It's about people and their lives, everywhere. We challenge the status quo with our research programs, advance the frontiers of knowledge, expand the limit of the possible, and innovate. Using science and engineering, the people in the Civil Engineer Center (ACE) solve some of our time's toughest challenges through the creation of systems with large-scale tangible impact at the nexus of environment, infrastructure, and people.
We develop and use pioneering approaches that range from basic scientific principles to complex engineering design, at scales from the nano to the global.
The positioning of ACE is defined by a set of Strategic Challenge Areas (addressing major societal challenges). The Strategic Challenge Areas reflect a set of five broad areas that are research priorities for ACE:
Resources and Sustainability
Structures and Design
Our researchers have multiple fields of interest, and their combination of these interests and challenge areas define DCSM's ACE.
The department operates two laboratories - the Caldwell Laboratory for Environmental Science (Building 09), and the Brosnan Laboratory for Infrastructure Science and Engineering (Building 05).
Stephen M. Caldwell Laboratory
The Caldwell Laboratory for Environmental Science has a long history of highly respected water and environmental research. From its inception as a hydrodynamics laboratory in the 1960s, the lab has evolved into a multidisciplinary research center focused primarily on natural waters and the environment.
Our long-term objective in the area of environment is to understand and engineer human adaptation to a changing environment. Human activities are affecting the global environment at rates that are likely to increase dramatically. In light of global effects such as rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and changing weather patterns, the specific local impacts of global environmental change on water, agriculture and food, water and air quality, natural hazards and public health remain largely unknown. A priority is to understand what local changes must be made due to global changes, how marine and terrestrial ecosystems respond to global changes, and how local ecosystem services are affected and utilized. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to:
Coastal Engineering & Fluid Dynamics
Hydrology, Ecology and Plant-Water Relations
Environmental Chemistry (air, water, land)
Terrestrial Plant Ecology & Plant Physiology
Benign Design & Manufacturing
Caldwell Laboratory Leadership:
Prof. Rhonda Beaumont
Located near the amphitheater of DCSM, this laboratory has served the DCSM community and the world at large providing education and research in fields giving birth to many of today's engineering fields. One of the older buildings on campus, Brosnan enjoys a beautiful view of the forest while maintaining a historical and prestigious facade that is DCSM.
Our efforts in the area of infrastructure focus on innovative science and engineering approaches that advance the design of infrastructure materials, transportation systems, cities and energy resources. Emphasizing collaborations across DCSM, we seek to address fundamental issues that are critical to society and the environment, and to serve as the center of excellence in the design, manufacturing and operation of infrastructure. A priority is identifying and applying radically new approaches to the design, manufacturing and characterization of infrastructure materials. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to:
Structural Engineering & Design
Network Analysis & Design (with applications to natural and man-made systems; e.g. cities, transportation, logistics, environment, smart infrastructure)
Sustainable Materials (e.g. construction, infrastructure, energy)
Multiscale Geomechanics (in the context of energy, resources, including critical zone & subsurface processes)
Brosnan Laboratory Leadership:
Prof. Montgomery Richards