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Research & Facilities

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Civil & Environmental Engineering - Research & Facilities

Graduate and undergraduate students use state of the art experimental and computational facilities as they focus their research on engineering problems and applied science topics that include:

  • Bridge monitoring and infrastructure health
  • Novel concrete for drainage and corrosion resistance
  • Strength of materials ranging from Antarctic ice to novel composite building materials
  • Indoor air quality
  • Bioenergy production and the associated lifecycle environmental impacts
  • Fate of contaminants in air, water and soil systems
  • Air quality monitoring and modeling
  • Oil spill modeling and environmental impacts
  • River and ocean ice dynamics

Major research space and instrumentation, totaling in excess of 26,000 square feet, for conducting environmental research is contained in the William J. Rowley Laboratories, the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science, the Center for Advanced Materials Processing, and the Clarkson Science Center. Learn More

How safe is Great Lakes fish for consumption?

Professor Thomas Holsen and a team of researchers and engineers are investigating and identifying the concentration levels of harmful pollutants in freshwater lake fish. This will aid public health officials in developing appropriate and protective fish consumption advisories. The goal of this five-year project is to determine levels of mercury, PCBs, dioxin and other harmful chemicals in lake fish.

Dairy Waste as Bioenergy
Associate Professor Stefan Grimberg and Professor Susan Powers are among a group of Clarkson faculty investigating dairy waste as a source of bioenergy. The group has been collaborating with a North Country dairy farm to build an anaerobic manure digester. The system will convert dairy farm waste — cow manure, waste silage and cheese whey — into electricity and heat that can be used to power the farm. The digested manure will also be high in nutrients and can be used to offset fertilizer cost. The researchers will work to improve the system, determine its overall environmental impact and optimize heat and power generated for farm use.

Diesel Exposure & Effects on Children
Diesel exhaust is a known human carcinogen, yet millions of school children are exposed to this pollution source every day as they ride a school bus. Associate Professor Andrea Ferro is working with a group of faculty to characterize the exposure of children to diesel exhaust. The team is also working to develop methods for measuring lung function and cardiopulmonary effects of diesel exposure in children.

The geotechnical program operates the Geomechanics Research Laboratory which houses a wide array of unique experimental systems to conduct both laboratory and field testing of geotechnical problems. Learn More

The Structural Engineering Laboratory contains a 25-foot by 45-foot strong floor with two 20-foot wide by 15-foot high reaction walls. The horizontal tie-downs of the reaction walls have a design capacity of 100 kip each and an overturning moment of 1,200 kip-ft per four-foot length at the top of the wall. Learn More

The hydraulics laboratory contains two multipurpose 12-foot flumes and a 55-foot variable slope flume for multiphase flow studies. A wave basin 50 feet long, six feet wide, and two feet six inches deep also serves as a fixed bed channel. A towing carriage is mounted on the 50-foot basin and is used for calibration purposes. Learn More

Cold Regions
The goal is to identify and research the effects of the cold region environment and to advance scientific knowledge and practice in the engineering solution of cold regions problems. The associated faculty, by this mandate, engages in original research in cold regions engineering, relevant to any part of the broad field of civil engineering. Learn More


Clarkson graduate students are not limited to research in Potsdam, N.Y. In fact, their graduate research can take them all over the world.

Structural engineering graduate student Ogugwa Uzorka traveled to Antarctica as part of a research team led by Professor John Dempsey. The scientists studied how first-year Antarctic sea ice cover fractures in response to stresses applied by wind, ocean waves and temperature.

Graduate student Margaret A. Knuth participated in a 2005 expedition in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. She recorded sea ice observations and helped scientists from the International Whaling Commission and other international research groups on the ship. Most recently, Knuth has completed a one-year NSF Office of Polar Program as a Knauss Fellow.

Tom Holsen