Research

Civil Engineering

Environmental Engineers work to improve public health and quality of life, while protecting and restoring environmental systems. These engineers focus on drinking water treatment, wastewater reclamation, air pollution control, solid waste management and environmental remediation.

Professors in this area:

Construction Engineering

Construction engineering is a multidisciplinary field of study that focuses on planning, design, construction, management and maintenance of built environment systems including residential and commercial buildings, highways and roads, bridges, industrial plants, etc. Students will have the opportunity to develop expertise in both modern and traditional topics such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), Lean construction, project cost estimating scheduling, construction simulation,contracts and legal affairs, and smart buildings. Students will learn to improve their skills in problem-solving, critical, and analytical thinking, technical communications and teamwork. Graduate of this program will have the opportunity to work for both public and private sectors including construction contractors, engineering firms, departments of transportation, municipalities and cities, defense agencies, etc.

Professors in this area:

Nuclear Engineering

Housed within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah, the Utah Nuclear Engineering Program (UNEP). UNEP has developed a nuclear engineering curriculum that fills critical educational and competency gaps for engineers and scientists involved in the nuclear power and radioactive waste industries, nuclear medicine, homeland security, radiation safety, and nuclear materials detection. UNEP has an undergraduate minor and two graduate degrees (M.S. non-thesis and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering). The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree are established to meet the expectations of nuclear industry in the state of Utah, the nation, and the world. UNEP is responsible for educating the next generation workforce in critical nuclear engineering fields and developing innovative procedures and technologies for the advancement of nuclear applications.

Professors in this area:

Radiation Detection Laboratories

  • Reverse Electrode Coaxial Ge Detectors (REGe)
  • Broad Energy Germanium Detector (BEGe)
  • Liquid Scintillation Counters
  • Alpha Spectrometer
  • Gamma Counter
  • Custom built radiation detection capabilities (i.e. CLYC, neutron and gamma spectroscopy, semiconductors)

 

Radiochemistry Laboratories

  • Double beam temperature controlled UV-VIS (Cary 300)
  • Metrohm 905 Titrando Potentiometric Titrator
  • TA Instruments TAM III Isothermal Titration Nanocalorimeter
  • High vacuum fluorination system (-100°C to 1000°C)
  • Atmosphere controlled furnaces (25°C to 1400°C with inert and reactive gases (He2, N2, O2, and H2)).
  • Inert glove boxes with electrochemical cells
  • Class II Biological Safety Cabinet
  • Cell Culture
  • RadioTLC plate reader
  • High Pressure Liquid Chromatography

 

100 kW TRIGA Reactor

  • Thermal irradiation port (heavy water chamber)
  • Fast irradiation port
  • In-core radiochemical separations for isotope production

Computational Resources

  • NVIDIA DGX-1 Deep Learning Supercomputer
  • Four high performance computing clusters including Notchpeak (2144 cores), Kingspeak (8292 cores), Ember (2204 cores, and Ash (7468 cores).

 

Structure Laboratories (Collaborations with Civil Engineering)

  • Actuators with capacity up to 2,000 kips in compression, 1,500 kips in tension and a stroke of 30 in.
  • Drop hammer (1 kip steel weight from 3 to 16 ft.)
  • INSTRON 400 HVL
  • Quasi-static experiment tests on large scale concrete and steel components
  • Three-dimension Steel Load Frame

 

Material Science Laboratories (Collaborations with Nanofab)

  • Radionuclide characterization via scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and x-ray diffractometry

Neutron Activation and Radiation Detection

  • Detector development and testing
  • Radiation hardness experimentation
  • Development of electronics for radiation applications
  • In-situ gamma and neutron testing
  • Radiation transport simulation
  • Environmental Monitoring of trace contaminants such as polyflouroalkyl compounds (PFAS)
  • Development of combined neutron and gamma radiation detectors
  • Advanced ADCs and pulse processing electronics
  • Probe station for irradiation studies

 

Actinide Chemistry and Radiochemistry

  • Pre- and post- detonation nuclear forensics
  • f-element compound synthesis and thermodynamic measurements
  • Synthesis and evaluation of novel resins for separation of actinides and lanthanides
  • Production of high purity targets for heavy actinide production (Am and Pu)
  • Radionuclide transport modelling
  • Radionuclide remediation strategies such as engineered barriers

 

Nuclear Materials and Structural Analysis

  • Mechanical assessment of nuclear waste storage and transportation casks.
  • Mechanical evaluation of spent nuclear fuel rod and fuel assembly.
  • Mechanical assessment of nuclear waste storage and transportation casks.
  • Nuclear fuel synthesis (U-Mo, UC, UN, etc.), thermodynamic and microstructural testing
  • Neutron and gamma damage experimentation, analysis, and modelling
  • Radiation sources for radiography of materials
  • Post-irradiation structural sample testing

Isotope Production and Nuclear Medicine

  • Production and separation of radionuclides for imaging and treatment of cancer and various other diseases
  • Targeted radiotherapy applications
  • PET/SPECT imaging applications (small animal imaging facility access at the University of Utah School of Medicine)
  • Production of trace quantities of actinides including Pa, Np, Pu, and Am

 

Nuclear Systems Analysis and Radiation Detection

  • Nuclear systems analysis / systems engineering
  • Radiation transport simulations / reactor analysis, small reactor design
  • Importance function biasing / detector response
  • Radiation hardness experimentation
  • Electronics for all radiation applications
  • In-situ gamma and neutron testing with model validation, efficiency profiling
  • Thermal system assessment and analysis
  • Environmental monitoring of trace contaminants