The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering pursues a well-funded and diverse research agenda that is supported by internationally renowned faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. We collaborate with government agencies, private industry and foundations to identify and address research needs while developing new approaches for sustainable infrastructure development and the preservation of our natural environment. Our research program is further enhanced by our long-standing and ongoing partnership with the Virginia Transportation Research Council of the Virginia Department of Transportation , the Program of Interdisciplinary Research in Contaminant Hydrogeology (PIRCH), the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Universitas 21, and recently, the department became the lead organization for the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center, a consortium of seven universities.
We have organized our research efforts into the following areas:
Environmental and Water Resources
The focus our research in environmental and water resources is on utilizing water resources in the most sustainable manner possible while providing reliable supplies of clean water throughout the world. Research is focused on a broad range of topics related to the sustainable supply of clean water, including protecting and improving the health of the rivers that act as water sources, optimizing the supply and transport of water to a community, improving the chemistry of point of use water treatment, understanding nanoparticle transport in groundwater, modeling contaminant transport in surface and subsurface waters, managing water in urban environments as a cyber-physical system (CPS), and creating algal biofuels from wastewater.
Professors in this area utilize computer modeling, laboratory research, and field sites that vary from rivers in Charlottesville to remote African communities. The Water Quality Lab, the Hydroinformatics Lab, and the Virginia Environmentally Sustainable Technologies Lab are led by researchers in this area.
Research in infrastructure engineering focuses on improving the design, construction, and operation of infrastructure in a sustainable manner. The department has considerable expertise in advanced information technology to monitor and control infrastructure as a cyber-physical system (CPS). Much of the work in this area is conducted in partnership with the Virginia Transportation Research Council, through the department’s Center for Transportation Studies. Finally, research in Infrastructure Engineering includes investigation of the physics and mechanics of solids to provide the basis for understanding, predicting and improving the behavior of civil engineering systems.