ONE-MA3 Project: Plastics + Concrete

November 19th, 2018ONE-MA3 2018

By Magreth D'Kakoko After spending 3 weeks in Italy this summer, learning about ancient materials, arts and archeology, we proceeded to take the 1.057 class during the fall semester. Based on what we had learnt, seen and what had captured our interests during the fieldwork, we were all bubbling with ideas on the projects we wanted to do in this class. Working on our 1.057 project in the lab Project ideas ranged from recreating ancient pigments, to studying the calcium carbonate, to gypsum degradation. After several discussions, reconsiderations and refining of the ideas, we split into four groups, each pursuing a project of their own. Grace weighing the ingredients needed for the mixes  Julian, Grace, and I were inspired by the way the Romans used to add sustainable aggregates in their concrete mixes and the need to solve some current sustainability issues. We decided to study the effect of crystallinity of plastic molecules on the compressive strength of concrete that the plastic is mixed in. Our project extends on all the work that has been done in exploring plastic as a concrete additive, whereby we are trying to determine whether the nature of the intermolecular interactions in the plastic would make certain plastics more preferable than others. Preparing one of the samples for a compression test 

By Magreth D’Kakoko

After spending 3 weeks in Italy this summer, learning about ancient materials, arts and archeology, we proceeded to take the 1.057 class during the fall semester. Based on what we had learnt, seen and what had captured our interests during the fieldwork, we were all bubbling with ideas on the projects we wanted to do in this class.

Working on our 1.057 project in the lab

Project ideas ranged from recreating ancient pigments, to studying the calcium carbonate, to gypsum degradation. After several discussions, reconsiderations and refining of the ideas, we split into four groups, each pursuing a project of their own.

Grace weighing the ingredients needed for the mixes 

Julian, Grace, and I were inspired by the way the Romans used to add sustainable aggregates in their concrete mixes and the need to solve some current sustainability issues. We decided to study the effect of crystallinity of plastic molecules on the compressive strength of concrete that the plastic is mixed in. Our project extends on all the work that has been done in exploring plastic as a concrete additive, whereby we are trying to determine whether the nature of the intermolecular interactions in the plastic would make certain plastics more preferable than others.


Preparing one of the samples for a compression test 

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Study Abroad in Edinburgh: Exploring the City and Beyond

November 15th, 2018Study Abroad

By Milani Chatterji-Len This semester, I am studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. One of my main reasons for choosing to study abroad was to experience a new place and culture. Even though Scotland is English-speaking like the US, the two places are different in many ways. In fact, being able to understand the language here has allowed me to travel and completely immerse myself in Scottish culture.   McEwan Hall, where orientation events were held, on the campus of the University of Edinburgh Edinburgh is full of historic landmarks, including the university itself. It is sometimes surreal to be studying in a city whose center is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its beautifully-preserved winding streets and literal castle on a hill. In September, many of our orientation events were held in beautiful halls with gothic-style paintings and high ceilings. The student union, which includes study spaces and a pub, is a popular place to hang out and looks like a castle from Harry Potter. The university was established in 1582 and many of the buildings from that time period are still carefully preserved, a common sight throughout the city. Even just looking out of my dormitory window, I can see cobbled streets and rows of buildings dating back to medieval times. Teviot, the student union with studying and relaxing spaces, at the University of Edinburgh Beyond Edinburgh, the Scottish countryside has its own unique charm. As soon as I arrived in Edinburgh I had [...]

By Milani Chatterji-Len

This semester, I am studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. One of my main reasons for choosing to study abroad was to experience a new place and culture. Even though Scotland is English-speaking like the US, the two places are different in many ways. In fact, being able to understand the language here has allowed me to travel and completely immerse myself in Scottish culture.

 

McEwan Hall, where orientation events were held, on the campus of the University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is full of historic landmarks, including the university itself. It is sometimes surreal to be studying in a city whose center is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its beautifully-preserved winding streets and literal castle on a hill. In September, many of our orientation events were held in beautiful halls with gothic-style paintings and high ceilings. The student union, which includes study spaces and a pub, is a popular place to hang out and looks like a castle from Harry Potter. The university was established in 1582 and many of the buildings from that time period are still carefully preserved, a common sight throughout the city. Even just looking out of my dormitory window, I can see cobbled streets and rows of buildings dating back to medieval times.

Teviot, the student union with studying and relaxing spaces, at the University of Edinburgh

Beyond Edinburgh, the Scottish countryside has its own unique charm. As soon as I arrived in Edinburgh I had the desire to explore what was beyond the city. When leaves were just beginning to change color in Autumn, a friend and I travelled to Tweedbank, a city about an hour south of Edinburgh. We wanted a break from the busy city, so I found a quaint-sounding town and bought train tickets on a whim. That’s one of the great things about living in the UK – the public transit system is expansive and inexpensive. The journey there was breathtaking, complete with old farmhouses and plenty of grazing sheep. Although Tweedbank was much smaller than Edinburgh, the culture seemed very similar, and there were cute tea shops as well! My friend and I stumbled upon a well-maintained rugby pitch just as there was outside of Edinburgh. Evidently, rugby is a huge deal all throughout Scotland.

Afternoon tea in Tweedbank, complete with traditional scones with jam and clotted cream

In Edinburgh and beyond, I have loved getting to know Scotland. Much of the city’s culture is visible in its countless museums, coffee shops and pubs. Beyond the city, it is easy to appreciate the rolling hillsides and quaint towns. It will be strange to return to the US, where much of the architecture is newer and cities are more sprawling. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the amazing opportunity to study and explore another country.

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ONE-MA3 Project: Materials of the Pyramids

November 14th, 2018ONE-MA3 2018

By Samantha D'Alonzo Thanksgiving is a time of giving, graciousness, family, and of course, the never-ending rounds of impersonal, unbelievably tricky to navigate questions from distant relatives: “How’s school?”, “What are you studying?”, and my personal favorite, “Is MIT hard?”. Usually when I am bombarded with such questions at family functions, I provide very banal answers such as, “School’s good," "I’m studying a lot of different things," and "Yes, my classes are hard.” These responses are always enough to whet the appetites of my relatives and shift the spotlight over to one of my many cousins. However, this year I suspect my answers will bring a bit more spice to the family dinner table, especially after a phone call I had last week with my grandmother. My grandmother asked me the aforementioned generic questions about my life, to which I promptly responded, “School is good. I’m actually proving the Pyramids of Giza are fake this semester.” “Well that’s great sweetie!” my grandma exclaimed, as grandmothers do. Then she dropped her voice low, “You mean like they don’t actually exist? It’s a facade? Like a conspiracy theory?”, my 75-year-old grandmother incredulously asked. This semester, I’ve really enjoyed witnessing the variety of reactions I’ve received, both from my grandmother and my peers, from my brazen, bold, and incredibly cryptic response, “I’m proving the critically acclaimed, exceptionally well-studied Pyramids of Giza are fake in just ten weeks.” To be less vague, when my group says "fake", we don’t mean that one of the [...]

By Samantha D’Alonzo

Thanksgiving is a time of giving, graciousness, family, and of course, the never-ending rounds of impersonal, unbelievably tricky to navigate questions from distant relatives: “How’s school?”, “What are you studying?”, and my personal favorite, “Is MIT hard?”. Usually when I am bombarded with such questions at family functions, I provide very banal answers such as, “School’s good,” “I’m studying a lot of different things,” and “Yes, my classes are hard.” These responses are always enough to whet the appetites of my relatives and shift the spotlight over to one of my many cousins. However, this year I suspect my answers will bring a bit more spice to the family dinner table, especially after a phone call I had last week with my grandmother.

My grandmother asked me the aforementioned generic questions about my life, to which I promptly responded, “School is good. I’m actually proving the Pyramids of Giza are fake this semester.” “Well that’s great sweetie!” my grandma exclaimed, as grandmothers do. Then she dropped her voice low, “You mean like they don’t actually exist? It’s a facade? Like a conspiracy theory?”, my 75-year-old grandmother incredulously asked.

This semester, I’ve really enjoyed witnessing the variety of reactions I’ve received, both from my grandmother and my peers, from my brazen, bold, and incredibly cryptic response, “I’m proving the critically acclaimed, exceptionally well-studied Pyramids of Giza are fake in just ten weeks.” To be less vague, when my group says “fake”, we don’t mean that one of the seven wonders of the world is merely an illustrious figment of our imagination. Rather, we mean “fake” as in, it is made with geopolymers, not limestone as traditionally thought (and widely accepted).

 ONE-MA3 group photo from Italy this past Summer

After some initial confusion, I usually explain the actual project to whoever I am talking to. As a lab-based counterpart to ONE-MA3, which included three weeks of fieldwork and cultural immersion in Italy this past summer, I am developing this project in 1.057 with the guidance of Professor Admir Masic.

 

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CEE faculty share innovative research projects with alumni

November 9th, 20182018 News in Brief

On October 18, Breene M. Kerr Professor Elfatih Eltahir, Professor John Williams, and Associate Professor Caitlin Mueller shared updates on their innovative research projects. Topics covered ranged from machine learning and blockchain to regional impacts of global climate change, and creative computing for high performance design in structural engineering. Read more on MIT News.

On October 18, Breene M. Kerr Professor Elfatih Eltahir, Professor John Williams, and Associate Professor Caitlin Mueller shared updates on their innovative research projects. Topics covered ranged from machine learning and blockchain to regional impacts of global climate change, and creative computing for high performance design in structural engineering. Read more on MIT News.

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Studying Abroad in Edinburgh

November 1st, 2018Study Abroad

By Milani Chatterji-Len '19 A model of the city of Edinburgh displayed in the city center I am a fourth year student in CEE and for the past couple of months, I have been studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh. It was a hard decision to leave MIT for a semester, but I wanted to try something different during my last year of undergrad. Studying in Edinburgh has been amazing so far – the city has a beautiful, rustic feel and classes are more laid back so I get the chance to explore. In the rest of this intro post, I’ll talk a little about the classes and student life here. The University of Edinburgh’s class registration system is more rigid than MIT’s. In addition, the department is more traditional in the sense that most classes are geared towards structures or environment. Since I am in the Systems Track in CEE, it has been fun getting to take classes that I ordinarily would not take at MIT. I am in two lab classes, Soil Mechanics and Water Engineering, Transport and Treatment. My other two classes are Sustainable Energy through the Mechanical Engineering Department and Designing and Doing Social Research through the Sociology Department. The labs have been my favorite part of courses here because they are interactive and I get to meet other students in the fairly large Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (with more than 50 students enrolled per year). We measured flow over different shaped weirs in one [...]

By Milani Chatterji-Len ’19

A model of the city of Edinburgh displayed in the city center

I am a fourth year student in CEE and for the past couple of months, I have been studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh. It was a hard decision to leave MIT for a semester, but I wanted to try something different during my last year of undergrad. Studying in Edinburgh has been amazing so far – the city has a beautiful, rustic feel and classes are more laid back so I get the chance to explore. In the rest of this intro post, I’ll talk a little about the classes and student life here.

The University of Edinburgh’s class registration system is more rigid than MIT’s. In addition, the department is more traditional in the sense that most classes are geared towards structures or environment. Since I am in the Systems Track in CEE, it has been fun getting to take classes that I ordinarily would not take at MIT. I am in two lab classes, Soil Mechanics and Water Engineering, Transport and Treatment. My other two classes are Sustainable Energy through the Mechanical Engineering Department and Designing and Doing Social Research through the Sociology Department. The labs have been my favorite part of courses here because they are interactive and I get to meet other students in the fairly large Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (with more than 50 students enrolled per year).

We measured flow over different shaped weirs in one of our Water Engineering labs

There is a lot less contact time in classes, tutorials and labs than I am used to having at MIT. I have had to adjust to doing a lot more self-studying in libraries and cafes throughout the city. While I find independent study to be less engaging, this format has allowed me ample time to explore! Studying in Edinburgh sort of feels like going to Hogwarts. Throughout the city there are beautifully-preserved buildings and narrow alleyways, complete with cobbled streets. When I have extra time I go on walks down the Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare going through Old Town Edinburgh. Or if I’m feeling more adventurous I’ll grab a few friends and hike up Arthur’s Seat, a stunning ridge with views across the city that is only a few minutes’ walk away from the center of campus.

Two other study abroad students and me atop Arthur’s Seat, with a view of the city in the background

So far studying at the University of Edinburgh has been incredibly different from MIT with regards to both studies and style of living. I have enjoyed the challenge of adapting to a new environment and am continually learning about the city and the university. I am looking forward to the next month and a half of studying alongside students from all over the UK and the world. Stay tuned to hear more about my experience in Edinburgh!

 

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The CEE Run Club Attends (and wins!) Cambridge Monster Dash 5K

October 31st, 2018Uncategorized

On Sunday, October 28th, part of the CEE Run Club attended the popular Cambridge Monster Dash, to get a good workout after a hard week of study. A 9am 5K run seemed like a good opportunity to break free from all responsibilities, so that’s what we did! Cruella Devil looking for some Dalmatians in Cambridge! The team, led by Academic Administrator Kiley Clapper, met early to check in with everyone and decide the best strategy for the race, i.e. go out there and enjoy the run! Some wearing more layers than others, we all gathered in front of the starting line to do our last stretches before the race car started the engine. Then, the race was on! The team was in high spirits despite the unwelcome, but expected, fall Boston rain Together with other more prepared runners, Gabriel, Ari, Luke and Bing rapidly disappeared from the rest of the group's view. With them at the front, the group dispersed, some trying to find a higher pace while others found time to chat for a while. At the end, Gabriel and Ari sprinted for victory, both stopping the clock at the same time. The rest of the team finished the short race in the following minutes, and we celebrated together the first 5K of the 2018/2019 season! It will probably not be the last, so stay tuned for more!      

On Sunday, October 28th, part of the CEE Run Club attended the popular Cambridge Monster Dash, to get a good workout after a hard week of study. A 9am 5K run seemed like a good opportunity to break free from all responsibilities, so that’s what we did!

Cruella Devil looking for some Dalmatians in Cambridge!

The team, led by Academic Administrator Kiley Clapper, met early to check in with everyone and decide the best strategy for the race, i.e. go out there and enjoy the run! Some wearing more layers than others, we all gathered in front of the starting line to do our last stretches before the race car started the engine. Then, the race was on!

The team was in high spirits despite the unwelcome, but expected, fall Boston rain

Together with other more prepared runners, Gabriel, Ari, Luke and Bing rapidly disappeared from the rest of the group’s view. With them at the front, the group dispersed, some trying to find a higher pace while others found time to chat for a while.

At the end, Gabriel and Ari sprinted for victory, both stopping the clock at the same time. The rest of the team finished the short race in the following minutes, and we celebrated together the first 5K of the 2018/2019 season! It will probably not be the last, so stay tuned for more!

 

 

 

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