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Abhishek Gupta SEM paper
June 15, 2023

Abhishek Gupta wins 1st place in SEM International Student Paper Competition

Written By: Caitlin Scott



Congratulations to Mechanical Engineering PhD student Abhishek Gupta on winning first place in the Michael Sutton International Student Paper competition at the annual conference of the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM)!

abhishek gupta
Abhishek Gupta

Gupta is a research assistant in the lab of ME Assistant Professor Ramathasan Thevamaran and works with energy-absorbing foams in helmet lining, a first defense against traumatic brain injuries. Gupta and the group are studying vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) foam, a foam-like material made of numerous vertically aligned and entangled carbon nanotubes at the forefront of the next generation of materials for protective applications in extreme conditions. They’ve learned that VACNT foams effectively dissipate impact energy whether the impact is slow or exceptionally fast, a characteristic not found in commercial polymer foams. They have developed a precise mathematical model that describes the rate-independent behavior of VACNT foams. This model represents the first-ever accurate depiction of the mechanical properties of VACNT foams under various loading scenarios and rates. Their model can be seamlessly integrated into commercial softwares, enabling the simulation of real-life scenarios such as impacts on the head with helmets lined with VACNT foams.

Thevamaran Ramathasan
Thevamaran Ramathasan

In a peek behind the curtain, Gupta shared about his experience in the paper competition at the SEM conference.

The competition consists of two rounds. The first round requires the submission of a 2-page extended abstract, providing a brief description of the research along with a maximum of 1-2 figures. After being selected in the first round, I became one of the 16 finalists in the competition. The second and final round involves delivering an oral presentation at the SEM annual conference.

During the oral presentation, judges assessed and scored participants based on various criteria, including adherence to the time limit, maintaining eye contact with the audience, slides quality, technical content, and the ability to answer audience questions, among others.

Before I left for the conference, Prof. Thevamaran gave me some advice. He said, “In our lives, we don’t often come across many opportunities to shine, so we must seize those chances when they arise.” I would like to express my gratitude to my advisor for his support, and I am also thankful to my lab mates, especially Bhanugoban Maheswaran and Dr. Komal Chawla, for assisting me in practicing my presentation.

This research work is funded by the Army Research Office.

Featured image caption: Abhishek Gupta (second from left) with the second and third place winners and the Chair Dr. Jon Rogers (right)