Civil Research



  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Water Resources
  • Groundwater Hydrology and Contamination


Environmental Engineering Equipment and Facilities
The environmental engineering program and laboratory offer the latest in instruction and facilities for studying the physico-chemical and biological transformation of pollutants in water, wastewater and solid waste. In particular, the program aims at developing the principles of reactor and process engineering for the treatment of water, industrial and municipal wastewater and solid waste. State-of-the-art analytical equipment includes high performance liquid chromatographs with a variety of detectors, gas chromatographs, automated ion analysers, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, carbon analyser, microbial toxicity analyser and others. Spacious laboratories allow for bench scale testing of various process conditions in four controlled temperature environmental chambers. Present research interests include biological nutrient removal, volatile acids fermentation, solid stream processing through aerobic and anaerobic digestion, co-digestion and co-composting of municipal and industrial solid waste, biodegradation of hazardous pollutants, treatment in cold climates, pesticide waste treatment; surface and groundwater treatment processes, and upgrading of municipal and industrial treatment plants.

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Equipment and Facilities
Equipment in the geotechnical laboratories reflects the research interests of the department’s staff in the engineering behaviour of a wide range of naturally occurring materials. In addition to the normal range of consolidation, direct shear and triaxial shear test facilities, specialized facilities have been provided for studies on swelling clays, at high pressures and temperatures, granular soils, and hard crystalline rocks.

The clay testing program involves stress-controlled tests to investigate the distinction between yielding and rupture in carefully sampled natural clays, and the effects of load duration and temperature on soil behaviour. Applications include estimating settlements of foundations, embankments, and tanks and the stability of slopes and excavation. Additional work involves the development of appropriate constitutive models for soil behaviour, and the measurement of hydraulic conductivities for retention structures.

An environmental chamber permits testing of soil samples under freezing conditions. A well-equipped geotechnical computing laboratory provides support for numerical analysis in soil mechanics, rock mechanics and hydrogeology. It also supports data presentation and report preparation in experimental programs. In rock mechanics, equipment is available for performing tests for Brazilian tension, flexure, uniaxial compression, triaxial compression, static fatigue, creep in both tension and compression, and the double torsion test used in fracture mechanics. Present research interests concentrate on the relationship between crack growth, stress level and time, with special emphasis on microstructural processes in the rock.

The geoenvironmental engineering laboratory has the equipment to characterize landfill construction materials, leachates, and hazardous wastes. Current research focuses on hazardous waste containment, soil bioremediation, and aerobic composting.

The focus of the hydrogeology research efforts is directed towards modelling and simulation of groundwater and contaminant transport. Resources are also directed at sustainable aquifer development within the Manitoba environs.

Structural Engineering Equipment and Facilities
The research facilities include concrete, structural, and materials laboratories covering approximately 7500 sq. ft. A Structural Engineering and Construction Research and Development Facility adds 2500 sq. ft. and includes a 23-ton overhead crane, as well as a 1,200,000-lb.-capacity MTS servo-controlled loading system. The new facilities enable the testing of full-scale specimens. Also in the structural laboratory are a 600,000-lb. Baldwin testing machine, a 60,000-lb. Riehle testing machine and a 30,000-lb. Baldwin testing machine. A number of jacks and loading frames are also available which can be attached to two strong floors and allow a wide range of loading assemblages to be set up easily. The laboratory also houses an MTS servo-controlled loading system, with a 220,000-lb. test frame and one fixed and one portable actuator, which can be used for programmed cyclic and fatigue testing.

The materials laboratory contains an environmental cabinet and a freeze/thaw cabinet which are used to study the behaviour of materials under a wide range of temperatures and humidity. Three high-speed computer-controlled data acquisition systems are available for both laboratory and field testing.

Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Equipment and Facilities
Research Facilities in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics include several workstations and a variety of engineering analysis software. Current research is directed toward investigation of non-destructive evaluation of flaws in plate and shell structures, dynamics of electrical transmission lines and communication towers; finite and boundary element analysis, and mechanics of piezo ceramics, shape memory alloys and smart structures.

Water Resources Engineering Equipment and Facilities
The Hydraulics Research and Testing Facility (HRTF) has an area of 780 sq m and supports both physical and numerical modelling in hydraulics. The physical modelling laboratory houses a constant-head tank (500 l/s capacity), a 15 m variable slope flume, a 14 m hydraulic model flume, and a 34 m random wave flume. Floor space is available for the study of hydraulic structures and river models. The facility is also equipped with a range of modern instrumentation including acoustic Doppler velocimeters (3 component), hot-wire probes, servo-motor positioning systems, electronic discharge monitoring with inline volumetric tanks for calibration, and high speed data acquisition equipment. All of the computers in the physical modelling laboratory are networked to the facility’s computer lab. A counter-rotating flume and cold room (to -30 C) are used to study hydraulics of frazil and anchor ice. Unique frazil ice probes, time-lapse video, and a digital image processing system complement the facility’s ice research equipment. The HRTF computer laboratory has a number of high-end Pentium II based PCs for numerical modelling. Software is available for 2D finite-element modelling of rivers and lakes, sediment transport modelling, and 2D modelling of wind generated wave fields. The Hydrologic Processes Laboratory (HPL) supports research dealing with the management and analysis of spatially distributed in situ and remotely sensed data, for solving complex, large-scale problems of hydrology. The facility has several PC machines linked to a main UNIX workstation. A wide variety of software is available within HPL, including ARC/INFO, Arcview and other GIS, as well as ENVI software for processing remotely sensed data. The emphasis of research carried out in the facility is in distributed hydrological modelling, operational hydrology, and environmental monitoring using remotely sensed data.