Civil Engineering and Geosciences
SoSEAL: Securing leaking dykes using a natural binding agent
Even the most robust of dykes can be prone to seepage: groundwater that permeates the soil underneath the dyke and ends up in the polders behind them. It’s a headache for livestock farmers and water boards alike. Professor of environmental geotechnics Timo Heimovaara, postdoc Susanne Laumann and PhD candidate Jiani Zhou are currently testing SoSEAL, a technique inspired by a natural process which uses organic materials to seal permeable soil layers.
A better understanding of the Zambesi river
The Zambezi river basin is shared by eight African countries and is vital to the energy supply of Zambia. Hydro dams in the Zambezi river are generating energy but the river can also bring destruction to villages and towns through flooding. That makes mapping the river’s discharge patterns a matter of crucial importance. Hubert Savenije’s aim is to gain a better understanding of the river. What singles him out from most of his colleagues is that he approaches his subject from a slightly different angle.
How do people get to know a city?
What if you are a student or a tourist and you find yourself in a city you have not been to before? How do you go about finding your way? Do landmarks such bridges, churches and other characteristic buildings help? To find out, Transport & Planning PhD Lara Zomer kitted out 250 bikes with gps trackers.
The Dutch vulcanoes
An active volcano? In the Netherlands? Volcanologist Elske de Zeeuw-van Dalfsen has been asked this question on more than one occasion. ‘Actually we have not one, but two active volcanoes,’ she says. However, they are not situated in the flat and obviously volcano-less little country by the North Sea but in the Caribbean.
Water treatment in India: a matter for the local community
The antiquated drainage systems of former times have become open sewers in today’s Indian megacities. At a time when the population is growing and clean water is getting scarce, TU Delft professor of Environmental Technology Merle de Kreuk and her colleague Ralph Lindeboom are developing efficient and low-cost technologies to purify and reuse waste water.
Getting to grips with land subsidence
While Femke Vossepoel’s husband and kids were choosing a Christmas tree she was busy typing up a research proposal about land motion. After a career at Shell, Vossepoel was determined to return to science. ‘In four years’ time we will have developed a prototype for a subsurface model which will give us a more accurate prediction of land subsidence resulting from natural gas extraction,’ she claims. As far as the government and businesses are concerned, it can’t come soon enough.
Globally mapping air pollution
Satellites are the best available measuring instruments to detect man-made pollution worldwide. Atmospheric scientist Pieternel Levelt initiated OMI and TROPOMI, two of the most prestigious measuring instruments for the detailed mapping of harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. TROPOMI, the latest of the two, is capable of identifying and studying sources of pollution with even greater precision. The recently launched satellite will also be monitoring the main greenhouse gas emissions.