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Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

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Monday, April 10, 2023, 3 pm

This is a past event.

Joe Primeau, MS Student, Civil Engineering, Michigan Technological University 

RegoWorks Tool: Logistical and Physical Analysis of the Construction of Lunar Regolith-based Structures

In the new age of space exploration, NASA’s Artemis program aims to return humans to the surface of the moon to conduct state of the art experiments, develop technologies for the exploration of mars, and to construct a lunar outpost to sustain mankind’s presence there. To support these missions, the emplacement of semi-permanent lunar infrastructure is required. Structures such as roads, landing pads, foundations, shielding, and protective embankments will need to be properly designed and constructed while only utilizing in-situ resources (i.e. Lunar regolith). In an effort to inform the geotechnical design of these infrastructure elements as well as their required concept of operations (CONOPS), this research develops a spreadsheet-based analysis tool in which the user inputs their proposed structure and construction rover fleet information, then the tool conducts the necessary analysis to provide useful project insights such as estimated duration, regolith demand, distribution of tasks, performance graphics, and construction optimizations. With these insights, the aerospace industry can be better informed on the development of ISRU technologies, allocation of resources, and design of mission architectures. 

Joe Primeau is currently pursuing a master’s degree in civil engineering with a focus in geotechnical engineering after completing his bachelor’s in environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University in 2022. He joined the Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab during his last undergraduate semester where he developed an interest in Lunar ISRU research. In August 2022, he began his graduate research under a NASA Phase 1 STTR grant in partnership with robotics company Lunar Outpost. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the Keweenaw, mountain biking, climbing, and playing music. 
Enid Partika, PhD Student, Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University 

Progress Toward Delineating Causes of the Toxicity of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Regional Fish

Because of their toxic nature, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are routinely monitored in Great Lakes fish, often using high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify the compounds and measure their concentrations. Many laboratories are currently switching to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), because these instruments are more affordable and versatile for targeted analysis of organic toxics in complex environmental matrices, providing comparable or better results. Using the CEGE Department Agilent Gas Chromatograph (GC)-MS/MS’s dynamic multiple reaction monitoring (dMRM) capability, we are developing a “one-shot method” for efficient sample processing and analysis. The method is being used to analyze over 260 organic compounds including all 209 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners, organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) in fish collected from Lake Superior and inland lakes. The results generated using this method together with results from state, regional, and national fish toxics monitoring programs enable us to investigate causes of temporal and spatial variations and factors that determine the concentrations of these toxics in the fish including diet, food web structure, fish health, and fish growth rate. This presentation will present our research team’s progress investigating these causes so far.

Enid Partika is a current doctoral candidate in Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech. She graduated from University of California, San Diego with a BS in Environmental Systems and Environmental Chemistry and an M.S. in Analytical Chemistry. At UC San Diego, she constructed a small-scale anaerobic digester to convert food waste into fertilizer and biogas as a UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow, and developed liquid chromatographic methods for the detection of succinic and fumaric acids for algae biofoam production with Algenesis Materials. She is working with Drs. Judith Perlinger and Noel Urban to optimize fish tissue extraction, processing, and analysis for organic toxics using an Agilent GC-tandem MS, investigating causes of spatial and temporal variability in toxics concentrations in fish of importance to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), and developing a novel approach to the quantification of the planetary boundary for novel chemical entities.

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