WVU researchers win Delmonte Award for composite infrastructure system

Hota GangaRao and Praveen Majjigapu’s NextGen Multifunctional Composite System has been developed for sustainable, cost-effective reinforcement bridges and other structural applications.

Researchers from West Virginia University (WVU, Morgantown) have been awarded SAMPE North America's Delmonte Award for Excellence for their patented NextGen Multifunctional Composite System for infrastructure innovation.

The NextGen Composite System is a three-piece invention created by Hota GangaRao, the Maurice and JoAnn Wadsworth Distinguished Professor of civil and environmental engineering, and doctoral candidate Praveen Majjigapu. It consists of filler modules, reinforcing dowels and composite materials, and it is said to enable buildings and bridges to resist heavier loads while providing significant shock absorption, and moisture and fire resistance.

The system, designed to impact the material, manufacturing and design markets, uses sustainable materials, high-precision manufacturing techniques, optimized design strategies, cost-effective construction and rehab techniques, and minimally intrusive nondestructive evaluation methods.

“These new composites technologies are paving the way for numerous structural applications in infrastructure, aerospace, defense, automotive, marine, furniture, recreational and other industries,” says GangaRao. “In addition, these developments/inventions are leading to reduced maintenance while providing pleasing aesthetics both in structural and non-structural applications.”

GangaRao and Majjigapu’s NextGen System also won the Most Creative Application Award in the design category at CAMX in October 2018, and Majjigapu finished third when he presented the system at the Collegiate Inventors Competition in 2017.

The SAMPE Delmonte Award for Excellence was established by John Delmonte in 1981. It is intended to encourage outstanding contributions in the field of materials and processes throughout the world; to acknowledge major achievements by honoring distinguished individuals in the field of materials and processes; and disseminate those technical achievements among the members of the materials and processes community. 

WVU is the second university to win the award in its 38-year history. Stanford University was the first in 1991.

“I am especially grateful to SAMPE for elevating the importance of applicability of this invention through this recognition and equally grateful to WVU for providing opportunities to advance this work to field installation level,” says GangaRao.

“Dr. GangaRao and I would like to thank Professor Ever Barbero for agreeing to serve as a nominator for this award application,” Majjigapu says. “We would also like to thank the staff and students of the Constructed Facilities Center who extended help on this project.” Barbero is a SAMPE Fellow.

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