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Behind the Scenes @ Environmental Engineering

Thursday 10th May 2007 @ 18:15


by invitation of Professor David Nethercot OBE FREng, Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Behind the scenes to see the work carried out in the Structural Engineering Laboratory.

As some fifty members and guests gathered in the reception area for a welcome cup of tea Colin Kerr, from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering gave a rapid introduction to the work carried out in the Structural Engineering Laboratory which could be seen through on the floor below through viewing windows. The heavy testing equipment used to flex concrete and steel structural components for bridges, oil platforms and buildings. After tea Colin introduced the speakers for the evening who had been set some important questions. We will be posting their presentations shortly.

Water supply: will we run out in SE England? Dr Adrian Butler, Reader in Subsurface Hydrology, told us about how recent work carried out by the department had unravelled how the aquifers in the South East were replenished and how improvements to understanding the inter-relationship between rain fall and water storafe was helping to answer the question.

Waste: how can we use more of it? Professor Sue Grimes, Chair in Waste Management, described how wastes could be divided into categories and then explained how waste from each category could be recycled in order to reduce land fill.

Efluent: resource or pollutant? Dr Stephen Smith, Director of the Centre for Environmental Control and Waste Management, explained how sold waste was being processed before being used on agricultural land and how his work was focussed on ensuring that pathogens were destroyed by bacteria in the soil with astonishing efficiency.

Planning for climate change in the Far North Dr Chris Martin, Research Fellow told of his work for BP into the affects of climate change on areas of perma-frost and the consequent effects on building foundations, tunnels, pipelines and other structures. Northern climates will be affected far more by average increases in temperatures than more southern climes. The impact on Siberia where he was working would be substantial potentially affecting the flow of oil.

After the talks wine and cheese were served in the recently re-commissioned, state-of-the-art Applied Hydromechanics Laboratory where researchers talked about the work they were doing in amongst huge wave making machines and flumes.

Venue: Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering