Thomas Zimmie

Professor Emeritus
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Zimmie's research interests include: * Dam Safety * Physical Modeling of Blasting and Explosions * Levees and Embankments-Design, Erosion * Landfill siting and design * Groundwater Hydrology * Groundwater contamination * Centrifuge modeling of geo-environmental problems * Physical-chemical phenomena in soils * Subsurface drainage * Geosynthetics * Experimental soil dynamics * Solid and hazardous waste disposal * Sediment transport in rivers * Problems on the geotechnical environmental interface * Recycling and Reuse of Waste Materials Tom Zimmie was heavily involved with studies on the New Orleans levee failures caused by Hurricane Katrina. He was part of a NSF sponsored investigative team that went to New Orleans shortly after Katrina. He testified before US Senate and House committees and did numerous TV, newspaper and magazine interviews. Work on the levees continued, in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers, using the Civil Engineering geotechnical centrifuge, and this work also received a lot of interest from the media and various committees studying Katrina events. Rensselaer's geotechnical centrifuge, a physical modeling tool, is useful for studying the effects of explosions. For example a one gram explosive charge in a centrifuge model can be equal to about a ton of explosives in the prototype (the actual full scale structure). Blasting effects are being studied on dams, embankments, levees, buried pipelines and tunnels. He was selected as a member of the Federal Emergencey Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Science Board (ISB), Advising on the Levee Analysis and Mapping Project (LAMP). He is conducting NSF sponsored research dealing with levee and embankment erosion.