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Incorporating "Green" Ideas Into Civil Engineering Materials Courses

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula II

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.868.1 - 12.868.7



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Paper Authors


Seamus Freyne Manhattan College

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An ASEE member since 2003, Seamus Freyne is an assistant professor of civil engineering at Manhattan College in New York City. Previously he taught at the University of Oklahoma. His research interests include concrete materials, structures, and sustainability.

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Micah Hale University of Arkansas

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W. Micah Hale is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas where he teaches courses in civil engineering materials and reinforced concrete design. In addition to his teaching interests, he also conducts research in the areas of concrete materials and prestressed concrete.

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Stephan Durham University of Colorado at Denver

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Stephan Durham is currently an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado at Denver. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Arkansas. His research interests include pervious concrete, concrete in wastewater applications, and innovative highway construction materials.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Civil engineers are facing a new era where they must not only design structures and roadways to meet serviceability requirements, but they must also be conscientious of how these projects impact the environment. Rarely do civil engineering courses address issues of sustainability, and while it may be unrealistic to introduce new courses into an already crowded curriculum, some courses can easily be amended to include new “green” ideas. One such course, Civil Engineering Materials, is required in almost all curriculums at the sophomore or junior level and is one of the first true engineering courses in the degree sequence. In this article, three professors at different universities in different regions of the country share three projects which can help students learn how concrete can be an environmentally friendly material.


Protecting the environment is becoming a ubiquitous aim of growing urgency.1 More frequently, civil engineers are being called to meet infrastructure demands in ways that are less harmful to the environment and sustainable into the future. It is imperative that today’s students learn about alternative energy sources, conservation of natural resources, waste management, and recycling. These “green” ideas are repeatedly encountered by environmental engineering students, but civil engineering students rarely study these topics in much depth. With many students already struggling with busy schedules, adding new courses is unfeasible. However, some “green” ideas can easily be incorporated into traditional civil engineering courses without sweeping changes to the core content.

Civil Engineering Materials is one such course where an opportunity exists to address environmental issues. Civil Engineering Materials is generally divided into concrete, steel, and wood topics. Concrete generally consumes the bulk of the effort simply because civil engineers are likely to design concrete mixtures and usually only need to specify types of steel and wood. This article presents three projects where experiments with concrete can be given a “green” touch.

Course Projects in Civil Engineering Materials

Three projects have been introduced into Civil Engineering Materials courses by three professors at different universities in different regions of the country to help students learn how concrete can be an environmentally friendly material. In the view of professors and students, the projects have met with some success in the last few years at Manhattan College in New York City, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Colorado at Denver. In the greencrete project, students are asked to improve the performance characteristics of a national brand of concrete while simultaneously using recycled materials and lowering the cost. The concrete Frisbee project teaches students how to push the limits of design using some of the most modern concrete materials. Finally, in the pervious concrete project, students learn how a new kind of

Freyne, S., & Hale, M., & Durham, S. (2007, June), Incorporating "Green" Ideas Into Civil Engineering Materials Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2131

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