Graduate Research Topics
Managment of Environmental Systems
The laboratory for management of environmental systems focuses its research on water quality, sediments in rivers, bioremediation, and water impoundments. It conducts studies in lake Kinneret and investigates water quality and aquaculture development. Within the frame management of municipal solid waste, the laboratory studies the pollution potential of solid waste, recycling, and composts. It also investigates the development of fertilizers with a minimal pollution potential.
Here is some more information about the laboratory for management of environmental systems
(Please contact Prof. Yoram Avnimelech)
Controlled Release Fertilizers/Devices
Development of controlled release fertilizers/devices and sophisticated fertilization techniques for reducing pollution and increasing use efficiency. Investigation of release mechanisms, development of mathematical (mechanistic) models of controlled release and methods for evaluating release under various conditions; Device and approach for dynamic monitoring of nutrients, pollutants and water transport in environmental systems (ion exchange based, gel transport).
Here are some images of a Lyzimeter
experiemnt dealing with "Environmentally Freindly Fertilization Techniques"
(Please contact Prof. Avi Shaviv)
Experimental Fluid Mechanics in Environmental Research
Problems such as environmental pollution by pesticides and groundwater contamination due to poor mixing in treated water reservoirs are addressed using sophisticated laboratory equipment. In particular, graduate students and researchers operate a new measurement system called PIV. The Particle Image velocimeter (PIV) consists of high energy pulsed Nd:YAG lasers, a 1Kx1K cross correlation CCD camera, and analysis tools. The system provides the ability to obtain accurate high resolution velocity maps without any interference with the flow. Current studies which gain from the PIV capabilities include a development of a new and improved spraying system and a development of a measurement technique which is based on tracing floating particles.
The Particle Image Velocimeter (PIV)
Flow visualization inside a turbulence generator
(Please contact Dr. Uri Shavit).
Optimal control of the greenhouse climate
The aim of this program is to provide the greenhouse operator with decision tools for the manipulation of the environment of crops (mostly plants). Often the objective function is maximum profits, subject to environmental and other constraints. Dynamic crop models and greenhouse models are used as a basis for the optimization. Examples of recent projects: 1 Modelling nitrate concentration in lettuce. 2 Transpirational cooling of greenhouse crops. 3 Detection and diagnosis of faults in greenhouses. 4 Heat budget of covered fish ponds.
(Please contact Prof. Ido Seginer)
Modeling and Simulation of Off-Road Vehicles
Modeling and simulation of tracked and wheeled vehicles
for off-road riding conditions. The activity in this area includes: soil vehicle
interaction, active and semi-active suspension control, driving control and riding
comfort. In our research we are developing or improving existing models. The research work
is mostly analytical. However, some of the research may also be experimental.
Center of dynamics Modeling and Simulation
(Please contact Dr. Dror Rubinstein)
Identification of a Salinity Source in the Israeli Coastal Aquifer
One of the phenomena indicating the increase of salinity in the Israeli coastal plain aquifer is the formation of saline plumes in its mid-southern part. These plumes, mostly detected during the fifties, were explained until recently by the increasing irrigation with high salinity water. Recent geochemical analysis provides evidences that the evolution of plumes is not due to infiltration from the unsaturated zone. Measurements of Boron isotopes composition, show that the salinity source is coming from saline water pockets from deeper strata. The objective of the study is to examine quantitatively the hypothesis that the major source of aquifer salinity is the underlying saline water pockets. The examination uses extensive data collection, numerical simulation models, and solutions of the inverse problem.
(Please contact Dr. Uri Shavit)
Research in the plant physiology laboratory involves the mechanisms by which environmental stresses such as drought, salinity and mineral nutrient deficiency limit the agricultural productivity of crop plants. The long term aim is to discover ways of increasing plant resistance to these stresses. The research involves measurements of cell, tissue, and whole plant parameters associated with growth inhibition, in more and less resistant plants. Biochemical, biophysical and physiological techniques are used in these investigations.
The custom built multichannel extensiometer
(Please contact Prof. Peter Neumann).
Livestock and Aquaculture Engineering
Research in cell mechanics involves the simulation of stress and strain fields in animal cell which can be presented as spheres or spherical shells made of non-linear elastic material. Loading maneuvers of these cells include indentation tests, pipette suction and magnetic bead twisting. Ultrasound effects on live tissue will be studied in another research where cavitation initiation will be modelled; shear stresses due to bubble collapse near a cell membrane and inside a cell will be investigated. This study will focus also on possible resonance modes in the tissue due to elastic vibrations and their influence on particle penetration into skin and wet epithelium. On going research is being conducted in fish physiology under stress conditions, and about the interaction between teat and milking machine liner.
(Please contact Prof. Eitan Kimmel)
Automatic Control with applications in Agricultural Engineering
Greenhouse control: Optimal and sub-optimal control of greenhouses. Neural network modeling, control and diagnostics of greenhouses; Control of mechanical systems with non-differentiable non-linearity's, a theoretical subject with applications to the control of agricultural vehicles and implements. Adaptive Robust Control, a control methodological topic aiming to integrate robust and adaptive control. Contributions include modeling of uncertain systems. Computer aided robust control systems design, aiming to find efficient algorithms and implementation for so called QFT-design. Optimal fish drying using solar radiation., a project meant to make fish drying in tropical countries less wasteful and more hygienic. Control of autonomous off-road vehicles. Handling and riding control for off-road vehicles. Integration of feedback control and statistical process control (SPC), for applications in bio-technological and agricultural processing systems. Feedback control of irrigation using in-soil humidity sensing, using a humidity sensor developed by Prof. Benny Zur and Dr. Uri Ben-Hanan. Control of an Aeroelectric Power Station.
(Please contact Dr. P. Gutman)
Nitrogen compounds removal from drinking water and secondary effluent.
The general approach is the integration of several disciplines composing environmental engineering and sciences such as integration of biological processes into physical chemical processes Research subjects such as nitrates removal from Greenhouse leachate using USB reactor; Control of pH in nitrification systems using calcium carbonate as the buffer agent; Combined process for the removal of nitrates and pesticides from groundwater; Ammonium removal from secondary treated effluent; Simultaneous nitrogen elimination and energy production for reclamation of wastewater and production of raw materials.
(Please contact Prof. Michal Green).
Sprayers in agriculture and various Agricultural Engineering Projects.
Studies related to the effect of pesticide droplets at different distances. Evaluation of spray droplet patterns. Evaluation of turbulent air jets for carrying and depositing spray droplets. ?Development of field sprayer using turbulent air jets. Deveof orchard sprayer using turbulent ajets. Development of an automatic vehicle for detecting plant stress in greenhouses. Development of an automatic spot sprayer for greenhouses. Analyzing the parameters affecting the efficiency of the fast hole digger. Analyzing the effect of tilling equipment on buried drip irrigation pipes. Development of aelecvehicle.
(Please contact Prof. G. Manor)
Sharav Sluices is developing a novel technology to produce renewable electric power from dry air in very large quantities and at low cost, along with water desalinization at approximately half the cost of current methods. The company is now endeavoring to mobilize the means to construct a pilot plant. Sharav Sluices Ltd. recently received seed money to begin designing a scaled up prototype of its unique technology to produce electricity from dry desert air and brackish or sea water. Israelís Ministry of Energy is endorsing the project which will produce power at a cost of 2.5 to 3.5 cents per kwh. A by-product of the technology will be desalinated water at a cost of approximately half of todayís cost per cubic meter.
(Please contact Prof. Dan Zaslavsky; also proposed by Prof. Zaslavsky problems in desalinization, surface and subsurface hydrology, clean and renewable energy, soil physics and spraying)
Microorganisms as Bioindicators of Pollution in the Gulf of Eilat
Although seasonal changes occur naturaly in the structure of the planktonic communities, it has been shown that unexpected, sudden changes may be used as early warning signals of environmental contamination. Since 1986 we have been monitoring the seasonal changes in the planktonic community of the northeen gulf of Aqaba to build up a long term data base for comparison purposes and to detect early signs of pollution. This study is carried out in close cooporation with the Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Reseach Ltd., the National Center for Mariculture, Eilat.
(Please contact Prof. Baruch Kimor)
Air Quality and Environmental Exposure Assessment
Environmental pollutants impact human health via a process called exposure. Unlike environmental modeling, where contaminant concentrations in different media (air, surface water, ground water, soil) are calculated, exposure addresses the various routes (air, food, water) and pathways (inhalation, dermal absorption, ingestion) by which humans contact pollutants. Quantitative tools for assessing exposure require characterization of the exposure attributes (concentrations, duration of contact, toxicity), obtained by integration of field and laboratory measurements with modeling tools.
Current research in the Environmental Exposure and Risk Assessment Laboratory include: dosimetry of cigarette smoke particles, characterization of the origins of the so-called "human cloud" (the excess in reading between stationary odutdoor/indoor monitors and personal samplers), estimation of long-term cumulative population exposure to ambient pollutants in the Haifa bay region, development of tools to optimize the sitting of regional air quality monitoring network stations, integration and analysis within a GIS-based framework of air pollution data, emission release data, morbidity data, and demographic data to produce risk estimates, integration of multi-pathway exposure to water chlorination by-products, characterization of indoor air quality, and assessment of exposure to persistent agrotoxic residuals (runoff spraying, aerosols generated in landfills and waste management sites) and odour nuisance.
The general approach is to integrate disciplines and methods from fluid dynamics, transport phenomena and aerosol mechanics into environmental engineering. Namely, fundamental physicochemical principles are applied in modeling biological processes and in theoretical mechanistic exposure assessment studies, and an effort is done to back up the predictions by an experimental work.
(Please contact Dr. David Broday).