Water Resources and Environmental Studies



The research area of Water Resources and Environmental Studies aims to consolidate and integrate the activities developed within the Civil Engineering Program focusing on hydro-environmental issues. The research conducted in this area are focused on multidisciplinary topics related to multiple uses of water and to the preservation of the environment, involving analytical, computational and laboratory and field experimental approaches.


Because of its interdisciplinary nature, this area has interfaces with all other academic areas of the Civil Engineering Program at COPPE/UFRJ and with other UFRJ units.
In order to facilitate the choice of research topics in this area, a few lines of research that may eventually be merged were highlighted: Water and Environmental Management; Modeling in Water Resources and Environmental Studies, Hydro-Environmental Monitoring; Atmospheric Science in Engineering, Environmental Acoustics; Environmental Geotechnics; Sustainable Materials.


The research topic of Water and Environmental Management discusses tools and techniques for studies and treatment of impacts under the framework of the evaluation of water quantity and water quality of river network in the river basin scale. Seamlessly, we evaluate the relationship between the terrestrial and atmospheric system to better understanding of the hydrological cycle. Additionally, the research topic involves the concept of sustainability applied to urban drainage projects in the search for systemic solutions for the basin, with distributed interventions, trying to rescue flow patterns similar to those of pre-urbanization with settings of low hydrological impact. Under this approach, we integrate storm water management, urban spatial planning and   river redevelopment, in a broad sense, as a tool to assist in flood control and secure environments more balanced and socially healthy.


In the research topic of Modeling in Water Resources and Environmental Studies, computational models are developed aiming to represent natural processes or those due to human interventions involving water resources and environmental approaches. Based on the understanding that you cannot manage without quantifying, this theme recognizes the importance of computational modeling platforms as tools for the quantification of key variables for the decision-making process, both in the process of planning, implementation and operation.


In Hydro-Environmental Monitoring, techniques are developed for monitoring, planning and conducting laboratory tests and field studies for hydro-environmental as well as it is emphasized the organization of limnological, hydrometeorological and sedimentometric datasets obtained by means of in situ measurements and remote sensing in information systems for their application in the water resources and environmental management. This line of research also involves conducting field trials with fluorescent tracers and imaging of the surface with the use of inverse analysis algorithms.

Atmospheric Science in Engineering addresses the solution of environmental issues and problems specifically related to hydrometeorology and its application. Noteworthy are the studies of atmospheric phenomena and atmospheric modeling approaches. The theme allows the evaluation of its interaction and impact on various technological sectors such as energy, water, transportation and health.

Environmental Acoustics covers research directed towards the development of computer programs based on finite element method, finite difference and boundary elements in order to model the urban acoustic and underwater acoustics. Within urban acoustics, issues can be highlighted such as noise barriers including soil absorption, soil interaction with thin panels, with emphasis on case studies in urban environments. In terms of underwater acoustics, we highlight research on sound propagation in shallow and deep water and interference with marine fauna.


At the Environmental Geotechnics topic, researches are developed on issues related to the impact on soil, water and air, including transport of contaminants and contaminant-soil interaction, investigation and remediation of drained areas, management, treatment and disposal of waste. Several of the studies in this research topic are applied, such as, for example, studies on dredging contaminated sediments, waste of coal and iron mining, urban solid waste and soil stabilization.

In Sustainable Materials topic, researches are developed on replacement of cement by agro-industrial waste or other materials to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, use of construction waste as building materials, use of natural fibers as reinforcement structural durability of materials and structures to increase the useful life of buildings, collection and use of artificial sand, use of ash of sewage sludge and of municipal solid waste in concrete with low environmental impact.


Research Lines


Water Resources and Environmental Management

We discuss tools and techniques for water resources and environmental management with impacts on the assessment of water quantity and water quality of river network in the river basin scale. In this research topic, we include, for example, the development of methods for classification of water bodies, new formulations for granting and charging for the use of raw water in watersheds with multiple uses, transfrontier watershed management, integration of water resources and environment issues for urban and regional planning with support of information systems and remotely sensed images, development of watershed plans and of indicators for water management and environmental studies as well as in the area of ​​urban drainage and sanitation.


Modeling in Water Resources and Environmental Studies

Conceptual, mathematical and computational models are developed with the goal of representing natural processes or processes arising from human interventions in water resources and environment. Among the phenomena discussed, we highlight free surface flows and flows in closed conduits, flow in porous media, transport and dispersion of sediments and pollutants, wave propagation floods, dam break modeling, flood plains modeling, urban flood models, thermal problems of river hydraulics and sediment transport, numerical modeling and computational modeling in water resources and environmental studies and hydrometeorological modeling.


Hydro-Environmental Monitoring

It is conceived the construction of databases and analysis tools, with the support in the implementation of especially monitored areas, integrable to a decision support system aimed at environmental management and water resources management. Stand out, for example, monitoring techniques, planning and design of field tests, including fluorescent tracers for water and environmental studies, as well as techniques associated with the analysis of imaging of the continental surface.


Atmospheric Science in Engineering

We discuss the solution of issues and problems specifically related to atmospheric phenomena, allowing assessing the interaction and impact in various technological sectors, such as energy, water, transportation and health.


Environmental Acoustics

This topic aims the development of researches and computational programs based on finite element method, finite differences and boundary element methods focusing on urban and submarine acoustics modeling.

Environmental Geotechnics

We develop research on issues related to the impact on soil and groundwater in critical or catastrophic natural events and due to various anthropogenic activities, and also on implementing geotechnical engineering techniques for protection and / or restoration of the environment. The surveys include: (i) the experimental study, in the laboratory and in the field, and modeling of contaminant transport in soil and groundwater, including the different processes of soil-contaminant interaction and particular conditions as compressible soils, (ii) planning and research techniques of impacted areas, (iii) remediaton techniques for soil, sediment and contaminated groundwater (permeable reactive barriers, multiphase extraction, among other approaches), (​​iv) electrokinetic processes in soils and its application in environmental works; (v) management, treatment and disposal of waste (municipal, dredging, construction, industrial and mining), (vi) the stabilization and recovery of waste in geotechnical works, such as, for example, landfills, floors, roofs and drainage systems.


Sustainable Materials

The research line on Sustainable Materials includes: (i) study of reduced CO2 emission cementitious materials: rice husk and sugar cane bagasse ashes, sewage mud ashes, ashes from solid urban residues, ceramics and metakaolinite industry residues, blast furnace slag and fly ash; (ii) nano-mechanics and micro-mechanics: the genome of sustainable cementitious materials (iii) study of vegetable fibrous reinforcements (sisal, coconut, jute, curauá and arumã) in concretes and textile composites; (iv) immobilization of toxic waste with cementitious materials; (v) recycled aggregates: construction and demolish  wastes, artificial sand and crushed stone resulting from gravel production; (v) construction in stabilized raw earth: soil-cement, soil-lime, soil-asphalt and vegetable fiber reinforced soil; (vi) sustainable structural systems: structural project using sustainable materials, experimental analysis of structure and material durability seeking to increase  service life.