Civil Engineering
Phone: (208) 885-6782
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: (208) 885-6608
Email: civilengr@uidaho.edu

Buchanan Engineering (BEL)
Room 102

875 Perimeter Drive MS 1022
Moscow, ID 83844-1022


Contact Denise Engebrecht
Phone: (208) 364-6123
Fax: (208) 364-3160
Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Idaho Water Center
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702

Idaho Falls

Contact Debbie Caudle
Phone: (208) 282-7983
Fax: (208) 282-7929
Email: debrac@uidaho.edu

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Distance Education

Engineering Outreach
Phone: (208) 885-6373
Toll-free: (800) 824-2889
Fax: (208) 885-9249
E-mail: outreach@uidaho.edu




It's hard to believe we are almost half-way through the spring semeter and in the midst of mid-terms. on behalf of the Civil Engineering Department I would like to let you know about the exciting things our faculty and students are doing. Faculty members are engaged in unique research, students are finalizing their senior capstone projects, and alumni are planning events with significant regional impact. Please read on, and please feel free to send feedback and suggestions for future newsletters.

Faculty Searches in Civil Engineering

Richard Nielsen Civil Engineering Faculty University of Idaho

The University of Idaho Civil Engineering Department is excited to be searching for two new faculty members, including a new department chair.  The searches will fill positions vacated by a combination of a resignation (An Chen, structures); a promotion (Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, to NIATT Director); the phased retirement of Michael Kyte (transportation); and sadly, the passing of Mike Dixon (transportation). Richard Nielsen will be stepping down as chairman of the department at the end of his six-year term as department chairman at the end of June, 2015.

The search for the new department chair is open to both internal and external candidates.  The search committee is reviewing applications from 11 individuals. The committee’s consensus is that there are several strong candidates in the pool. They hope to identify the candidates who will be invited for interviews in the next month.

The faculty search focuses on candidates in the areas of Structural Engineering, Sustainable Infrastructure Materials, and Transportation Engineering, and will be filled at either the Assistant or Associate Professor rank.  As of mid-February, 159 individuals had applied for the advertised positions.  That is a large number of applicants, but it bodes well for finding highly qualified individuals who will fit well with the department’s strategic plans. The search committee has performed an initial screening of applicants, and is evaluating and ranking applicants for further reference checks and interviews.

The department is optimistic that the searches will provide excellent faculty members who will lead the department to an exciting future.

Increasing Hydropower Generation Efficiency through Drag Reduction

Hydropower College of Engineering Students University of Idaho

In hydropower generation, friction at water-solid interface causes energy loss in the penstock and on the turbine runner surfaces. A reduction in this friction increases the efficiency of power generation. 

Traditionally, we assume there is no relative velocity between water and the solid surface. There exists a boundary layer within which energy is dissipated by shearing. Numerous experiments have validated this assumption. With the recent advancement of nanotechnology, solid surfaces can be treated to be super hydrophobic. Water may be able to move along a super hydrophobic surface with a slip. This slip should reduce energy dissipation. Recent experiments and direct numerical simulations have indicated that significant drag reduction by super hydrophobicity is possible.

The objective of this research is to quantify shear drag reduction of concrete surface treated by nanoparticles. The main challenge is to develop methods of measuring very small shear forces with accuracy and precision. We are investigating hanging plates, Preston tube, pipe pressure drop, and velocity profile as means of sensitive shear force measurements. Separately, we are using electron microscopy to characterize surface roughness. With the shear force measurements and electron microscopy, we can quantify shear drag reduction by super hydrophobicity.  

Avista Corporation of Spokane, Washington is funding this research. Professor Jim Liou, with the assistance of lab technician Don Parks, works with five civil engineering seniors on this project. They are William Kirby, Taylor Romenesko, Dmitriy Shimberg, Terrance Stevenson, and Adam Storey. Also participating are Professor Brian Johnson of Electrical engineering at UI and his graduate student Amrit Dahal.

UI CE Alumni organizing the annual Pacific NW Clean Water Association (PNCWA) Conference

Bill Leaf
UI Civil Engineering alumni Craig Anderson (BSCE – ‘92/MEngr – ‘93; currently a Principal Engineer/Owner of Murray, Smith & Associates in Boise) is the conference chair for the annual PNCWA conference, to be held in Boise October 25-28 at the Boise Centre. As conference chair, Craig is overseeing and helping execute all conference-related activities, including the technical program, facility tours, social/networking events, and the equipment exhibitor’s hall. Since graduating from UI, Craig has spent the last 20+ years working as a consulting engineering assisting municipalities with the planning, design and construction of their various water related utility needs. Most recently, Craig lead the planning, design and construction of $21 million of improvements to the City of Idaho Falls WWTP to address ammonia and phosphorous discharge requirements.

In addition, CE alum Bill Leaf (BSCE – ‘93/MEngr – ‘97; currently a Senior Technologist, Wastewater Treatment, CH2M Hill in Boise) is the technical program chair for the conference. Bill will be organizing and overseeing development of the technical program, which is the primary feature of the conference. Bill will be responsible for facilitating review of over 200 abstracts, and then developing and organizing the formal program. Bill has worked at CH2M HILL since 1997, specializing in wastewater treatment. He has worked with a number of municipalities in the Northwest, helping with facility evaluations, expansion requirements, and nutrient removal improvements. Recently, Bill has worked with the cities of Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Twin Falls with their respective treatment plant expansions.

PNCWA is a member association of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), which is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. The annual PNCWA conference is the premier meeting of wastewater and stormwater professionals in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. With over 126 technical presentations expected to be delivered during six concurrent sessions over three days, 800+ professionals will enjoy learning about cutting-edge projects and research while concurrently earning continuing education training.


Please let us know how we are doing. If you have comments or suggestions on our department newsletter please contact the Civil Engineering Department via email or call us at (208) 885-6782.

If you are on Facebook, be sure to “like” U-Idaho Civil Engineering @UIdahoCivil to get regular updates on what is happening in the department.