On the road with the REU program
Students in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the ATLSS Center are spending their summer making our bridges and highways safer places to travel. Supervised by Shamim Pakzad, an associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, several projects occupy their days.
Look up into the high bays of the ATLSS Center and you’ll find REU students building a beam designed to simulate a highway bridge and provide mobile sensing data. The structure will allow the future engineers to physically verify the algorithms they’ve been developing, and thus far, only testing using computer simulations. Walk a bit further through the cavernous ATLSS labs and you’ll find the REU students testing anchor bolts that secure highway signs. They’re looking for fatigue cracks caused by the constant vibration as a result of wind and traffic, hoping to find an efficient way to detect the cracks before they can affect the safety and performance of the signs.
The REU team’s work is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation, which supports fundamental research in acute problem areas that affect the society. Additional funding is provided by the Clare Booth Luce Fellowship, which supports research in science and engineering by undergraduate women.
The REU team recently attended the 2014 Quake Summit, held in Anchorage, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 1964 Alaska Earthquake. They will participate in the Young Researchers Symposium in Reno, Nevada, in August to present and share the findings of their summer research.
Students in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the ATLSS Center are spending their summer making our bridges and highways safer places to travel.