Research Labs in CEE
CEE has a number of state-of-the-art labs designed and maintained to support quality instruction and cutting edge research. Below is a brief description of our primary labs.
Water Quality Laboratory
The Water Quality Laboratory is located in D-013 Thornton Hall. This 1200 ft2 laboratory is designed to conduct fundamental and applied research on the fate, transport, and remediation of pollutants and waterborne pathogens in surface and ground water.
A wide range of trace organic pollutants in water can be identified and quantified using two gas chromatographs with two flame-ionization detectors, an electron-capture detector, and a thermal conductivity detector. Water samples can be pre-concentrated prior to GC analyses with a purge-and-trap concentrator. A 40-position autosampler is also available. Trace metals in water can be quantified with a graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometer. A beta scintillation counter is available for quantification of radioactivity in water samples.
A variety of instrumentation is available for microbiological characterization of water samples, including multiple membrane filtration systems, an IDEXX colilert system with tray sealer, and an IDEXX system for quantification of protozoan pathogens such as Cryptospridium and Giardia. (The laboratory has a BSL-2 accreditation.)
The Water Quality Laboratory also houses the University’s only surface-area analyzer which employs nitrogen-gas absorption and the BET theory to calculate surface areas of unconsolidated particles. Assorted specific-ion electrodes, sonicators, spectrophotometers, temperature probes, and pH meters, are also available. Field equipment includes a positive-displacement Grunphos pump for ground-water sampling, a soil sampling kit, and pressure transducers to quantify unsaturated-zone soil gas pressures with a Campbell data logger. Flexible-wall permeameters are available for quantification of the hydraulic conductivity of low-permeability, earthen clay liners at waste-disposal sites.
Ongoing research in this laboratory includes the design and testing of point-of-use water treatment technologies for the developing world, the fate and transport of nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants and through earthen landfill liners, the disinfection kinetics of silver nanoparticles, the fate and transport of pharmaceuticals in wastewater treatment plants, the leaching of plasticizers from pipe-repair materials, and the identification of novel approaches to assess and affect the infectivity of Cryptosporidium sp.
Virginia Environmentally Sustainable Technologies (VEST) laboratory
The Virginia Environmentally Sustainable Technologies (VEST) laboratory, housed at the University of Virginia in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, focuses on developing the technical and policy knowledge needed to reduce the impacts of engineered systems on the environment with a focus on sustainable energy systems and carbon dioxide emissions.
Environmental Biochemistry Laboratory
The Environmental Biochemistry Laboratory, is located in D-106 Thornton Hall. It is registered with the University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee and compliant with their requirements at Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1). This means that the lab and its users possess the necessary training and equipment to culture non-pathogenic microorganisms and utilize certain recombinant genetic materials. The lab is also equipped with various types of analytical equipment for identifying and quantifying organic chemicals in aqueous media.
Sustainable Rivers Lab
The Sustainable Rivers Lab tackles key issues of immediate importance for the sustainable management of water resources. First, by studying fluvial geomorphologic processes, the group works to advance the fundamental science behind river formation and change. Second, through applied engineering, the group brings this knowledge into wider application in the development of sustainable water resources for the 21st century. The basic science is used as the foundation for developing improved tools and practices in such areas as river restoration, dam removal, roadway planning, and pier scour (whether the piers be from bridges or wind turbines). These areas are of critical importance to developing an overall strategy for sustainability in water resources.
The lab is located on top of Observatory Hill on the UVA Main Grounds.
Smart Travel Lab
The Smart Travel Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that supports research and education in the rapidly emerging area of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Using the latest information technologies and analysis and modeling techniques, researchers in the lab are developing prototype systems and applications that promise to improve the effectiveness of ITS. This web site provides information on Smart Travel Lab activities and previews a number of prototypes developed in the lab. Please check back with us often to learn of new developments.
The Smart Travel Lab is a joint effort between the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia and the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research. The distinguishing characteristic of the lab is the direct connection established between the lab and transportation management systems operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). This connection provides researchers with direct access to real ITS data and systems.This direct access has allowed the lab to provide substantive contributions to VDOT's ITS initiative, known as the Smart Travel Program.
Traffic Operations Laboratory
The Traffic Operations Laboratory (TOL) supports research and education related to traffic signal control, optimization, and simulation. TOL is equipped with the state-of-the-art traffic signal controllers and microscopic simulation programs, as well as hardware in the loop simulation (HILS) system. The HILS system allows testing of advanced features of actual traffic signal controllers within a laboratory environment. TOL has access to real-time traffic data from the VDOT traffic control systems through the Smart Travel Laboratory. TOL research mainly focuses on applications of advanced statistical techniques and optimization methods for developing traffic signal control algorithms and improving calibration and validation procedure for microscopic simulation models.