgio Proestos; Mohammad Pour-GhazRecently, it has been shown that the premature deterioration of concrete overlays in waste transfer stations is a result of simultaneous exposure to leachate (organic acids) and mechanical abrasion by waste handling equipment. In our previous research, we developed a material design guide and specification that owners can use for design or bidding. There are however, important limitations to the developed guide in that it: (1) does not address repair strategies and repair material selection, (2) is limited to portland cement concrete, (3) does not cover the use of unconventional concretes such as iron aggregate and epoxy matrix, (4) applies to slabs with a minimum of 6-inch thickness and does not cover thin precast and prestressed overlays, and (5) does not include provisions for the use chemical or mineral admixtures that can increase the acid resistance of concrete. The industry is in need of low cost and effective repair strategies for existing concrete overlays. The goal of the proposed research is to develop a guideline for repair strategies and repair material selection that can be (1) used by owners and operators of waste transfer stations and (2) adopted and implemented by contractors without the need for specialized equipment and labor.
NC Transportation Center of Excellence on Mobility and CongestionNC Department of Transportation10000002020-02-012023-02-28AwardedAli Hajbabaie; Billy Williams; Eleni Bardaka; George List; Karl Monast; Nagui Rouphail; Noel Greis; Richard Chase JrThe NCDOT is launching a bold and forward-looking effort to establish multi-university transportation centers of excellence to provide broad-based, multidisciplinary research into the applications and impacts of cutting edge technologies and emergent, disruptive trends.

The projects included in our center proposal were custom-built to address the research areas spelled out in the request for proposals for the desired Mobility and Congestion center. The three themes are as follows:

• Theme #1: Big Data and Data-Driven Transportation Management and Decision Support
• Theme #2: Active Transportation Management/Integrated Corridor Management
• Theme #3: Transit and Mobility as a Service
Personal and Population Air Pollution Exposure Assessment Simulation for the Personalised Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System for Exposure – Hong Kong (PRAISE-HK)Hong Kong University of Science and Technology3028172020-01-012023-10-31AwardedAndrew Grieshop; Henry FreyUnder the direction of Dr. H. Christopher Frey, the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University will develop individual and population-based exposure models for human exposure to air pollution to support the Personalised Real-Time Air Quality Informatics System for Exposure – Hong Kong (PRAISE-HK) being developed at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
Membership in the Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS), Full MemberDominion Resources Services, Inc.2750002020-01-012022-12-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaFull Membership
Phase III IUCRC North Carolina State University: Center for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (CICI)National Science Foundation (NSF)1500002019-12-152024-11-30AwardedGregory Lucier; Jason Patrick; Kara Jo Peters; Mark Pankow; Rudolf Seracino
Abstract: The NSF IUCRC for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (CICI) is specialized at innovating advanced fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites and techniques for the rapid repair, strengthening or replacement of highway, railway, waterway, bridge, building, pipeline and other critical civil infrastructure. The Center consists of West Virginia University (WVU) as the lead institution in the current Phase II, with North Carolina State University (NCSU), the University of Miami (UM), and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) as partner university sites. CICI is currently establishing an international site at the Center for Engineering and Industrial Development (CIDESI) in Queretaro, Mexico, through a collaboration between NSF and the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) in Mexico. The primary objective of the Center is to accelerate the adoption of polymer composites and innovative construction materials into infrastructure through joint research programs between the university sites in collaboration with the composites and construction industries. In Phase III, CICI aims to broaden its scope of research in composites to include: 1) nondestructive testing methods; 2) manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing; 3) inspection techniques, such as the use of drones with high resolution cameras; 4) in-situ modifications of infrastructure systems, resulting in enhanced durability and thermo-mechanical properties; and 5) cost-effective recycling of high value composites, enabled by the addition of CIDESI.

External Pocket and Socket Connections for the Seismic Design of Alaska BridgesState of Alaska, Department of Transportation3400002019-12-092023-02-28AwardedGiorgio Proestos; Mervyn KowalskyAlaska is subjected to the highest seismic hazards within the US. As a consequence, their structural systems must be robust, redundant, and ductile such that interruptions to their service following an earthquake are minimal. Research over the last 20 years has led to improved design details that have been proven to work effectively by experimental, analytical, and field studies. However, much of Alaska is in a harsh environment with a comparatively short construction season. As a consequence, a premium is placed on rapid construction. Previous research has resulted in the development of an all-steel bridge system that can be easily constructed for temporary (or permanent) installations. That system has inspired the possibility of developing an alternative rapidly constructed bridge system for the more common bridge types deployed in Alaska – namely, Reinforced Concrete Filled Steel Tubes (RCFST) and Reinforced Concrete (RC) Column structures. These structural types are valued for their proven ductile performance. It is the goal of this research project to speed up the construction process, while retaining (or improving upon) their seismic behavior.
To that end, this research aims to develop Accelerated Bridge Construction connections for RCFST and RC bridge systems that use ‘external socket’ or ‘external pocket’ connections. This is distinctly different from existing ‘socket’ or ‘pocket’ connections that are internal to the cap and can compromise seismic behavior. Lessons learned from the development of the steel bridge system (termed the ‘Grouted Shear Stud (GSS) Connection) will be valuable as the connections described in this proposal are developed.
The research will consist of large scale experimental seismic tests on candidate connections coupled with advanced (and simple) computational models for their analysis and design. The end product will be a suite of connection types that are supported by experimental and analytical evidence that will lead to a simple design approach for their deployment in practice.
Probabilistic Risk Assessment Modeling Using MASTADONBattelle Energy Alliance, LLC1878272019-11-152023-03-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaThe proposed project builds upon the previous work of CNEFS in which CNEFS helped develop capabilities for Fault Tree Analysis in the Idaho National Lab (INL)’s MASTADON toolkit. The proposed project focuses on the following specific tasks
• Extend the fault-tree analysis and quantification to include event-trees

• Convert C++ code to MOOSE objects and implement in MASTODON.

• Create examples for PRA in MASTODON using the new fault-tree and event-tree quantification implementations

• Benchmark examples with Saphire
• Document these examples on the MASTODON website
Optimal Use of Grid-Connected Energy Storage to Reduce Human Health ImpactsNational Science Foundation (NSF)3350892019-11-152023-10-31AwardedFernando Menendez; Harrison Fell; Jeremiah Johnson; Melinda MorrillThis project will develop new methods to mitigate adverse human health impacts from power sector emissions through the targeted use of grid-connected energy storage. Energy storage devices, such as batteries or pumped storage hydropower, can shift both the time and location of power sector emissions based on their charging and discharging strategies. The overall human health impacts of criteria pollutants such as SO2 and NOx are closely related to the both temporal and spatial distribution of emissions. The overarching research question that will be answered is: Can operational strategies for grid-connected energy storage yield cost-effective reductions in the human health impacts associated with power sector emissions?

To answer this question, the research team will develop a unit commitment and economic dispatch model with energy storage to determine optimal power system operations and provide unit-level SO2 and NOx emissions. A reduced-form air pollution transport model will provide spatially- and temporally-resolved PM2.5 and O3 concentrations stemming from power plant and energy storage dispatch decisions. Human health damage cost estimates will determine the health response from changes in exposure to these secondary pollutants, coupling those results with the value of a statistical life and determine the unit-level marginal health damage costs associated with the primary emissions. Those costs then serve as inputs into the power system model to allow real-time decision making, effectively internalizing the externality costs of the emissions and yielding the optimal charge/discharge behavior of the energy storage to cost-effectively reduce human health impacts.
Sustainability of Barrier Island Protection Policies under Changing ClimatesUS Army - Corps of Engineers2266242019-10-302022-10-29AwardedJoel DietrichThis project will address the problem of beach and dune nourishment in a changing climate. As storms become more powerful and seas continue to rise, major erosion events will occur more frequently. However, coastal communities do not yet understand how to evaluate their increasing vulnerabilities and adapt their long-term planning. We will identify which climate patterns most often trigger the need to nourish, the variability of the time interval between such nourishments, and the economic costs and sediment volumes necessary to maintaining this coastal protection policy into the 21st century. A stochastic climate emulator will first be developed to simulate 1000s of realizations of chronological climate patterns (forced by satellite and GCM products) to create future storm events coupled with sea level rise scenarios. A library of high fidelity, open source, hydrodynamic and morphologic simulations (SWAN+ADCIRC and XBeach) will then be used to develop a surrogate model to predict erosion and flooding for each future realization. Triggers like beach width, dune height, and community preferences will be used to identify how often communities will need to re-nourish, contingent on future climate and sea level rise scenario.
Novel Miniature Creep Tester for Virgin and Neutron Irradiated Clad Alloys with Benchmarked Multiscale Modeling and SimulationsUS Dept. of Energy (DOE)7250002019-10-012023-09-30AwardedJacob Eapen; Korukonda Murty; Tasnim HassanFast and accurate measurements of creep are needed for qualifying new alloys for current and next generation reactors. For recently developed ferritic alloys such as FeCrAl, the lack of creep/fatigue data is more acute. To address this concern, this project will design and develop a novel miniature creep testing system for performing creep and load relaxation tests at multiple scales inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The primary objectives of the proposal are: (i) Collect rapid thermal creep and load relaxation data for two selected ferritic alloys: FeCrAl and oxide dispersed strengthened (ODS-14YWT) alloy at accelerated test conditions using solid, thin-walled and flat specimens under biaxial and uniaxial loading conditions across a temperature range of 500 ºC to 1000 ºC, (ii) Benchmark select data from miniature specimens against data from conventional creep tests with larger samples, (iii) Extract deformation mechanisms using in-situ SEM for virgin and neutron irradiated samples using the miniature tester, which otherwise is onerous with macroscopic creep equipment, and (iv) Perform mesoscale discrete dislocation dynamics (DD) simulations using information derived from SEM, and macroscopic constitutive modeling for predicting long-time behavior.
Gcr: Microbial Response To A Changing Planet: The Role Of Microbes In Mineral Precipitation Resulting In Exceptional Fossil Preservation And Co2 SequestrationNational Science Foundation (NSF)6387512019-10-012024-09-30AwardedAmy Grunden; Brina Montoya; Ethan Hyland; Manuel Kleiner; Mary SchweitzerWhen seeking solutions to today's elevated atmospheric CO2 levels, it is critical that we include data from the past, because atmospheric CO2 concentrations have fluctuated throughout Earth history. In fact, CO2 levels have been consistently higher in the past—often significantly higher, at times perhaps as much as 6x pre-industrial values. The biological response of life on Earth to these global conditions, from their onset to their cessation, is recorded in the rock record. Intriguingly, Konservat Lagerstätte (e.g., sedimentary deposits that preserve fossils in extraordinary detail) occur more frequently in the distant past (i.e., deep time) than in more recent depositional environments. Could these be linked? We hypothesize that ancient microorganisms responded to pre-Cenozoic high atmospheric CO2 by sequestering carbon through very rapid precipitation of carbonate minerals in terrestrial, as well as marine settings. This increase in microbial precipitation of carbonates, sometimes as concretions, created conditions favorable to the stabilization of normally labile tissues and the exclusion of exogenous, degradative influences. These factors very likely contributed to exceptional preservation of fossil remains, including persistence of non-biomineralized (i.e., “soft”) tissues. Although microbes have been invoked as agents of preservation as well as destruction, because they act to “seal” sediments surrounding bone to form a relatively closed system, to date, the effect of contemporaneous atmospheric CO2 levels on microbial carbonate precipitation, and its implications for preservation, have not been explored. The convergence research we propose would enable us to design and implement empirical studies that directly test this idea, and characterize the microbial influence in depositional environments producing exceptionally preserved fossils. Thus, we ask the following: 1) Did the elevated CO2 in Mesozoic atmospheres play a role in microbially mediated exceptional preservation? 2) If this can be demonstrated through actualistic experiments and fossil studies, could this mechanism of fossil preservation also shed light on microbial sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in terrestrial environments? 3) Furthermore, can this understanding of microbially mediated CO2 sequestration be harnessed for development of robust, scalable carbon-capture systems?
To test these hypotheses, we propose a two-pronged approach. We will conduct empirical tests that involve growing known microbially induced carbonate precipitation (MCIP) strains, as well as microbial communities from relevant environments, under conditions of Mesozoic proxy atmospheres. We will compare the rate and degree of precipitation in organisms grown in enriched CO2 with those of the same strains grown in ambient atmospheres, to characterize the effects of elevated CO2 on precipitation rates. Then, we will examine: 1) the sediments surrounding exceptionally preserved fossils, 2) the composition of concretions that contain fossil material, 3) the morphological and molecular preservation of the fossils themselves, and 4) biomarkers associated with microbes in these fossil materials, using a combination of chemical and molecular techniques. Our interdisciplinary team will work synergistically to examine the role of microbes in both fostering and impeding exceptional preservation, the relationship of exceptional preservation to elevated atmospheric CO2, and potential microbial pathways that can be exploited to accomplish terrestrial carbon sequestration. Such pathways are rarely considered in the dialogue regarding potential solutions to anthropogenic carbon release, but may present a viable, cost-effective mitigation measure
A Data-Driven Approach to High Precision Construction and Reduced Overnight Cost and ScheduleUS Dept. of Energy (DOE) - Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)11231812019-09-302022-09-30AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Kook HanThe nuclear construction industry has experienced huge escalations in overnight construction and schedule delays due to (i) extremely stringent nuclear safety and quality assurance (QA) standards, (ii) inexperience in managing and staffing to nuclear QA standards, (iii) excessive paperwork, and (iv) supply chain delays due to rework. This proposal will investigate a holistic data-driven approach to integrate modern construction automation approaches with a digital decision environment for eliminating paperwork, construction performance monitoring and QA, and use of risk-informed approaches to manage variations in construction and mechanical tolerances to eliminate rework. The proposed work will build upon recent advances in AI/ML to facilitate decision support through analysis of visual data, design data, and knowledge base.
Quantification of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in LandfillsUS Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)9000002019-09-012023-08-31AwardedMorton BarlazThe overall objective of the proposed research is to develop an estimate of the mass of PFASs that are present in LFG and to begin to develop information the factors that impact their release. The proposed research will include measurements at full-scale landfills as well as measurements in lab scale reactors to understand trends in PFAS release during the decomposition cycle, the impact of waste age on PFAS concentrations and the impact of soil attenuation on PFAS release.
Shoreline Monitoring at Oregon Inlet Terminal GroinNC Department of Transportation6360382019-08-162022-08-15AwardedElizabeth Sciaudone; Margery OvertonIn August 2012, a new terminal groin permit associated with the new Basnight Bridge was signed. As with the original (1989) Oregon Inlet Terminal Groin permit, the new permit requires NC DOT to monitor the adjacent beach in order to determine whether or not there is adverse impact of the presence of the terminal groin, including a determination of whether sediment loss is greater than that predicted by the historical rates. In addition, NC DOT has proposed coastal and biological monitoring in support of the NC 12 Transportation Management Plan (NC 12 TMP) alternative (as discussed in the B-2500 ROD) and a review of the historical rate used for a basis comparison. The monitoring associated with the NC 12 TMP is needed in order to determine the location and extent of future phases of the B-2500 project. This study will gather and analyze the data that is needed to satisfy the requirements of both 1) the new terminal groin permit and 2) the coastal monitoring program component of the NC 12 TMP. The present proposal includes the following program elements: 1) data collection by NC DOT, 2) monitoring of the existing Oregon Inlet terminal groin, 3) mapping and modeling of coastal habitat changes, 4) TMP coastal monitoring, including development of vulnerability indicators related to the island morphology, and 5) integration of physical and biological monitoring data from NC DOT with the morphological indicators. An annual report will be developed detailing the program tasks and annual results, including a comparison with baseline conditions.
Collaborative Research: Implementation Strategies and Performance of Unsaturated Bio-Cemented Dune SandNational Science Foundation (NSF)1897922019-08-152023-07-31AwardedBrina MontoyaDunes often present the first line of defense for the built environment during extreme wave surge and storm events. In order to remain effective, dunes must resist erosion in the face of these incidents. Understanding the physics of dune erosion is critical for devising ways to mitigate it, and this is an active area of ongoing research. We propose to explore a novel approach using microbial induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) to stabilize and enhance natural protective structures. We will explore multiple treatment implementation techniques and assess their performance under extreme conditions. In the process, a case study of MICP treatment in an unsaturated dune environment will advance MICP towards more established in situ implementation. Furthermore, the numerical investigation will provide insight into when (e.g., anticipated loading conditions) each treatment implementation alternative is preferred, and the treatment design (e.g., required treatment dimensions) to have minimal impact to ecology with required engineering performance.
Economic Impacts of Transit Investments, Social Challenges, and Strategies for Sustaining High RidershipNC Department of Transportation2959012019-08-012022-12-31AwardedEleni BardakaThere are multiple short-term and long-term plans for larger and smaller-scale transit investments for the urban areas in North Carolina. However, there has not been a study on how the proposed transit projects are going to impact the urban areas of North Carolina economically. The objectives of this research are to (i) assist NCDOT with understanding the transformations expected to occur in urban areas because of upcoming transit investments; (ii) quantify the expected magnitude and spatial distribution of the economic impacts of transit investments in North Carolina as well as the anticipation effects of the proposed projects; (iii) estimate the magnitude and space-time dynamics of the expected socioeconomic changes in the regions close to the proposed projects and methods to prevent and mitigate negative externalities; (iv) identify the data that NCDOT should be collecting as part of the Atlas database before and after project implementation and associated automated tools of data analysis, for being able to evaluate the impacts of public transportation projects; and (v) provide a list of recommendations that are feasible for the state of North Carolina based on previous research and the experiences of other states for station-area policies, land-use development, last-mile solutions, public-private partnerships, and multimodal facilities that will lead to higher transit ridership in North Carolina. The proposed research will provide a clear quantitative understanding of the extent of economic benefits and social externalities incurred by various transit projects throughout North Carolina. This understanding will allow NCDOT to assess the value of the funded projects to businesses, individuals, and communities in North Carolina. Professors Bardaka and Thill are currently conducting research and have published journal articles on the social and economic impacts of transit projects.
PFI-TT: Leakage Detection in Water Distribution Systems Using Routine Pressure MeasurementsNational Science Foundation (NSF)2499582019-08-012023-07-31AwardedEarl Brill; Gnanamanikam Mahinthakumar; Jason Lamb; Sanmugavadivel RanjithanLeakage in bulk water pipelines is a major problem for many water utilities as it leads to significant economic losses and cause service disruptions threatening public safety. Most utilities currently employ intrusive methods based on acoustic or infrared signals that can be expensive, time consuming, and require trained personnel. Non-intrusive methods that currently exist require significant computational resources and are not suitable for real-time application. We have developed extremely fast leakage detection algorithms that are suitable for real-time application. These methods rely on a hydraulic model and routine pressure measurements and were developed as part of an NSF project funded from 2011-2016. In partnership with DC Water, Lakewood City (CA), TAGO (an Internet of Things (IoT) company based in Raleigh, NC), and Citilogics (a smart water analytics company based in Cincinnati, OH) we will conduct a proof-of-concept study for isolated sections of each utilities’ water networks. Data from existing pressure sensors as well as new sensors installed at strategic locations in the network will be used to validate our algorithms using experimentally simulated leakage scenarios. Citilogics will provide necessary expertise and software for processing the real time data suitable for inputs into the hydraulic model from AMI, SCADA, and CMMS systems. TAGO will build an IoT framework for acquiring the pressure data (from sensors) in real-time and for integrating our algorithms and associated filters on cloud resources. Partner utilities will install the pressure sensors as needed and execute the experiment. NCSU will design the experiment, build the hydraulic model and the leak detection analytics, test the IoT architecture, and evaluate the potential for commercialization.
Quality Control of Field Asphalt Mixtures and Compatibility of Aggregates and Emulsions using Asphalt Compatibility Tester (ACT)NC Department of Transportation5024322019-08-012022-12-31AwardedAkhtarhusein Tayebali; Cassandra CastorenaAsphalt mixtures used in pavement construction are required to meet the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) moisture sensitivity specifications. To improve resistance to moisture damage various antistrip additives are used by the asphalt plants producing asphalt mixtures. These antistrip additives help improve the adhesion between asphalt and aggregate and thus improve the resistance of the asphalt mixtures to moisture damage. The antistrip additives are added to the asphalt mixture at the plant by various mechanisms based on the type of antistrip additive being used or they come premixed with the asphalt liquid. The additive is usually added to the asphalt liquid. A problem in the mechanism used to add the antistrip additive to the asphalt might lead to a lesser amount, or no antistrip additive being added into the asphalt mixture. This might lead to the asphalt mixture not meeting the NCDOT moisture sensitivity specifications. Since the additive is added to the asphalt liquid, any problem in the mechanism will not be noticed until the asphalt mixture is tested for its moisture sensitivity.
Screening of Asphalt Extenders and Recycling AgentsNC Department of Transportation3066682019-08-012022-12-31AwardedCassandra CastorenaThe use of asphalt mixtures containing high Recycled Binder Replacements (RBRs) is increasing. Recycled binders are oxidized and thus, harder and more susceptible to cracking than virgin binders. Consequently, the use of higher recycled content mixtures has prompted heightened interest in recycling agents and necessitated the use of asphalt extenders to produce softer virgin binder grades. Recycling agents include a wide-range of both softening agents and rejuvenators that are intended to restore the physical and chemical properties of aged asphalt binders. Petroleum-based extender products have been in existence for a long time (e.g., Re-refined Engine Oil Bottom (REOB)). Non-petroleum based products have been more recently introduced (e.g., bio-oils).
Proposal for an Open Energy Outlook (OEO)Alfred P. Sloan Foundation4000002019-08-012023-12-31AwardedJeremiah Johnson; Joseph DeCarolisThe United States must find policy solutions that enable deep decarbonization of the energy system in order to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Appropriate action will require fundamental changes in the way we produce and consume energy. Policy makers face the monumental challenge of crafting effective climate policy in the face of deep future uncertainty. Computer models of the energy system – referred to as energy system models – provide a way to examine future energy system evolution and test the effects of proposed policy. Unfortunately, many of these computer models are opaque to outsiders and are used to run a few scenarios that produce limited insight. Given the stakes associated with climate change mitigation, we must do better. Our project aims to bring energy modeling into the twenty-first century by applying the gold standards of policy-focused academic modeling, maximizing transparency, building a networked community, and working towards a common goal: examining U.S. energy futures to inform future energy and climate policy efforts.
Efficacy and Durability of Advanced Retrofitted Emissions Controls for Passenger Service Diesel LocomotivesNC Department of Transportation2782942019-08-012022-12-31AwardedAndrew Grieshop; Henry FreyIn the next several years, the NCDOT Rail Division will add locomotives to the fleet it provides for the Amtrak-operated Piedmont passenger rail service between Raleigh and Charlotte. NCDOT is taking a leadership role in demonstrating new retrofit Blended After-Treatment System (BATS) emission controls for both existing and newly added locomotives. These emission controls are based on selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for control of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and diesel particle filters for control of particulate matter emissions. NOx and PM are harmful to public health and are regulated with respect to emissions and air quality. The effectiveness of these controls will depend on actual passenger rail service for actual duty cycles on the Piedmont route. Furthermore, SCR effectiveness may depend on exhaust temperature, which varies depending on engine load, and the durability of both SCR and DPF under retrofit conditions for a diesel locomotive has not been quantified.
Evaluation of Inverted Pavement for NC RoadwaysNC Department of Transportation3146072019-08-012022-12-31AwardedBenjamin Underwood; Murthy GuddatiNorth Carolina current allows two basic types of pavement design on NCDOT roadways; 1) those whose structural capacity comes primarily from asphalt concrete (flexible pavements) and 2) those whose structural capacity comes primarily from portland cement concrete (rigid pavements). These designs have been used successfully in many applications throughout the State; however, they utilize a large amount of relatively expensive and difficult to produce materials (asphalt concrete and portland cement concrete). A third technique, inverted pavement design that requires less of these materials and is purported to provide equivalent or superior performance is not currently allowed with the NCDOT specifications. Inverted pavements consist of a 2 - 3.5-inch asphalt concrete surface, supported by a 6 – 10-inch layer of unbound aggregate base and then by 8 - 12 inches of a cement treated subbase. Literature and experience have shown that these pavements can be designed and used in many applications at a substantial cost savings. However, there are many unknowns when directly adopting design specifications from elsewhere as local materials, practices, and experience may not be fully accounted for. Thus, there exists a need to gain state specific experience in the engineering and performance of these structure before their adoption can be considered.
Monitoring and Modeling Sound-Side Erosion Near Oregon Inlet to Support Feasibility Level Transportation PlanningNC Department of Transportation2571342019-08-012022-07-31AwardedElizabeth SciaudoneSound-side processes including locally-generated waves, storm surge, sea level rise, and long-term morphological changes in the southernmost flood channel of Oregon Inlet are likely the cause of 80-100 ft of marsh loss in the north end of Pea Island between January 2011 and February 2018. The long-term erosion that increases the proximity of the NC 12 highway to the Pamlico Sound, and therefore the vulnerability of the road, calls for immediate attention on the estuarine-side processes in the north end of Pea Island that can affect the maintenance and future operation of the NC 12 transportation corridor. Thus, the proposed project seeks to investigate the erosive effects of locally-generated waves and of the southernmost flood channel of Oregon Inlet parallel to the estuarine shoreline of Pea Island. The research questions to be addressed in this project are: (1) What are the ranges of flow velocities, wave, and wind conditions causing estuarine shoreline erosion near Oregon Inlet in the short- (storms) and long-term (months to years)? (2) Are there technically feasible mitigation options that could be implemented at this location that could help slow down or stop estuarine shoreline erosion?
Evaluating Integral Abutment PerformanceNC Department of Transportation2944012019-08-012023-07-31AwardedRudolf SeracinoIntegral abutment (IA) bridges may provide many advantages over conventional bridges during construction and subsequent maintenance. NCDOT has been designing various types of IA bridges. Unlike conventional bridges, IA bridges do not have expansion joints within the bridge deck or between the bridge deck and supporting abutments. Expansion joints and bearings in a conventional bridge are costly, and leaking joints cause deterioration of girders and bearings — leading to potential¬ly unsafe conditions and high maintenance and repair costs. Besides cost savings related to construction and maintenance, IA bridges also provide superior performance during extreme loading events, such as earthquake and blast loading, and are being built at an increasing rate in the United States.
NCDOT began utilizing integral abutments in 2006. Since that time, NCDOT has provided varying guidance and details for integral abutments, but the overall performance of each detail has not been documented. Because IA bridges are built without expansion joints, thermal expansion and contraction must be accommodated by movement of the abutments. Thus, significant forces can develop in the bridge structure, abutments, piles, and soil surrounding the bridge substructure. The magnitude of these forces and response of the IA bridge to them is strongly dependent on the stiffness of the bridge structure, pile foundations, and soil. If the piles and soil are too stiff, large unwanted forces/stresses may develop in the bridge. On the other hand, if the backfill is relatively flexible and the embankment and foundation soil is stiff, unwanted yielding of the piles may occur at the bottom of the abutment. The fact that the soil response is strongly dependent on moisture content, which can vary significantly both seasonally and over the life of the bridge, results in unexpected problems. NCDOT reported that components of their integral abutments have been removed, added, or revised to address construction and maintenance problems without monitoring the influence of the revisions. Evaluation of these revisions is needed and recommendations for updates provided, as required.
Commercial Partner Engagement for Trash ExcluderBill and Melinda Gates Foundation5000002019-07-252023-02-28AwardedFrancis De Los Reyes IIIThe goal of the project is to develop a low-cost, portable auger-based technology that can reliably and hygienically empty a wide variety of pit latrines and septic tanks containing wastes with a range of moisture and trash contents. After extensive field and lab testing, we have finalized an EV design that was successful in emptying pit latrines in the field while successfully excluding trash.

Two technologies have been developed: a mechanized trash excluder that actively rejects trash in a pit while allowing emptying of the fecal sludge, and a complete, low-cost system that uses a vacuum and an excluder to empty the de-trashed fecal sludge to pit-side containers (currently called “Flexcrevator”). We also recently finished a generalized market/business analysis for both technologies. NC State’s focus during this part of the project will be to coordinate work with potential commercial partners and contractors to design, build, and test Design Validation (DV) trash excluders. The primary outcomes and results will be:
• Design, build a minimum of five (5) DV trash excluder units and create the necessary documentation for Design Validation with an outside contract manufacturer (per New Product Development Guideline)
• Testing a minimum of two units (2) units in Ghana with an interested commercial partner (iDE Ghana/Sama Sama) over the course of at least 7 months as a means to understand the performance of the unit and collect commercialization data. This information will be used to develop business model documentation in Ghana, including supply chain, marketing, financing, sales plan.
• Testing of the two (2) units will also include a study led by NC State on gender impacts: how the trash excluder operation, access, ownership/business operation, and the how the business of pit emptying is affected by gender. The goal is to identify barriers to inclusive use of the device and define explicit ways to remove these barriers.

Constructibility Review EffectivenessUNC - East Carolina University1176392019-07-012022-12-31AwardedDaniel Findley; William RasdorfThe North Carolina State Institute, in its role as subcontractor to East Carolina University, will perform a total of $109,639 in contracted work from the period of August 2019 to July 2021.
1. Task 1. Kickoff Meeting. NC State will assist with the identification and scope of the research project. In addition, NC State will assist in the presentation of the data collection plan, methodologies for data analysis, and final products, as directed by ECU.
2. Task 2. Develop Literature Review on Best Practices. For this task, NC State will work collaboratively with ECU in the development of the literature review concerning best practices for conducting the constructability review process. Where appropriate, NC State will provide the relevant expertise and guidance.
3. Task 3. Schedule Stakeholder Meetings and Attend Constructability Review Meetings. will work collaboratively with ECU to schedule phone interviews with relevant stakeholders, focusing on those who have participated in previous constructability review meetings. In addition, NC State will lead the development of a comprehensive database of concerns raised by various project stakeholders (e.g., project owner, design engineers, general contractors, etc.)
4. Task 4. Refine Review Process and Establish Metrics. For this task, NC State will assist ECU in the development of constructability metrics and, where appropriate, establish new metrics for review. NC State will assist in the presentation of findings and metric recommendations to NCDOT.
5. Task 5. Develop Tracking Methods/Benefits Assessment Methodology and Tool. NC State will assist in the development of the tool methodology and action plan; NC State will lead in the database development. Finally, NC State will assist in the development of the draft constructability review tool which will be provided to NCDOT Value Management Office staff.
6. Task 6. Development of Action Plan and Spreadsheet Tool. NC State will assist in the refinement and development of the final constructability review tool to NCDOT staff. In addition, NC State will assist ECU in providing a final action plan report (with recommendations) to NCDOT.

PFAS Transport & Exposure from DW & DietColorado School of Mines7000002019-05-012024-04-30AwardedDetlef Knappe; Jane HoppinPer- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are persistent organic pollutants of global concern. Over 3,000 PFASs are on the global market, but for most PFASs we lack information about their properties, environmental fate and transport, bioaccumulation in foods of plant and animal origin, and human exposure. The overarching objective of the proposed research is to develop actionable information on the fate, transport, bioaccumulation, and relative exposures of understudied PFASs in PFAS-impacted communities. Information developed in this research is expected to enable risk managers to make informed decisions and reduce uncertainties related to human PFAS exposures.
Field Demonstration and Comparison of Ex-Situ Treatment Technologies for Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in GroundwaterWater Research Foundation2000112019-04-012022-12-31AwardedDetlef KnappeCurrently, an unbiased and comprehensive assessment of the various treatment technologies for the removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from contaminated groundwater is lacking. Such an assessment is needed to facilitate PFAS treatment selection. As a result of the current uncertainties regarding PFAS treatment technologies, we have assembled a project team with expertise in a variety of PFAS treatment technologies with the overarching goal of generating the data necessary to compare, on a life-cycle assessment (LCA) and costing (LCC) basis, established and emerging PFAS treatment approaches.
IDREEM: Impact of Demand Response on short and long term building Energy Efficiency MetricsStanford University1895002019-03-142022-09-30AwardedJeremiah JohnsonWe will take a two-pronged approach to assess the impact of demand response (DR) on energy efficiency. 1) Using whole building electric load data corresponding to baseline and demand response operation along with energy efficiency audits from over 500,000 buildings in Northern California we will assess the impacts of DR on long-term energy efficiency trends. This builds on our preliminary work using data from a small collection of buildings which found that as buildings become more energy efficient they have less potential for demand response, but implementing demand response strategies in buildings generally improves their efficiency in the long run. 2) We will conduct experiments on multiple buildings on the University of Michigan and SLAC/Stanford campuses to assess the short-term energy efficiency implications of load shifting for grid ancillary services on building energy consumption. Our preliminary experimental work has shown that even when made to purely shift (not shed) load buildings increase energy use compared to their baselines. Existing building models do not capture this phenomenon.
Investigation of Treatment Alternatives for Short-Chain Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl SubstancesWater Research Foundation3500002019-03-012023-09-01AwardedDetlef KnappePoly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are contaminants of emerging concern for drinking water providers nationwide. As concerns about adverse health impacts have risen for long-chain PFASs, fluorochemical manufacturers have shifted their production to short-chain PFASs. As a result the detection frequency of short-chain PFASs in drinking water sources is increasing. The overarching objective of this research is to develop effective water treatment approaches for the control of short-chain PFASs. Treatment technologies, such as activated carbon adsorption, anion exchange, and high-pressure membrane filtration will be evaluated in both surface and ground water treatment contexts. In addition, innovative sorbents and destructive processes will be explored. Data generated in this study will inform life cycle analysis and cost models and will provide guidance for drinking water providers impacted by short-chain PFASs.
Rapid Seismic Repair of Column to Footing Connection- Phase 2State of Alaska, Department of Transportation2320002019-01-172022-12-31AwardedMervyn Kowalsky; Rudolf SeracinoBridge column repair has been studied for some time with several established techniques for repair for shear and confinement critical columns. Recent research at NC State has demonstrated the feasibility of repair of heavily damaged bridge columns, including those suffering buckling and fracture of reinforcement, through the use of ‘Plastic Hinge Relocation’. That research led to the development of a set of repair techniques using both conventional and advanced materials. The research described in this proposal aims to further advance the techniques that have been developed, while identifying others that may lead to a more efficient repair design.
The specific objectives of the research described in this proposal are to: (1) Experimentally verify the behavioral mechanisms developed in the prior study; (2) Investigate options for simplifying the repair process through alternative connections between adjoining members; (3) Evaluate alternative forming options for the repair region; (4) Study the use of rebar couplers for fractured bars; and (5) Evaluate residual drift limits within the context of complete bridge structures.
The above will be accomplished through large scale tests that will take advantage of columns already constructed and tests as part of a different research program. In addition, the residual drift computational study developed in Phase 1 will be further developed to evaluate its performance for more complex bridge systems.
Recommendations will consist of additional repair technique alternatives that can be implemented into the design guide developed during Phase 1. It is worth noting also that although the focus of this project is on earthquake induced damage, the repair techniques developed will also be applicable to the repair of other forms of damage, including environmental deterioration such as steel reinforcement corrosion and ice flows.
CNHL:Energy Transitions and Environmental Change in East and Southern Africa's Coupled Human, Terrestrial and Atmospheric SystemsUniversity of Michigan2786212018-10-012023-03-31AwardedAndrew Grieshop; Jared BowdenThe proposed study is a four-year project to conduct research on the impacts on land use, air quality and regional climate change of biofuel use in Southern and East regions of Africa. Data collection will occur in southern Malawi, centered on several communities participating in a Structured Conditional Transfer program for household cookstove replacements being initiated by a non-governmental organization. Data collected will include those on land use/land cover change, air pollutant emissions, ambient air pollution concentrations, fuel demand and household behavior and decisions. Dr. Pamela Jagger from UNC-CH is the Principal Investigator of the study. Dr. Grieshop will serve as co-PI on the project and will lead the air pollutant emission and air quality measurement components of the study. Air pollutant measurements will include focused emission measurements on indoor air pollution sources (e.g. cookstoves) and other small biofuel-based sources (e.g. brick and charcoal kilns). A network of small, low-cost air quality monitors will be deployed to examine community and regional air quality and also to examine emission sources (e.g. agricultural burning) via near-field concentration measurements.
BIM for VTR: Holistic Approach to Design and ConstructionBattelle Energy Alliance, LLC10134982018-09-172022-09-30AwardedAbhinav Gupta; Kook HanHuge escalations in overnight construction costs and schedule delays have rendered nuclear energy commercially unattractive. Much of the research and development has focused on developing new reactor designs with accident tolerant fuels and passive safety systems intended to reduce operating and lifecycle costs. There has been little to no investment in research on nuclear construction management. Moreover, Hopf [1] argues that the primary reasons for construction cost escalation and schedule delays are related to: (i) extremely stringent nuclear safety and quality assurance standards, (ii) inexperience in managing and staffing to nuclear QA standards, (iii) excessive paperwork, and (iv) supply chain delays due to rework. To ensure the success of implementation and deployment of a new reactor (i.e., Versatile Test Reactor (VTR)), design, construction, and testing processes should be integrated. Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) using Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been proven to be a solution that bridges gap between design and construction [cite]. Furthermore, it has been used as a project control tool [cite]. BIM as a central hub of digital data exchange can bring different experts (i.e., engineers with different disciplines and contractors who build and manage construction projects) virtually together. All stakeholders have a shared resources of knowledge to help identify and minimize risk during design, construction, and operation and maintenance phases [cite]. This proposal proposes to investigate and help INL better understand the capabilities of BIM that can support the integration of design, construction, and testing of the VTR. Furthermore, the research team will pick one of the analysis (i.e., pipe stress) and develop a software/plug-in that produces 2D/3D models that can be directed imported by the analysis tool.
Development of Test Methods to Characterize Heat Production from Special Wastes Disposed in LandfillsEnvironmental Research & Education Foundation3520202018-09-012022-12-31AwardedJoel Ducoste; Mohammad Pour-Ghaz; Morton BarlazRecently, there have been reports of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills that have been experiencing temperatures in excess of 80 °C. Elevated temperatures have a number of deleterious effects that are well known to landfill owners. Consequently, elevated temperature landfills often require increased monitoring and management. In recent work supported by the EREF, we developed a model of heat accumulation in a landfill. The objective of the model was to help identify and mathematically describe all sources of heat input, generation and loss in a typical Subtitle D landfill. The model simulations identified several reactions that contribute significant heat to landfills including the hydration and carbonation of calcium-containing wastes (e.g., ash) and aluminum corrosion. Model predictions however, were based on information adopted from the literature for systems other than landfills. In addition to MSW, many landfills receive non-hazardous industrial wastes including ash from both coal and MSW combustion, ash used to solidify liquid wastes, auto shredder residue (ASR) that contains Al and Fe, and perhaps other Al-containing wastes. Methods are needed to measure the heat production potential of such wastes under landfill-relevant conditions and to use the resulting heat production data to evaluate the quantity of a given waste that can be disposed without the accumulation of unacceptable heat.
The objectives of the proposed research are to (1) develop laboratory methods to measure heat evolution from special wastes under landfill-relevant conditions and (2) measure rates of heat production to parameterize our heat accumulation model. The model will then be used to estimate acceptable quantities of specific heat-producing wastes for disposal. The proposal emphasizes heat release from ash and metal corrosion. However, methods will be generalized to assess the heat generation of other wastes.
Collaborative Research:nsf-nsfc:improving Few System Sustainability Over the Seus and Ncp: A Cross-regional Synthesis Considering Uncertainties in Climate and Regional DevelopmentNational Science Foundation (NSF)4349392018-08-152023-12-31AwardedJoseph DeCarolis; Sankarasubraman ArumugamEconomic development and environmental sustainability are often conflicting objectives (Rogers, 1997). Continued economic development often arises from ensuring environmental safeguards and sustainability (Rogers,1997). This Food-Water-Energy System (FEWS) study presents a synthesis on understanding the regional and global FEW impacts due to uncertain climate and development scenarios on two regions – Southeast US (SEUS) and North China Plain (NCP) – that experience contrasting settings on water and energy availability, but have similar portfolios on crop production (corn, soybeans, fruits, vegetables and cereals – wheat/rice) and water (primarily groundwater) and energy (coal/natural gas) appropriation. FEW system is complex and their nexus typically organizes under different spatial and temporal scales. For instance, pollution from agricultural runoff usually have local signature and has lesser impacts and the energy grid water issues typically organize at watershed scale. However, events triggered by large-scale climatic conditions such as multi-year droughts could impact both surface water and groundwater availability which could impact hydropower generation, cooling of power plants and irrigated and rainfed agriculture. But, it is unclear how much the climatic impacts on regional FEWS could impact global food prices and commodity flow. Similarly, federal policy changes (e.g., tax deductions for solar PV installation) could potentially make the nexus resilient, depending on the nature of FEWS, against climate variability. We intend to explore these research issues and perform a cross-regional synthesis on two regions, Southeast US and North China Plain, for improving food-energy-water system sustainability.
Collaborative Research: Cyclodextrin-Based 2D Materials for the Treatment of Legacy and Emerging Perfluoroalkyl SubstancesNational Science Foundation (NSF)1800002018-08-152023-07-31AwardedDetlef Knappe; Wei GaoDevelopment of water purification media for perfluoroalkyl contaminants via cyclodextrin grafted graphene oxide.
Resilience-based Modeling for Water Infrastructure SystemsNational Science Foundation (NSF)4218582018-08-152023-07-31AwardedGnanamanikam Mahinthakumar; Sanmugavadivel RanjithanRecent surveys of the national water industry warn of looming costs for capital improvements for drinking water systems in the coming decades [1,2]. One AWWA report estimates that over $1 trillion are needed over the next 25 years, and $1.7 trillion over the next 40 years; about half of this investment would cover the renewal and replacement of aging pipes, and half would pay for system expansions to accommodate population changes [1]. At the same time, SCADA and sensor systems, monitoring and modeling software are facilitating real-time operational decision making in water utilities as never before. These short-term operational decisions, as well as capital improvements such as system expansions, equipment or technology upgrades, and price structures, affect system performance with respect to long-term master planning goals such as system resilience, cost and resource sustainability. Currently, no systematic decision support methodologies exist to optimize the timing of the needed investments over the 25 or 40 year horizon, assessing the criticality of these decisions for overall system vulnerability and resource optimization. The proposed project aims to build a resilience modeling framework using a water utility’s in-house data and models to bridge the gap between short-term operations and the medium- and long-term decisions that influence master planning objectives such as system resilience. The objectives of this research are: develop a general purpose resilience modeling framework that integrates computational tools and data to expand the optimization capacity of available data and infrastructure component models from short-term operational to long-term planning horizons; build, demonstrate and test the modeling framework using a case study water utility’s data and models to provide in-house decision support for optimal timing and balance between short-term performance and long-term objectives; and develop an open-source water system resilience library that is compatible with a standard resilience modeling language and water infrastructure system modeling tools.
CAREER: A Modeling and Educational Framework to Support Air Quality Management in a Smoky AtmosphereNational Science Foundation (NSF)5259562018-08-152024-01-31AwardedFernando MenendezThis supplemental funding request is in response to NSF DCL 18-102. The supplemental funding will allow current NCSU PhD student Sadia Afrin to participate in the Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) program in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a participant in the INTERN program, Ms. Afrin will work with research scientists from EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at EPA’s campus in Durham, NC. During the 4-month project period, Ms. Afrin will study the air pollution impacts of wildland fires in North Carolina using computational tools developed by EPA, generate a new smoke impacts estimation technique, and investigate the regulatory implications of fire-related air quality modeling. She will be mentored by an EPA Physical Scientist during the project. In accordance NSF’s INTERN program, the supplemental funding opportunity will allow Ms. Afrin to augment her doctoral research, complement her academic training, and prepare for a long-term career after completion of her degree at NCSU.
Using Microbial Ecology Theory to Understand Microbial Community Dynamics and Improve Function of Anaerobic BioreactorsNational Science Foundation (NSF)3267362018-08-012022-07-31AwardedFrancis De Los Reyes III; Joel DucosteIn the continuing quest to relate microbial communities in bioreactors to function and environmental and operational conditions, engineers and biotechnologists have adopted the latest molecular and ‘omic methods. Despite the large amounts of data generated, gaining mechanistic insights and using the data for predictive and practical purposes is still a huge challenge. This project will use a methodological framework to guide experimental design to improve the operation, start-up, and resilience and resistance of anaerobic bioreactors co-digesting food and FOG wastes. This research represents leading edge work to combine molecular microbial methods, bioreactor experiments, and modeling to identify and exploit the underlying factors that govern microbial community assembly in anaerobic co-digestion systems.
Seismic Behavior of Grade 80 RC Bridge Columns – Phase 2California Department of Transportation5100002018-06-212023-06-14AwardedMervyn KowalskyThis research consists of an analytical and experimental study aimed at understanding the non-linear behavior of bridge columns constructed from ASTM A706 Grade 80 reinforcing steel. Specifically, of particular interest are (1) Plastic hinge lengths (and spread of plasticity) as well as bond slip and development; (2) Reinforcing bar strain limit states such as onset of transverse reinforcement yield, onset of bar buckling, and tensile fracture; and (3) Hysteretic energy dissipation. To address these points we will develop a computational fiber-based model for analysis of columns, and conduct a series of sixteen large scale reversed cyclic tests on bridge columns. Direct comparisons with columns constructed from Grade 60 steel will be possible. This work follows upon a Phase 1 study at NC State for Caltrans that included 4 column tests. In addition to large scale tests, material level characterization will also be conducted as part of this work to assess the impacts of alloy composition on ductility.
REU Site: Basic and Environmental Soil Science Training (BESST)National Science Foundation (NSF)4026742018-05-152023-04-30AwardedBrina Montoya; Joshua Heitman; Joshua Kearns; Marc Cubeta; Owen DuckworthSoils play a fundamental role in myriad global processes. The need to understand the flow of elements, energy, and water through soils is immense and widely accepted across the geosciences community. Yet, the number of scientists trained with specific soils expertise is rapidly declining. The BESST REU Site utilizes a diverse, multi-disciplinary team of scientists to deliver individualized student research experiences in state-of-the art soil science topics, synergized through unifying themes and team training opportunities. Specific objectives are to: i) recruit outstanding students without extensive previous experience in soil science, with an emphasis on those from under-represented groups; ii) train these students by providing a substantive research experience and exposure to broad opportunities in basic and environmental soil science; and iii) develop a pool of future professionals empowered to advance understanding of soils in the geoscience community. Activities are supported by a university with well-developed infrastructure for undergraduate student research, and hosted by a department with a long-standing tradition of international excellence. Student recruitment is pursued through departmental and university collaboration with undergraduate-serving institutions, HBCUs, and national undergraduate research organizations. The program is assessed by external experts to ensure that it is rigorously evaluated and didactic impact maximized. The intellectual merit of the REU Site lies in constructing a critically needed pipeline for the next generation of geoscience researchers, equipped to address wide-ranging basic and environmental research problems in soils. Broader impacts are derived from training a diverse group of students to engage in addressing important societal and ecological issues throughout their careers. The REU site seeks to develop a new paradigm for soil science, extending student recruitment and training beyond traditional foundations in agriculture, and transforming soil science into an integral part of the geoscience research community. Student research opportunities highlight relationships between human activities and terrestrial environments, which are central topics in modern soil science that are broadly applicable to many other sub-disciplines of the Earth and environmental sciences.
Untapping the Crowd: Consumer Detection and Control of Lead in Drinking WaterVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (aka Virginia Tech)5635522018-04-012023-03-31AwardedCaren Cooper; Emily BerglundThe EPA lead and copper rule shares responsibility for reducing water lead hazards between water utilities and consumers. The first incarnation of this rule appropriately emphasized utility-centric frameworks with corrosion control, pipe replacement in some circumstances and public education. Over-confidence in the effectiveness of corrosion control and pressures on utilities and regulators to cut corners to support the utility centric framework have resulted in several water crisis in which consumers were falsely informed that their water is safe to drink when it was not. Revelations from the Flint water crisis and its aftermath has undermined consumer trust in government at all levels, the U.S. EPA, water utilities, and potable water quality, in general. The obvious failure of the utility-centric model has caused many consumers to abandon potable water for cooking and drinking, which has serious financial impacts on consumers, negative implications for environmental and fiscal sustainability of cities, and has fueled environmental justice concerns in Flint and elsewhere. This research proposes a bottom-up consumer-centric framework to complement and balance the existing top-down utility-centric approach. Research goals are to 1) help consumers to first understand their personal responsibility to protect themselves from water lead risks dependent on their particular circumstance (e.g., responsible party for corrosion control, responsible party for lead bearing plumbing, source water chemistry), 2) develop quantitative models and resources that help consumers predict their relative risk for elevated lead in water as a function of their water supply, neighborhood and existing plumbing materials, 3) examine low cost sampling test methodologies and approaches that can help consumers verify the model predicted risk, 4) evaluate the costs and benefits of potential interventions, and 5) help restore trust and the water utilities role as an honest broker.
Three in-depth case studies will be executed to gather data to inform the quantitative models and the consumer-centric bottom-up framework, which represent extremes of responsibility currently placed on consumers including: 1) private well owners who have 100% responsibility for controlling water lead risks, 2) State of MI residents served by public water supplies who will be protected by the most rigorous lead and copper rule in the nation effective 2018, and 3) residents of small rural potable systems whose are supposedly protected by the existing LCR but who live in circumstances that historically have made compliance difficult to achieve. These case studies will demonstrate that the level of responsibility that is placed on the consumer, ultimately determine the framework and quantitative models that they will need to follow, in order to appropriately share their responsibility.
PIRE: Confronting Energy Poverty: Building an Interdisciplinary Evidence Base, Network, and Capacity for Transformative ChangeUNC - UNC Chapel Hill9349792018-01-012022-12-31AwardedAndrew Grieshop; Erin Sills; Stephen KelleyOverview Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of the global challenge of energy poverty, with the absolute number of energy poor projected to increase through 2030. Energy poverty has implications for climate, environmental sustainability, human health, and well-being, with negative impacts realized at individual and collective-scales, and in local, regional, and global contexts. The complex socio-environmental challenge of energy poverty requires contributions from the basic, applied, and social sciences, and integration of evidence and learning using robust interdisciplinary frameworks. We will partner with and facilitate the networking of academic, practitioner, and policy communities in the US and Southern Africa to fill critical gaps in the theoretical and empirical evidence base regarding mitigating energy poverty. International partnership is critical to the identification of important and representative energy poverty innovations to study, to creating a network of institutions using common frameworks, research design, and empirical strategies, and to cultivating long-term interdisciplinary energy poverty research capacity in the Southern Africa region.

Intellectual Merit Our aim is to build an interdisciplinary evidence base and network focused on energy poverty in Southern Africa, building capacity for transformative change. We center our research and capacity building around three themes: technology and incentives; space and place; and population and environment dynamics. We will measure the air quality, land use, and human welfare impacts of a representative set of technology and behavioral interventions designed to mitigate energy poverty. Based upon knowledge generated, we test new approaches for using and integrating appropriate technology and incentives to address energy poverty. In the second theme, we will investigate the spatial dimension of energy poverty by analyzing neighborhood effects as determinants of energy poverty, and consider the question of optimal scale of implementation of energy poverty interventions for maximizing environmental benefits and social welfare outcomes. Finally, we will investigate sustainable wood energy systems as a potential strategy for coping with the challenge of population and environment dynamics in the region, and analyze the associated environmental and economic synergies and trade-offs. This PIRE is innovative for several reasons. First, we use rigorous quantitative interdisciplinary impact evaluation as the anchor for our research and training program. We seek to study what works, why it works, and over what spatial and temporal scale. Second, the study of energy poverty is highly fragmented across a large number of disciplines with very little cross-fertilization or engagement with interdisciplinary frameworks including complex socio-ecological systems and population and environment dynamics. We use these important theoretical lenses to shed new light on this highly intractable problem, and to guide a coherent body of empirical research. Third, despite facing a looming crisis, energy poverty in Southern Africa is dramatically understudied.

Broader Impacts Research findings from this study will provide new theoretical and empirical knowledge on energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa to academics, practitioners, and policy makers. We will build new networks and promote collaborative research and exchange among over 50 scientists, graduate, and undergraduate students across the US and Southern Africa, with the aim of creating a robust interdisciplinary network of scholars. To facilitate this, we will coordinate a series of regional training workshops focused on interdisciplinary energy poverty research. A central component of the PIRE is continuous engagement with policy makers and practitioners. We will organize a series of regional policy workshops that will take place at regular intervals during the life of the Energy Poverty PIRE. We propose several innovations in teaching and scholarship that will benefit the academic community including: development of a
PREEVENTS Track 2: Collaborative Research: Subgrid-Scale Corrections to Increase the Accuracy and Efficiency of Storm Surge ModelsNational Science Foundation (NSF)3200012017-09-012022-08-31AwardedJoel DietrichThe goals of this project are to understand the correlations in storm surge properties within coastal regions like a bay or marsh, and then to convert those correlations into subgrid-scale corrections for forecast models. Storm surge models are the primary method for predicting inundation during strong storms. There is presently a divide between the high-resolution surge models used for hindcasts and climate studies, and coarse-resolution models used for real-time forecasts. High-resolution models are known to be more accurate, partly because they can represent the small-scale hydraulic features of the coastal environment, including the inlets and channels that convey surge into coastal areas. But while these high levels of resolution can increase accuracy, they cause the models to be too slow to use operationally for ensemble forecasts. However, nearby locations in surge models are known to have strong correlations in surface elevations and velocities which will be exploited here to increase accuracy and efficiency. The research objectives of this project are to: (1) understand and quantify the correlations between nearby locations, and between different spatial scales in storm surge models; (2) develop techniques for subgrid-scale corrections to increase accuracy in surge models; (3) implement corrections and test against high resolution solutions and existing storm data; and (4) transfer codes and techniques to academic and industry partners. This work will enhance fundamental understanding of surge, in particular how processes in nearby locations are linked, and how the essential degrees of freedom in the system may be extracted. It will improve our capability to model and forecast surge not only for the low-resolution models, where the technique will first be implemented, but also for higher-resolution models which will now be able to make use of the very high resolution lidar data that is now available in many regions. With these corrections, lower-resolution models will approach the accuracy of higher-resolution models with a much lower cost, which will increase accuracy of practical real-time ensemble simulations. This project will be a first step towards more accurate and efficient surge models and is seen as a necessary step towards more complete coastal modeling systems including wave propagation and pollutant transport, both of which may be adapted under this type of framework.
NGOMEX 2016: Synthesis and Integrated Modeling of Long-term Data Sets to Support Fisheries and Hypoxia Management in the Northern Gulf of MexicoNational Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)4706512017-09-012022-08-31AwardedDaniel ObenourOver the past three decades, an enormous amount of data has been collected in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to study hypoxia and its impacts on coastal ecosystems and associated fisheries. These data have been collected by federal and academic institutions during monitoring cruises conducted at various spatial scales with frequencies ranging from bi-weekly to annually. While the individual data products from these cruises have been made available through scientific publications and online data repositories, there has been limited progress in synthesizing these data within a common analysis framework. The proposed study will systematically integrating existing datasets using probabilistic, data-centric modeling approaches to more fully evaluate the spatiotemporal dynamics of hypoxia and to understand and forecast ecosystem impacts. Components of this work focused on hypoxia dynamics include (1) geostatistical modeling of all available dissolved oxygen data, (2) parsimonious biophysical modeling of hypoxia dynamics, (3) and fusion of geostatistical and mechanistic modeling results to develop optimal estimates of hypoxia through time and over multiple sections of the Louisiana-Texas Shelf. Leveraging these new hypoxia estimates, additional study components will focus predicting fisheries and ecosystem dynamics as a function of hypoxia and other natural and anthropogenic stressors. The improved hypoxia and ecosystem prediction capabilities will be leveraged to develop enhanced fisheries forecasts that explicitly consider recent and future (forecasted) hypoxic conditions on the Shelf. This study will provide a data-centric approach to understanding hypoxia and its consequences that will both compliment and contrast with more mechanistically complex hydrodynamic and ecosystem models. The proposed approach outlined here will focus on data-driven inference of factors driving hypoxia and fisheries dynamics, rigorous uncertainty quantification, and parsimonious forecasting methodologies that can be readily operationalized in the Gulf and other coastal areas.
Hosting the Southeast Climate Science CenterUS Geological Survey (USGS)55202672017-08-012023-07-31AwardedAstrid Schnetzer; David Aday; Erin Seekamp; Harry Daniels; Holly Menninger; Jamian Pacifici; Nicholas Haddad; Nils Peterson; Rebecca Irwin; Robert Dunn; Ryan Emanuel; Sankarasubraman Arumugam; Steven FrankThe guiding strategy of the Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC) is to provide staffing and institutional support for core SE CSC mission areas. The SE CSC's mission involves supporting researchers and managers to co-produce science connected to management decisions (actionable science), coordinating logistics and communications to bring partners and the community together (within NCSU, with USGS researchers, and across the broader community) to discuss global change impacts to the DOI mission, and training the next generation (graduate students) and current managers on how to use and develop global change science.
Effect of High Frequency Ground Motions on Seismic Fragility of Equipment and Piping, CNEFS Core ProjectNCSU Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS)2690162017-07-012022-12-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaThe objective of the proposed research is to use advanced modeling and simulation tools to determine if the building-equipment interaction help in reduction of response of secondary systems when subjected to high frequency motions. The motivation for conducting the proposed research is driven by the anticipated savings in the enormous effort and cost that is currently faced by the nuclear industry in attempting to qualify equipment, piping, and structures for the updated seismic hazard containing high frequency motions.
Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS) Membership Pool AgreementNCSU Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS)2017-01-012024-12-31AwardedAbhinav Gupta
CNEFS Administrative AccountNCSU Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS)331792017-01-012022-12-31AwardedAbhinav GuptaCNEFS Admin Account
Establishment of Remote-Sensing Based Monitoring Program for Performance Limit State Assessment of the Sacramento Delta LeveesUNC - UNC Chapel Hill9590072016-01-012023-06-30AwardedBrina Montoya; Joel Dietrich; Mohammed GabrStorm-induced waves and flooding can be predicted using computational models such as the ADCIRC+SWAN modeling system, which has been used by DHS and its constituent agencies for mapping of floodplain flood risk and forecasting of storm surge and inundation. This modeling system has been shown to be efficient in parallel computing environments. It is implemented on static meshes and with a static parallelization, and thus it does not evolve as a storm approaches and inundates a coastal region. This implementation can be inefficient when large portions of the mesh remain dry during the simulation.

In this project, we will optimize the parallel implementation of ADCIRC by using a large-scale adaptivity, in which a mesh will be refined by incorporating entire portions of another, higher-resolution mesh. Instead of subdividing an individual element, we will increase resolution by adding elements from a pre-existing mesh that has been well-validated. This procedure will leverage the existing suites of meshes for the same geographic region. The adapted mesh will be rebalanced among the computational cores so that geographic regions with increased resolution will not be concentrated on a disproportionally-small number of cores, and so that the time spent on inactive regions is minimized. These technologies will decrease the computational cost and better utilize the available resources.

This project will develop technologies to improve the efficiency of ADCIRC+SWAN simulations, thus allowing for more model runs in ensemble-based design applications, and for faster simulations in time-sensitive applications such as operational forecasting. These outcomes will increase the accuracy of flood risk products used in building design and the establishment of flood insurance rates, and thus lessen the impact of a disaster. These outcomes will also improve the communication and understanding of potential hazards.

Microbial Community Profiling of Anaerobic Refuse Decomposition: Response to Acidic Conditions, Shock Loads and Moisture AdditionWaste Management, Inc.17643242004-04-012023-05-31AwardedMorton BarlazThe overall objective of the proposed research is to document the temperature regime over which waste excavated from a landfill is producing methane. Specific objectives are to:
A. Conduct studies with waste excavated 2 landfills to determine the temperature range for both methane generation and fermentation
B. Evaluate whether abiotic cellulose hydrolysis occurs under landfill conditions