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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.

A project led by Prof. Xiong (Bill) Y (PI) and Dr. Fabio Piola Rizzante (co-PI) from the Department of Comprehensive Care, CWRU School of Medicine, has received a COVID-19 pilot grant. The project entitled "Understanding the behaviors of dental aerosol flume and engineering effective capture system for COVID-19 risk mitigation" is proposed in light of that dental treatment procedures produce high-speed dental aerosols, which can carry COVID-19 and possess a major threat to the health of dentists, staff and patients.  It aims to understand the behaviors of dental aerosol flume and its interactions with engineered surfaces, From these, solutions will be developed to effective capture and sanitize dental aerosols and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 at dental clinics.  The collaborative research is built upon research at Dr. Yu's group on the electrospray fabrication and leverage expertise by Dr.

The Civil Engineering Graduate Student Association (CEGSA) held an online Facebook (@CWRUCEGSA) photo contest to display their adaptation towards resilient life in spite of the influence of COVID-19 pandemics.  Graduate students and faculty shared photos of their colorful daily moments such as studying, cooking, or selfies.  The winners are ranked based on the number of Likes received and were presented with prizes award.   The Department sponsored this event to enrich the life of students and faculty. 

Posted July 5, 2020


Congratulations to Dr. Heo for a one year project from Office of Naval Research (ONR) to investigate the feasibility of the smart risk management concept for instrumented buildings using public ground motion databases, which potentially lead to a successive multi-year project to calibrate the numerical models using multi-phase sensor data measured from ship structures. This research will contribute to ONR by developing smart inference engines for unmanned naval systems to determine cost-effective and timely strategies to manage their system integrity in operations during the extended service life. This research will be transferable to offshore and marine structure.  

CWRU engineering students Aaron Mann (Civil & Environmental), Kevin Pataroque (Chemical Engineering), and Peter Thompson (Civil & Environmental) won first prize in the Northeast Section of the Ohio Water Environment Association (NESOWEA) Student Design Competition for their design for an upgraded biosolids treatment process for the Upper Tuscarawas Water Reclamation Facility. The team, mentored by Civil & Environmental Engineering Prof. Kurt Rhoads, will represent Ohio in the national competition at WEFTEC 2020 in New Orleans in October, 2020.

Judy Zhang, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) for a project entitled "Regeneration of Phosphorus Sorbing Materials (PSMs) toward Sustainable P Removal from Agricultural Runoff and Tile Drainages."


Posted 4/9/2020

Prof. Yue Li co-leads with Dr. Ji Yun Lee of Washington State University, on a study that aims to evaluate resident perception of wildfire risk.  The decisions of homeowners to protect themselves from wildfire risks are based on numerous factors, including the characteristics of houses and the homeowners themselves, but they affect the recovery of the entire community. This research, based on an online survey and field study of Sonoma County residents whose properties were damaged by the 2019 Kincade Fire, is a first step toward a longitudinal study aimed at understanding the proactive actions of homeowners in response to wildfire.  The work is funded by the Natural Hazards Center at Colorado State University (Details can be found at


CWRU students showed their steel trivia skills during the American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC) Live Student Steel Trivia Contest.  Structural Engineering Master’s Degree students, Patricia Cheng and Isabel McLeod, took part in a virtual trivia competition against Civil Engineering students nationwide. The event, held on February 27, 2020, is the first time that AISC has put students’ steel knowledge to the test in this type of friendly competition. The women came in third place, winning some steel “swag” which they will use with pride!

An article led by Ram Krishna Mazumder, a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 'Seismic functionality and resilience analysis of water distribution systems,’ is featured as the Editor’s Choice in the Journal of Pipeline Systems Engineering and Practice. Ram Krishna Mazumder co-authored the paper with his advisor Professor Yue Li, along with Professor Xiong (Bill) Yu, and Professor Abdullahi Salman, who is a faculty at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and was a research associate at Case Western.

Dr. YeongAe Heo, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and a 2017 Early-Career Research (ECR) Fellow of the Gulf Research Program (GRP), received a grant titled Cascading Effects of Rising Coastal Risks for Petrochemical Facilities on Socio-Economic-Ecological Vulnerability and Risk Perceptions.   It is a collaborative project with two other GRP ECR fellows having expertise in environmental chemistry, and human geography. This two-year project is to develop a pilot risk model to quantify the impact of potential oil and gas infrastructure failures on human and ecosystem health. This project integrates components representing Safer Offshore Energy Systems, Healthy Ecosystems, and Thriving Communities, respectively. The team aims to synthesize research fields that have been developed separately in parallel over the past years and lead to a paradigm shift in emergency plans, policies, and procedures for community resilience toward integrative risk mitigation approaches.

Representatives from the Department faculty, students, Alumni convened during the annual Alumni Breakfast at the 2019 Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference, between Oct 29-30 at Columbus, OH.    Ms. Kelly Hendricks, Director of Alumni Relation, introduced new initiatives by the Case Alumni Association to engage Alumni.  Dr. Bill Yu, Interim Chair, provided an overview update on the progresses at the Department, including various recent awards received by the Department faculty and students, new activities and organizations initialized by students under guidance by faculty.   Noteworthily, with the generous supports by alumni and friends, the Department will build a new Concrete Laboratory, which is projected to start construction in middle February 2020 and finish by early Summer 2020.