Smits’ Research Group Performs Experiments Alongside U.S. Air Force Academy

Last week, Professor Kathleen (Kate) Smits, Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and her research team of graduate and post-doctoral students, joined the U.S. Air Force Academy Civil and Environmental Engineering team to perform leak detection experiments at the Academy’s premier Field Engineering and Readiness Laboratory (FERL) in Colorado Springs.

Professor Smits’ Energy and Environment Research Group conducted multi-solution leak detection testing for multiple pipeline types  (e.g. flow and gathering lines), complex environments (including aerodynamics, topology, and accessibility) and varying operating conditions to validate leak detection solutions and solution enhancements through measurement and quantitative analysis.

The goal of the research is to combine theoretical, numerical, and experimental approaches to address hydrological processes occurring near the earth’s surface as influenced by natural boundary conditions (e.g. humidity, temperature, radiation, wind, vegetation).

Smits and her team are motivated to provide answers to questions of importance to many current and emerging water resources, hydrology, environmental and climate change-related problems.

Sponsored by the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material and Safety Administration (PHMSA), this work is beneficial to both the natural gas industry and solution providers to improve pipeline safety, reliability, and environmental changes.

By Rachel

Rachel Horton is assistant dean for brand marketing and strategic communications at SMU Lyle.

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