dsc Environmental Facilities

Atmospheric Trace Gas Laboratory
Field Laboratories
Environmental Engineering and Bioremediation
Environmental Instrumentation and Computing
Land Measure and Surveying Laboratory
Plant and Biophysics
Soil and Water Properties
Hydraulics
Power Laboratory
Watershed Analysis
Instructional Computing

 


 


Atmospheric Trace Gas lab

 

Atmospheric Trace Gas Laboratory/>

This laboratory is home to the department's efforts in the areas of agricultural odor dispersion and biosphere-atmosphere gas exchange. Dr. Dave Billesbach heads the latter program and works with other BSE faculty and staff (Schulte, Stowell, and Woldt). The laboratory is used in the design, construction, testing, and calibration of micrometeorological sensors and data collection systems related to measurements of the exchange of trace gases (e.g. H2O, CO2, CH4, volatile fatty acids, and other odorous compounds) between the land surface and the atmosphere.

Several major research projects are currently making use of the facility. Dr. Billesbach is working with a group from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to measure carbon, water, and energy exchange from various ecosystems for the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program at its Southern Great Plains Climate Research Facility (SGP-CRF) near Lamont, Oklahoma.

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Gudmundsen Sandhills ranch lab  

Field Laboratories

Dr. Billesbach is also working with faculty from Agronomy and Horticulture at UNL's Gudmundsen Sandhills Research Laboratory (GSRL, near Whitman, NE) on a project to directly measure evapotranspiration and other components of the water and carbon cycles in the Nebraska Sandhills. A third project utilizing the laboratory's facilities is National Science Foundation's Biocomplexity project which seeks to understand the stability of the Nebraska Sandhills at the newly established Barta Brothers Research Laboratory (BBRL, near Rose, NE).

Several other research efforts related to the dispersion of livestock odors also utilize the expertise and facilities available from this lab. While the laboratory operates and maintains a large array of equipment, much of it is deployed at active field research sites. Examples of major equipment available are: several research grade, 3-D sonic anemometers (for precise measurements of vector wind speed and temperature); several Infrared Gas Analyzers (IRGAs for measurement of atmospheric CO2 and H2O); a Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometer (to measure atmospheric CH4 and N2O); and various other atmospheric and soil sensors. In addition to these sensors, the laboratory owns and operates numerous data collection systems, meteorological towers, and solar power systems for field deployment of our sensors. To support these facilities, we have developed state-of-the-art data collection hardware and software as well as advanced data analysis programs. The laboratory also operates a portable Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) and a unique calibration system for use in ambient sampling of odorous air.

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Environmental Engineering lab  

Environmental Engineering & Bioremediation

This laboratory and the adjacent Atmospheric Trace Gas Analysis Laboratory, are focal points of the Department's efforts in air quality research. Environmental engineering faculty sharing these laboratories include Drs. Billesbach, Schulte, Stowell and Woldt. In addition to air quality research equipment, the laboratory includes a walk-in environmental chamber, two biological incubators, two fume hoods and a variety of water quality research and bio-instrumentation equipment. In addition to advanced analytical equipment, a GC-Mass Spectrometer and an electronic nose are located in these laboratories.

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teamwork  

Environmental Instrumentation & Computing

This instructional facility is used for electronics, sensors, and instrumentation labs for courses offered by Biological Systems and Agricultural Engineering, Mechanized Systems Management, Agronomy Horticulture, and the School of Natural Resources (SNR). The lab has eight Windows XP computers and a laser printer. Each computer has MatLab® and LabView software installed, along with specialty software for eight data loggers and 68HC11 micro controllers. Workshops are also taught covering cross-discipline education, e.g. with global change as the foundation. A variety of classes use the lab to support coursework. The "Bio-Atmospheric Instrumentation" course features principles of the Great Plains automated weather data network. "Instrumentation and Controls" and "Sensors and Controls for Agri-Industries" features the CR-10 and LabJack loggers and micro controllers in several applications. "Introduction to Biomedical Engineering" in our department and "Greenhouse Heating and Cooling" from the Agronomy Horticulture department are another featured classes.

SNR, in conjunction with the Nebraska Earth Science Education Network (NESEN), has conducted workshops for K-12 teachers about weather and climate education. A Global Environmental Change Education Workshop, funded by the National Institute for Global Environmental Change, was taught covering cross-discipline education with global change as the foundation of the workshop. Another activity in the lab is the summer high school experience presented by the College of Engineering, "Bright Lights - Virtual Electronics." The lab was originally funded by a National Science Foundation Equipment Grant, with matching funds provided by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering.

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Survey with global positioning GPS  

Land Measure & Surveying Laboratory

Equipment in this lab meets the land surveying needs for research and teaching. Tripod leveling equipment includes six automatic level systems, a laser system with six targets, and an electronic total surveying station with two theodelites. The lab also has two backpack mapping grade GPS units. For area and distance measure from maps, seven electronic planimeters and map measuring wheels are available.

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growth chamber  

Plant Biophysics

The plant biophysics laboratory contains three large, reach-in, programmable Conviron E-15® environmental chambers, each with computer support for plant growth modeling, thermodynamics, theoretical energy-based, water use calculations, and plant and turf grass calorimetry. The newest chamber provides approximately 1,400 micro-moles of photosynthetically-active radiation (PAR) or equivalent to one-third full sunlight. Water use measurements and crop stress index development use electronic load cell lysimeters, single leaf porometer systems, psychrometers, self-equilibrating manometers, and leaf temperature measurements, using conventional infrared thermometers and IRT/c's. The laboratory has a low-resolution, pyroelectric thermal imaging system, for assessing spatial emissivity and surface temperatures. CO2 gas exchange and humidity measurements are available. The laboratory has precision pyranometer and PAR sensors. Spectral analyses for reflection and transmission of biological materials can be performed, using a diffraction grating spectroradiometer and integrating sphere. Modern 12- and 16-bit data logging equipment is available, along with computer and network support. Using plants from greenhouses on East Campus for short-term controlled-environment analyses, the environmental chambers have successfully demonstrated dynamic crop temperature responses to moisture stress, infrared heating, such as might be used in greenhouses, and plant-directed drip irrigation.

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soil testing  

Soil & Water Properties

This laboratory is equipped to measure saturated hydraulic conductivity, soil water release properties, bulk density, soil water content, and soil particle size. The equipment in the lab includes: falling head permeameters, a flexible wall permeameter, neutron radiation soil moisture meter, and Time Domain Reflectrometry for soil water measurement, thermocouple psychrometers, Tempe and pressure plate chambers, and fluorescent dye tracing equipment.

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Hydraulics lab  

Hydraulics

This laboratory is well-suited for teaching and research in water measurement, soil erosion, pump operations, pipeline hydraulics, open channel hydraulics, chemigation safety, and irrigation sprinkler profile analysis. Two vertical turbine and one horizontal centrifugal pump can supply up to 2,000 gpm for project needs. Water in the lab is supplied from a 12,500 gallon underground reservoir and is recirculated through the channel and pipe network. Water measurement equipment includes pipeline venturis and flow measurement flumes equipped with electronic transducers and ultrasonic measurement for pipelines.

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power lab  

Power Laboratory

This is the teaching laboratory for Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering Power Systems Design (every spring semester), Mechanized Systems Management (MSYM) Hydraulic Power Systems (every fall semester), and MSYM Engine Power Systems, every spring semester. Equipment resources in this room include three hydraulic test benches; several engines; a tractor chassis with engine, transmission and hydraulic system; an electric engine dynamometer; a number of Briggs and Stratton small engines; a JD 3010 gasoline engine; and instrumentation to measure the airflow rate into the combustion chambers of an engine during a dynamometer test. Several of the exercises conducted in this laboratory include calibrating hydraulic flow meters, measuring the volumetric efficiency of a hydraulic pump, determining pressures and input and output forces from hydraulic cylinders, measuring the pressure drop across a needle valve as a function of flow rate through the valve, and engine dynamometer tests. This lab is housed in the Biological Systems Engineering Research Laboratory.

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watershed rain

watershed map - Skonard
 

Watershed Analysis

The watershed analysis laboratory provides a location for computing and plotting equipment for development and use of geographic information systems, watershed models, digitizing and preparing maps. A Sun workstation, several personal computers, a drum plotter, printers and digitizing equipment are included in the laboratory. Global positioning equipment is available for creating maps and gathering data. The lab is primarily used by graduate students, postdoctoral assistants, research engineers and student workers. As the Department focuses more on watershed analysis and site-specific farming, the need for geographical information systems, mapping, digitizing and plotting will increase.

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Interactive computer lab  

Instructional Computing

Undergraduate and graduate students have access to a modern computer laboratory. This general laboratory has 26 Windows XP workstations (3.0 and 1.8 GHz) with LCD monitors along, with high-speed laser black-and-white and color printing, and a flatbed scanner. Each workstation has office tools and specialized engineering design and mechanized systems software. A Windows 2003 (active directory) domain server provides for individual student accounts, private storage, and daily backup. The lab is equipped with a digital projector and screen for software instruction and formal demonstrations.

All departmental computers operate on a network, connecting the entire campus and outside world through the internet. UNL faculty, staff, and students communicate using electronic mail, within the University and around the world, and have access to University and world-wide library sources. Students also have access to individual course materials 24-hours per day through the Academic Portal, a web-based support system for teaching. In addition, an adjacent student project design room has computer support and space for student projects. The department's full-time computer specialist is responsible for the daily operation of the network, account administration, and is available to solve computer problems. Instructional computing, video-based visualizers, and projected multimedia presentations are provided in the five classrooms in L. W. Chase Hall.

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