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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil Engineers design, construct, and manage the physical and naturally built environment.   The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (previously as the Department of Civil Engineering) at CWRU is proud of being one of the four founding departments by the Case Institute of Technology (since 1880) and continues to deliver significant impacts on the Civil Engineering profession in the Nation and worldwide with its rigorous and pioneering academic programs.

Prof. Xiong (Bill) Yu, the Opal J. and Richard A. Vanderhoof Professor and Chair, received a new grant from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) of the National Academies for develop biomediated self-healing concrete technology. The pioneering research aims to develop a novel admixture containing microoganism-based self-healing agent, which can be introduced into fresh concrete mix.  From this, fast and autogenous concrete crack healing can be sustained over its service life.  The healing includes recovery of the mechanical strength of concrete with fungi-induced biomineralization process; as well as improved water tightness with hydrophobic fungi fiber, which prevents water and deicing salt ingression.  Implementation of this innovative technology will significantly improve the longevity of bridge decks and other concrete structures.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has designated the Main Avenue Bridge in Cleveland as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Fewer than 230 projects in the United States have received this distinction. The Landmark Dedication was celebrated on October 6, 2021 with a plaque unveiling. Dr. Dario Gasparini, professor emeritus of structural engineering at Case Western Reserve University, was instrumental in researching the project and facilitating the nomination process and presented at the event (see figure). 

Chief design engineer of the bridge was Fred I. Plummer, who received his B.S. and M.S. degree from Case School of Applied Sciences (CSAS) in 1920 and 1922, respectively. Consulting engineer Wilbur j. Waston was a 1898 CSAS graduate.

Prof. Judy Zhang has received a new grant from the National Science Foundation titled Machine Learning Modeling for the Reactivity of Organic Contaminants in Engineered and Natural Environments. With this three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, Professor Huichun (Judy) Zhang of Case Western Reserve University will work with her collaborator Professor Dong Wang of University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign to develop machine learning models to predict the reactivity of thousands of organic contaminants (OCs) in engineered (water) and natural (soil and sediment) environments. To assess and mitigate risks associated with this vast number of OCs, accurate predictive models are needed to readily provide reasonable estimates of their reactivity, both during important water treatment processes and in the environment.However, existing models rely heavily on conventional statistical methods. (Click for full story).

Rodrigo Teixeira Schossler, a Ph.D. student advised by Prof. Xiong (Bill) Yu, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021-2022 Waheed Uddin Diversity Graduate Research Fellowship based on the student outstanding qualifications. The fellowship intends to increase access and opportunities to graduate education for students from under-represented and under-served communities and to increase graduate student diversity in the US DOT National University Transportion Center (UTC) TriDurLE, where the Case team led by Prof. Yu is a key partner.  (click for full story)

CEE Ph.D. student Xudong Fan was recently awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Organization Member. Xudong is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the immediate past President of the Civil Engineering Graduate Student Association.  Under the capacity, Xudong has worked with the CEGSA leadership team to organize a variety of activities to build the bond between its membership and with the Department, which served as the basis for the Department nomination.   The award was presented by the School of Graduate Studies  as part of the Dorothy Pijan Student Leadership Awards.

CWRU team won the NESOWEA Ohio Water Environment Association Student Design Competition. The winning team was Abby Slates (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Andi Chakraborty (Civil and Environmental Engineering), and Sofie Iwamasa (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) from Case Western Reserve University.

The winning team will present their project at the 2021 One Water Ohio Conference and will represent Ohio at the Water Environment Federation Student Design Competition in October at WEFTEC in Chicago. The team’s winning design was for an energy recovery system for the Philip Q. Maiorana Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lorain, OH. Teams from CWRU have won three of the four competitions since the competition began in 2018.



Faculty member Dr. Kurt Rhoads was recently awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award for Student Development. Dr. Rhoads is an associate professor in the Division of Engineering Leadership and Professional Practice and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. He is the co-director of the Roger E. Susi First-Year Engineering Experience, co-director of the Center for Engineering Action, where he works with student teams to develop for student teams both locally and internationally. The award was presented by Provost Ben Vinson as part of the Dorothy Pijan Student Leadership Awards.


Case Western Reserve University’s Student Steel Bridge Team concluded two years of effort and competed from CWRU’s campus on March 30, 2021. The Student Steel Bridge Competition, hosted by the American Institute of Steel Construction, challenges students to design a model steel bridge to simulate a real-world design and construction process. Among many other specifications, the bridge must span approximately 20 feet and carry 2,500 pounds.  (full story)

Ram Krishna Mazumder, Ph.D., a recent graduate advised by Dr. Yue Li, has been appointed as an Associate Editor of the ASCE Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice effective March 15, 2021, for the next three years. 

This journal is sponsored by the Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This journal provides perspectives on a broad range of topics on the planning, engineering, design, construction, renewal, safety, operation and maintenance, asset management, environmental aspects, and sustainability of pipeline systems. (full story)

RePicture is a virtual community that promotes education and networking among engineering students and professionals. RePicture promotes the amazing work done by engineers of diverse backgrounds and gives students a window into their possible contribution as professionals. (click for full story).