Faculty Project Proposal Summary

Calendar Year 2014 Program


 Faculty Name & Department/School: 

Biological and Ecological Engineering


Research Project Title: 

Laboratory Measurements of Evolution of Hydraulic Conductivity of Time Dependent Swelling Soils


Project Overview: 

When the NSF funded our study of swelling soils in Chile 4 years ago, we worked toward the development of a laboratory method to assess the impact of soil swelling on the potential for water to pass through expansive soils.  The PhD student Ryan Stewart developed a methodology, and an honors student undertook the testing and refinement of this method. Ryan has graduated, but there is a great opportunity to test the new method on a series of soil cores that we took from the field in Chile.  I hope that these tests will be conducted on a series of cores (8 weeks), work-up the data (8 weeks, largely concurrent), and write up a paper based on this set of designs and experiments.


What skills will students obtain in this project?

The student will learn the rigors of completing publishable laboratory work and going on to write the work up as a research paper for publication.  I have been a journal editor (Water Resources Research, the leading journal in my field) for the past 8 years, and see this as a special opportunity to help a top-flight student to deepen their knowledge and excitement about the research process.


Student research tasks:

The student will employ the method he and Ryan developed on another 6 soil cores.  Each test runs for about 1 week, so this should span about 8 weeks. The student will then plot up the resulting data.  Finally, we will complete the literature review (really just updating the work Ryan did one year ago), and develop a short technical note for Water Resources Research on this experiment.


Number of hours per week expected of student: 15


Preferred Faculty Cntact Information (email): John.Selker@Oregonstate.edu




Download student application HERE

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