Tuesday, August 11, 2015

WaTER Center Colleagues Continue Work in Ethiopia

Naturally occurring fluoride affects an estimated 200 million people worldwide resulting in dental and skeletal fluorosis.  At low levels fluoride helps prevent cavities but at higher levels it damages teeth and at still higher levels it damages bones.

In 2009 the OU WaTER Center began building a team of OU faculty, students and staff to help develop solutions to the fluoride problem in rural Ethiopia.   Participants include WaTER Center director David Sabatini, staff engineer Jim Chamberlain, former doctoral student Laura Brunson (Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, 2014) and current doctoral student Teshome Lemma from CEES, professor Lowell Busenitz of the Price College of Business and professor Paul Spicer and doctoral student Ann Kroeger from the Department of Anthropology; all are very excited to be conducting their work with Ethiopian partners from Addis Ababa University, the Ethiopia Water Ministry, Oromo Self Help Organization – an Ethiopian NGO, and the Catholic Relief Service / Meki Catholic Secretariat.

The team and their partners are currently working together to implement three different technologies in rural villages in Ethiopia, including one developed in the WaTER Center laboratories.  Of the project Sabatini said “Our ultimate goal is to work ourselves out of a job by building local capacity in Ethiopia so that Ethiopians can themselves meet the needs of the estimated 12 million of the populace currently drinking water tainted with fluoride.  In this way, our work will contribute to the improvement of health in one of the most impoverished regions of the world.”

Floyd Receives SPTC Early Career Develpment Award

Royce Floyd

The Southern Plains Transportation Center Early Career Development Program awarded up to two projects to teams of tenure-track faculty from the University of Oklahoma in Norman and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater to solicit and develop new research opportunities to advance the transportation systems in the state and the nation.  The goal of the program is to provide seed funding to promote collaboration between tenure-track faculty members at OSU and OU and allow them to obtain additional funding, publish joint papers, and cross-train students.

CEES assistant professor Royce Floyd in partnership with Drs. Yongwei Shan (lead and OSU PI), Qiang "Joshua" Li, and Phil Lewis from OSU received a one year grant for their proposal entitled "Assessing the Impact of Climate on Bridge Deck Deterioration." The $25,200 grant is split evenly between OU and OSU. The project objective is to assess the deterioration of bridge decks in Oklahoma by incorporating climate data into current assessment strategies using integration and statistical analyses of National Bridge Inventory and Oklahoma Mesonet data. 

Earthquake Resiliency Research Update

Scott Harvey

The frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased remarkably in recent years. Prior to 2009, Oklahoma experienced one to three magnitude 3.0 (M3.0) or larger earthquakes, but this number is steadily increasing. In 2014 Oklahoma experienced more M3.0 or larger earthquakes than any other state—including California and Alaska—with fourteen earthquakes in excess of M4.0. Larger earthquakes (M5.0+) may pose a threat to bridges, buildings, and their contents, as previously seen in California.

Six-degree-of-freedom shake table
To test the resiliency of structures and equipment to earthquakes, assistant professor Scott Harvey will be expanding the dynamic testing capabilities at the Donald G. Fears Structural Engineering Laboratory by acquiring a six-degree-of-freedom shaking table. Traditional shake tables offer only a single axis of motion, while the new shaking table offers the ability to conduct three-dimensional tests, which better represents real earthquake ground motions. Experiments to be conducted on the new shake table include the seismic testing of isolation systems commonly used to protect valuable equipment—such as computer servers and museum artifacts—from harsh floor motions. In the course Dynamics of Structures, students will participate in shake-table tests to increase their understanding of earthquake engineering.