Research activities include everything from earthquake, engineering and flood management to converting organic waste matter into biological thermoplastics. Here are a few examples:
- Structural analysis and design, infrastructure management, and seismic analysis of reinforced concrete
- Slope stability, soil dynamics, and earthquake engineering
- Sustainability through advanced biological nutrient removal systems, and converting waste organic matter into biological thermoplastics
- Ecohydraulics, environmental river management, ecological restoration and enhancement of river, wetland and estuarine systems
- Flood management, sediment management, geomorphic evolution and environmental management
- Subgrade soil moisture monitoring for pavement design, development and performance prediction of Superpave mixes
- Dynamic transportation systems modeling
- Hydrologic systems modeling
- Fluid transients and pipeline monitoring, modeling hydraulic transients in pipelines
- Water resources systems, conjunctive management of groundwater and surface water, evapotranspiration
- Water quality management, statistical analysis of environmental and climatological data
- Transportation operations and control, pavement systems, transportation infrastructure, video-based traffic detection
- Traffic flow theory and control, traffic signal controller interface development, control strategy for intersections with automatic signals
Students are active in a variety of professional organizations, including:
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): The University of Idaho ASCE student chapter competes in the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference. It has consistently placed in the regional conference competing against nearly a dozen schools and has qualified to compete at the national level as well.
- Institute of Transportation Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- Idaho Society of Professional Engineers
The University of Idaho’s annual Design Expo, made possible by a generous $25,000 outreach grant from the Micron Foundation, is one of the region’s largest interdisciplinary showcases for engineering and technological innovation. Each April it attracts nearly 500 high school students and teachers from schools in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Utah, helping tomorrow’s engineers get a head start on building a better world.
Opportunities for hands-on experience include the Red River Wildlife Management Area, a river restoration project being developed as a field research site and educational center. Managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the restoration effort has been guided by an interagency scientific advisory panel that includes the Nez Perce Tribe, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. The project is a collaborative effort between small business and the University and is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Program.
The following University of Idaho research centers also offer outstanding hands-on experiences:
Breakthroughs & Discoveries
Our faculty research efforts have led to several practical outcomes that benefit the profession and the public. Below are a few examples:
Controller Interface Device
The Controller Interface Device (CID), developed by students and faculty in the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) in response to a challenge from the Federal Highway Administration, integrates traffic signal controller hardware directly into the traffic simulation process. This simulation environment, known as hardware in the loop simulation, is also an integral part of NIATT's annual Traffic Signal Summer Workshop, a weeklong immersion that has attracted more than 70 students from around the U.S. to learn about traffic signal operations in a hands-on, laboratory environment. NIATT has been a national leader in developing traffic simulation technologies that have been used by more than 40 research, governmental and consulting organizations around the U.S. For more information, contact Professor Michael Kyte.
WINFLEX is flexible pavement design software used to design asphalt overlay for pavements. The latest 2006 version was developed through research sponsored by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). The software is based on modern mechanistic-empirical design principals. The software is currently implemented in the ITD pavement design manual. Using this software leads to more accurate assessment of the overlay design and performance, which leads to significant savings in the construction of overlays. For more information and to get a copy of the software, contact Professor Fouad Bayomy.
Designed to augment the Superpave mix design system, gyratory stability provides a new method of measuring the performance of asphalt mixes. Developed at the University of Idaho with funds from the Idaho Transportation Department, it enables pavement and material engineers to quickly and objectively assess the performance of asphalt mixes prior to pavement construction. It requires no additional equipment and is based on information gathered during mix compaction in a gyratory compactor. For more information, contact Professor Fouad Bayomy.
METRIC is a satellite image process that produces high-resolution maps of evapotranspiration. It employs a series of algorithms describing the surface energy balance and represents the first successful operational process to derive accurate maps of the consumptive use of water over large regions. METRIC has been adopted as a standard process by the Idaho Department of Water Resources for use in water rights management, watershed water balance studies and groundwater simulation studies. It is also currently being adopted by governmental departments in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington. For more information, contact Professor Richard G. Allen.
The University of Idaho Kimberly Research and Extension Center has developed a process called ETIdaho that calculates daily water consumption (evapotranspiration) throughout the year, including the winter, for more than 100 weather station locations in Idaho. ETIdaho employs automated algorithms for estimating plant phenology (beginning and ending of growth) for a variety of agricultural crops and natural vegetation, and simulates evaporation following rain and snow. ETIdaho constitutes the primary data set in Idaho for estimating water consumption from land surfaces. The computation process is being adapted and applied by the states of Nevada and Washington. For more information, contact Professor Richard G. Allen.