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University of Iowa News Release

April 7, 2006

Engineer Receives $144,909 IDOT Grant For Improved Culvert Designs

Marian Muste, associate research engineer in the University of Iowa College of Engineering's renowned research unit of IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering and adjunct associate professor with the college, has received a two-year, $144,909 contract from the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) to design self-cleaning box culverts for use along roadways.

Muste, currently in Thailand for five weeks where he is serving as a Fulbright Senior Specialist for Mahasarakham University's Faculty for Environmental Resources Studies, says that conventional highway culverts located on small streams have a tendency to become clogged with sediment deposits. Some of the sediment, carried from points upstream, combines with manmade and natural debris carried by the stream, such that moderate-to-heavy rainfall can result in pools of standing water that threaten bridge structures.

He notes that the experimental study first will assess the hydraulic conditions for highway culverts typical for Iowa and will gather -- through a survey of county engineers and IDOT field inspectors -- information on the designs and site conditions leading to partial or total culvert blockage. Next, the experimental study will design and test the means for culvert protection.

"Most likely, the widely-used 'Iowa vanes' (small, double-curved structures submerged in the stream) will provide a reliable solution to the problem under investigation. The vanes have proven to be an efficient means to redirect the downstream path of incoming sediment, both suspended and bed-load, by locally controlling the stream flow," he says.

Muste's primary areas of research interest include experimental hydraulics and fluid mechanics. Muste, who earned his master's degree and doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 1993 and 1995, respectively, has served as coordinator of the college's fluids laboratory and as instructor for the course, "Experimental Methods in Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer." He is the coordinator of the campus-wide "CyberEnviroNet," a multidisciplinary research group aimed at implementing cyberinfrasrtucture in integrated water resources management.

He has published three textbooks, 27 papers in refereed technical journals, 75 papers in conference proceedings and 24 technical reports, and he holds three patents. He is a member of the International Association for Hydraulic Engineering and Research, where he currently serves as chairman of the hydraulic instrumentation section; and member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, where he is a member of the Technical Committee on Measurement and Instrumentation. He is also a member of the UNESCO working Group on "Data Requirements for Urban Water Management" and a member of the Iowa Comprehensive Workgroup on Stormwater Management.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,